Obama's letter in the Kotel

“Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note published in the Maariv daily. “Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

Someone – most likely a yeshiva student police say in Jerusalem – grabbed the note that Sen. Barack Obama placed in the Western Wall during his visit there last week. Then he sold it to Maariv Newspaper (who may face charges for publishing it.)

The letter, written on stationary from the King David Hotel, is a beautiful prayer to God. The rabbinic authorities that run the Western Wall – what we call the Kotel – are furious for this invasion of privacy. As they point out – Jewish law explicitly forbids intercepting and reading private mail.

Now that the letter is public and in papers around the world, I can publish the content here without violating that law.

Cynics will say that the letter is too good – that he must have known, or in fact even set up this whole thing. They will say that he used Judaism’s Holiest site to pursue more votes from Jews with this letter. Well duh, as my kids say. Every politician that has ever visited the Kotel did it with an eye to Jewish votes. What is more impressive are the contents of the letter.

According to Ynetnews.com Obama said during his 5am visit that, “America loves Israel and the Jewish people and will stand by the Jewish people, he said, standing at the Wall. The US, he added, will continue to look out for Israel’s security need and is Israel’s true friend.”

Personally, the letter is the best Western Wall prayer that any politician could have ever written, let alone a potential leader of the USA, and the most powerful man in the world. I am enough of an idealist to hope that he meant what he says in the prayer, but enough of a realist to acknowledge that a person’s actions are not always inline with their prayers.

Reuters video follows
– a single heckler during he entire visit yells “Jerusalem is not for sale” perhaps pausing for a moment when Obama is praying. As he walks away from the Kotel, shouts of “Obama, Obama” from Israeli supporters (sic) drown out the hecklers. Rush Limbaugh’s headline “Messiah heckeled at Wester Wall.” [Video may not appear – click on link]

About the author

Rabbi Yonah


  • So why did you see fit to print the letter? Did Maariv ‘kosher’ the treifness of it being published? I think that it would have been best to ignore and let Maariv take the heat alone of being a dispicable tabloid with another issue to do tshuva about.

  • Ok,
    so the cat is out of the bag. Obama either handed Maariv a copy, or Maariv obtained permission to print it. Either way, we see that the media has been used (perhaps even voluntarily) as the dogs they are.

    The tabloid Maariv then used the lame excuse saying that since Obama is not Jewish, there is no privacy issue.

    The Israeli media is bending over for Obama. I think that McCain may be too right wing pro-Israel for them, and pushing Obama means that their comrades in the foreign media who love Obama will be happy with them.


  • “Jerusalem is not for sale”

    And finally, a voice of reason calls out from the darkness.

  • Actually it is a fraud. Obama’s prayer actually was written on stationery from an Old City youth hostel and said “Dear God: Please cancel the army deferments given to yeshiva students, please free all the aggunot, and please stop all funding for yeshivas that do not teach math and secular subjects… oh, and God, if you get a chance, please protect me from Jesse Jackson”

  • Well, if Obama wins, what he said about Jerusalem not being divided is probably true. It’s just that it depends on your definitions of ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘divided’. (i.e. are Arab-dominated neighborhoods that are part of the Jerusalem municipality but not historically part of ‘Jerusalem’ part of Jerusalem or not?)