At Kotel HaMaariv

Jews and Christians pray here, along sixteen-hundred feet of wall, with their noses pressed against the weathered stone and their fingers laced in the spaces where notes and supplications have been tucked as offerings to Yahweh. Like this man here, dressed in black, standing with his feet shoulder width apart in a drift of snow, beneath a tuft of ice covered branches, cloaked in a white and black prayer shawl with his arms bent, hands level with his head as if he were prepared to climb, to trek the hundred and five feet to the top, nearer to heaven. His words are in Hebrew, a tefillah, a heartfelt prayer, with petitions spilling from his lips like drops of sorrow, praying for the restoration of this temple, of this sacred ground where Isaac was bound for sacrifice and where the Ark of the Covenant was laid in the Holy of Holies. And he prays a teshuva, a prayer of repentance, for atonement, to be close to his Jehovah like he was as a child, able to clutch his hands beneath his chin, ask to be held, and feel arms of grace wrap around him like Abba’s would. And I wonder if the other people here will know his sorrow, this sorrow of distance, of want, even as he stands alone with several feet to his right and left, with his fingers pressed against the prayer clothes left by the worshipers that came before him. I wonder if those to come will feel it when they step to the base of this wall and stand where he stood with his shawl covering the crown of his hair and the breadth of his shoulders. © 2016 C.A. Davis

#poetry #theholyland #wailingwall #kotelhamaariv #jerusalem #jewishprayers #faith

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