What Happens to Prayers at the Western Wall?

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Visitors to Jerusalem often place written prayers in the cracks of the Western Wall. But what happens when those crevices get too full?

Ten million people visited the Western Wall (called the Kotel in Hebrew) last year. Many of them tucked prayer requests between the ancient stones.

"This Wall is very famous for Jewish people to come and pray and to put requests even in writing to God, and this is a tradition for thousands and thousands of years," Avi Hochman, president of the Israel Postal Service, told CBN News.

It is the retaining wall of the plaza of the Second Temple from 2,000 years ago. When King Solomon dedicated the First Jewish Temple, God said His eyes and heart would always be there.

"That's why traditionally Jews, and those of other faiths, put their prayers in the Wall. If they can't make the trip to Israel, they send their requests via post, email, or text.

So, what happens when those cracks get too full?

Twice a year, the prayer slips are removed from the cracks between the old stones.

Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch said no one reads the papers because they're notes between man and his Creator.

Workers collect the notes, bundle them in bags and later bury them in the cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

According to Jewish religious practice, it's forbidden to destroy anything on which the name of God is written.

That means these little prayer slips are treated with the same respect as worn or damaged Torah scrolls and prayer books.

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Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Mideast Correspondent

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