These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Kotel Prayer

Posted on June 3, 2013 by Annie Matan Gilbert

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From my blog:

Stu and I spent our last afternoon in Jerusalem running errands. One of those errands was a final visit to the Kotel to put a note in the wall. Stu collected prayers from family members and hand-copied them from emails, even including typos so each person’s prayer went in exactly as written. I wrote my own prayer on the bus on the way to the old city.

I had been to the kotel 4 other times this year but this was the first time I went all the way up to the wall, pulled up a chair and took the time to pray there and really be present with all my complicated feelings about the place. And it was the first time I felt its pull. I was suddenly really aware of how privileged I have been to have access to this holy spot all year. I thought about my grandparents and great-grandparents and others who wish(ed) they could spend time here. And I felt some sadness over my months-long ambivalence over spending time here. I backed away slowly and took in the whole scene and said goodbye with gratitude and with the hope that I will return before too long.


I glanced over to the men’s side and could see Stu stepping back from the wall and removing his tallit as he finished his prayer and I was flooded again with gratitude. I am so lucky to be on this (life) journey with such a loving and connected and wonderful partner.

Here is my prayer for this year and the journey to come:

Holy Shekhina, who rests here and in the wide, wild wilderness – the place of speaking and I pray of hearing:
May I merit to receive the blessings of this year in my kishkes and marrow, in my blood and in my breath.
May all that I have learned and all that has pushed, stretched and challenged me be for a blessing.
May these blessings nourish and flow through me, bringing strength, healing, energy, and openness.
And most of all, may I be blessed to let your light in.
Help me to open up.
Help me to see and recognize and claim the gifts you have bestowed so I can see myself as You and those who believe in my do; as powerful, giving, and successful.
May I be blessed to know and digest your gifts:
Parnassa, health, happiness.
And may they be shared generously with my family, friends and community everywhere.
Home and wholeness – שלום, joy and laughter – שמחה, lovingkindness and healing – חסד, holding and grace – רחמים

-צפורה לילה מתן