Stones of Strength
Our tour guide in Jerusalem asked us to look closely at the stones of the Kotel. I have been to the Western Wall on numerous occasions and wondered if he was referring to the historical dating of the large Herodian stones or some other fact regarding the second Temple period. But he wasn’t asking us to open up a history book. He repeated, “Look closely. The stones were placed one on top of one other in such a way to give the illusion that the wall will never topple over on us.” So I looked closer. Each stone is placed ever so slightly behind the other. And while staring upwards, one might feel overwhelmed by the looming presence the Kotel physically and metaphorically represents. But the architecture is meant to hold us steady. To keep us grounded. To stand still and thank God for what it is that matters most. To feel as if we can lean…when all we want to do is fall. Many people come to the Kotel with problems that can topple over on us at any given moment: illness, grief, infertility, loneliness, financial loss, lack of purpose or the understanding of where to look next. The cries at the Kotel reverberate against the white Jerusalem stone, connecting us with the cries of prayers bellowing from every region of the earth. The cries echo from our past and remind us, none of us are immune to the woes of this world. But our problems are not meant to topple down, suffocating us beneath large stones. The cries will continue. That is the way of life. But so too we hold the potential to stand like a steady, unwavering wall of strength. Ready to face each challenge with faith and hope.