The Call of the Kosel

For generations, spiritual giants as well as countless ordinary Jews yearned that they would one day stand before these ancient stones and beseech our Creator at the holiest place on earth. For most, it remained a distant dream, and up until a half-century ago, only a select few saw this dream materialize. After an often dangerous weeks-long journey in rickety boats, they risked brutal — sometimes fatal — attacks by Arab marauders to make their way to daven at the spot from which the Shechinah has never departed.

Torah Jews in every corner of the globe refer to it as the “Kosel” — a word that in Lashon Hakodesh simply means “Wall.” For to Torah Jews, there is no need to specify the obvious. It is clear to all that they are referring to the Western Wall, the last remnant of the Beis Hamikdash.

For the past 50 years, millions have merited to visit a place about which our ancestors only dreamed. Rivers of tears have been shed as Jews poured out their hearts — pleading, beseeching — and many later saw their prayers answered.

Tragically, the sanctity of the Kosel and the ability of Torah Jews to daven there is now under unprecedented attack by a small but well-connected group of radical Reform and Conservative activists, aided by an Israeli High Court that has long been hostile to anything connected to traditional Judaism.

Ever since Avraham Avinu demonstrated that he was willing to bring his beloved son as a sacrifice, and Yitzchak Avinu stretched out his neck, ready to be slaughtered, the mekom hamikdash has represented the ultimate level of avodas Hashem: total subservience to the Will of the Creator.

Unlike the manmade theology created by our adversaries, one that is constantly being manipulated to suit the particular tastes of that generation, our beliefs were faithfully transmitted throughout the generations from the day we heard the voice of Hashem when we stood at Har Sinai, and therefore are not ours to negotiate away.

It isn’t merely the fact that it has been Torah Jews who have been faithfully davening at the Kosel for all these years, coming in all weathers and walking far distances on Shabbos and Yamim Tovim, while those who are now challenging their rights in court show up once a month to stage a publicity-seeking stunt, and are almost never seen again until four weeks later. The Kosel isn’t a national monument, an Israeli version of, l’havdil, the Egyptian pyramids or the Tower of London; the connection Jews have with the Kosel is solely a spiritual one, based only on the Torah. Everyone, whether Jew or gentile, is welcome to pray at the Kosel, but to attempt to desecrate its sanctity by congregating in a way that is an affront to Torah Judaism is actually the height of hypocrisy.

It is becoming increasingly apparent to all but the most biased observers that the real motive of the Women of the Wall and their supporters is not to pray at a wall they have no connection to nor read from a sefer Torah whose precepts they wholly reject and whose teaching they trample on. Rather, their agenda is to wage war against the real guardians of this Wall, those who have been coming to daven there with mesirus nefesh throughout the generations, and all that they stand for.

Referring to Torah Jews, one of these groups, seeking to tear down the mechitzah at the Kosel, reportedly told the High Court in a recent hearing: “Let them go to their synagogues rather than come to pray at the Western Wall.”

The message from the Reform and their cohorts in the High Court is: “Going forward, the Kosel will be the Temple of the Reform. If you, Torah Jews, do not like it, look for another shtiebel.”

Ironically, if this flagrant attempt to desecrate a Jewish holy site would be transpiring in some communist country, angry condemnations would be pouring in from around the world, led by the government of Israel as well as the United States. But because it is the Israeli High Court, heeding the call of a small group with backing from the leaders of the American-based Reform movement, a different set of politically correct rules apply.

At this crucial hour, Torah Jewry in the Diaspora must rise to the occasion. Notwithstanding the deafening silence from the major Jewish organizations, we as a community and as individuals must do all we can as part of our requisite hishtadlus on behalf of kedushas haKosel. Ultimately, it will be the Shomer Yisrael, Whose Shechinah has remained at this sacred Wall, Who will protect the ability of those who have remained truthful to His ways, to be able to continue to cleave to Him by davening at the Kosel Hamaaravi.