The Kosel, in the heart of Yerushalayim’s Old City, attracts thousands of visitors each year. With Pesach around the corner, the Kosel got a twice-annual cleaning this week, as thousands of kvitlach were removed.
Rav Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rov of the Kosel, is responsible for, among other things, supervising the site’s Pesach clean-up.
“We are now cleaning the stones of the Kosel,” said Rav Rabinowitz. “We’re collecting the notes, notes from Jews and non-Jews from Israel and abroad that were inserted in the past six months in the cracks of the wall. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of notes if not more, if not millions. As you can see, we are ensuring that no one can open these notes. We’ll collect them in bags and then we’ll bury them on Har Hazeisim.”
The team used sticks and brooms to extract the notes from the cracks and crevasses in the wall, making room for the next six months’ notes.
Though many of the notes are placed in person, a significant number arrive by fax or mail, both electronic and traditional. Some people even pay for the service. Rav Rabinowitz said he personally places hundreds of notes into the Kosel.