Thursday, December 18, 2014


Early Morning at the Kotel

   by Reb Gutman Locks   

   Early Morning at the Kotel   


       Early this morning, when we were putting on our tefillin at the Kotel, one of the men from a small group of Korean visitors stared up at the dark sky, threw his arms up into the air, and started screaming! He wasn't screaming because someone was bothering him. He was screaming out to G-d, but it wasn't a pleasant song, it was just loud and harsh. Maybe, if I hadn't seen them reading their so-called, "new bibles" I would have been more patient with him.

     Sometimes, early in the morning, especially on Shabbos when it is very quiet, a few black Africans come and sing and dance close to the Kotel. Their "songs" must be in "tongues," the x-ian, evangelical exercise of releasing their feelings through meaningless mumbles "…muglehamperistagbulitwatkididdo!" They jump in small jerking dance steps, shaking their arms and heads, and mumble out loud. I move away from my regular place, close to the Kotel, and I sit further away and wait for them to leave. It bothers me to hear them while I begin the early quiet prayers that I say before davening.

     I yelled out to the Korean in Hebrew, knowing full well that he would not be able to understand, "Be quiet!"

      The rabbi who specializes in the mystical teachings of Torah called over to me saying, "Leave him alone. It's a segula!"

     A segula is a spiritual remedy. I assume (if he was serious), that somehow having a gentile screaming out for help from G-d at the Kotel will relieve some Jews from having to scream out for help in his country.

     Then a yeshiva rav came over and semi scolded me saying, "Leave him alone. They are a sign of the Redemption. King Shlomo wrote that in the End Days all of the nations of the world will come to His house to pray."

     I quickly rebutted, "King Shlomo said, 'to His house,' to pray as in His house, not to bring their idolatry with them."

     He asked how I knew they were idolaters. I told him to go look at the books they had open in front of them.

     The Kotel draws all kinds of people from all over the world, most are simply tourists, but also some of the most righteous people in the world, and some of the nuttiest. What do these two totally different kinds of people have in common that the Kotel should be such a draw to both of them? Holiness draws people who are not so attached to the ground, and neither holy people nor nuts are firmly attached to the ground. (Obviously, for entirely different reasons)



  1. It's a shame that many rabbis cannot understand or, at least, doesn't seem to bother them that the doors have been swung open for all kind of avodah zoraniks to the Kotel. When Melech Shlomo said a House for all peoples to come to pray to H', he meant after Moshiach comes and when we have our future and everlasting Beit HaMikdash; now there is just chaos (part of chevlei Moshiach?)

  2. Years ago I watched a documentary about African-American culture.
    A Professor explained that the word Mojo (typically used in Blues Music.Southern culture as a word for a charm or amulet but also to describe having luck on one's side from that charm) derived from a West African word "Mwoyo", which means to "break through" or "break through to the other side."
    As in breaking through to the spiritual world.
    Some West Africans will dance in a circle formed of their tribe, and go into a trance like state, and perhaps speak in tongues, and feel dis-connected from everyday life.
    It is perhaps where the term "Break Dancing" comes from, as that originally occurred during the percussion break of a song, and this is it's literal origin, the musicians would really let lose in this percussion break and whilst other instruments may take a "break", the percussionists may also "Break Through?"
    Whilst we do not have such an exact same concept, it is encouraging that there exists a desire to strive for spirituality.
    If that is focussed on Yoske, it is not so encouraging.


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