As Pesach approaches, and as is customary, Wednesday morning the notes from between the stones of the Western Wall were removed.
The workers of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation began removing notes that have been placed between the stones over the past six months. They will be transferred to the Mount of Olives where they will be buried with other sacred books and pages.
Every year, millions of notes are tucked between the stones of the Wall by worshipers from Israel and from around the world, Jews and non-Jews alike. Some are sent online, by fax or by mail.
Over the past 12 years, since it went online, 672,210 notes have been sent through the Western Wall website.
The note removal, under the supervision of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, is carried out using wooden sticks. To maintain the privacy and respect of the people who placed the notes, the removal area is cordoned off until the notes are gathered discretely and placed in opaque bags brought for this purpose.
When the collection is completed, the Rabbi of the Western Wall recites a prayer that all the requests written on the notes are fulfilled for good things.
In addition, the Western Wall Heritage Foundation is preparing for Pesach activities. One of the greatest events is the traditional Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) that will take place at the Western Wall Plaza on Monday, the 2nd day of Chol Hamoed (first day outside of Israel), 17 Nissan (April 22, 2019). Thousands are expected to participate in this moving event in which hundreds of kohanim wrapped in prayer shawls bless the Jewish nation.