Sunday, February 11, 2018


Screaming at the Kotel!

   by Reb Gutman Locks

Screaming at the Kotel!


     Early this morning there was a young, religious Jew sitting a few feet away from me. He was sitting very close to the Kotel. He had a large towel draped over his head and shoulders, was swaying side to side, and every minute or two he would scream really loud.

     It was the quiet time of the morning… the time when, if it is quiet, you can feel the stillness. I love it. I called out to him, "That's idolatry!"

     He ignored me.

     A fine religious man who just lost his father was sitting by me. He criticized my comment, "Why? He is praying from his heart."

     I answered, "When a Jew screams loudly to G-d he is saying that G-d is not right here… that He is far away."

     He argued, "Why? His heart is hurting, and he wants G-d to listen to him."

     I answered, "Hashem is everywhere, right here, too. He is in our very breath. You don't have to yell at G-d. Did you ever once in your life yell at your father like that?"

     He shook his head, "No way!" He understood what I was saying.   

    The face we show Hashem when we pray is the face that Hashem shows us.     No one wants Hashem to scream, "Why don't you listen to me?" as the screamers seem to screaming to G-d…especially when we are the ones who are not listening.


(Footnote) Anyone who wants to scream when praying can do whatever they like… unless they are in a public prayer area and are bothering others who are also praying there. As R' Nachman Kahana says about the screamers at the Kotel, "You never get to Heaven by putting others in Hell."



DS said...

It's not idolatry, it's a style of prayer they have learnt from their rabbi. It's not up to us to judge, there are different ways to relate to Hashem. On the other hand I agree with your concern about others.

I was just about to write a comment about your column, how I find it refreshing and I like it. But this one time I feel you rather missed the mark - with all due respect.

Leah said...

I am bothered by those who daven Shemoneh Esrei loudly enough to the point others can hear him. I can't daven when this takes place.
It is annoying when others sing out loud and don't care that maybe others around him may, gasp! horror! They may not want to hear his singing?!
With all due respect, no one, but no one wants to come anywhere- especially though, a place ot worship and have one human being dictate by decibels what those in the surrounding area will be subjected to whether they like it or not.
This is not to be taken lightly.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, the post and commenters are all correct, but did anyone think for a moment that when someone is under emotional distress, he/she might not even realize nor think in any way that their outbursts are very inconsiderate to others. They might even momentarily forget where they are. May no Jew know of any sorrow, distress of any kind, nor be in such unhappy circumstance as to have to scream out in pain. Most importantly, H' knows what's in every human heart.

Goldie ZP said...

Rambam writes (Hilchos Taaniyos) "I it is a positive commandment from the Torah to cry out and blow the trumpets in response to troubles that befall the community may they not come upon us and this is one of the pathways to repentance

Orna Nitzevet said...


There is a Tzadik Nistar often near Ha Kotel. We call him "Yirmiyahu".
When he sees gentiles making pictures of little Jewish boys during their prayers during Shabbat, he scream them away and cry in tears to Hashem to stop this madness!
Mi L"Hashem bo elai!
He didn't say that but the feeling is same.
A Jewish pure soul that cannot stand more idolatry in such a holy place!
We desperately need Mashiah Tzidkeinu to be crowned. All of us, Am Israel, be faithful to Hashem and just the TORAH of MOSHE RABEINU!

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