2018-08-01 / Mideast

The Western Wall ‘spit out a stone,’

The heavy stone that fell out of the Western Wall and came crashing down on a platform set aside for egalitarian prayer has been removed for examination and restoration, but the conversation about the reason for its sudden sky dive — including hints of divine intervention — keeps on going.

The stone fell just hours after the area had been full of worshippers visiting the wall for Tisha b’Av, 25 hours of intense mourning for the destruction of the two Holy Temples in Jerusalem.

A lone worshipper was praying at the site, known as the Ezrat Yisrael near Robinson’s Arch at the southern end of the wall, when the stone fell. Daniella Goldberg, 79, was not injured, though she was shaken up a bit. Israeli archaeologist Zachi Dvira almost immediately said the 2,000-year-old wall was badly in need of restoration, and that its massive limestone blocks had to be reinforced.

But some saw theology, not erosion, at play in the near disaster and blamed activists who want women and non-Orthodox Jews to be able to pray as they wish at the Orthodoxcontrolled Wall.

Dov Kalmanovich, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, charged it’s a sign that God is angered by activists.

“The falling of one of the Western Wall stones, so close to Tisha b’Av, and exactly at the location of the controversial prayer area, should be a red light for us all,” he said. “I suggest that Reform leaders, Women of the Wall and the other quarrel-mongers examine themselves, and not the Wall.”

Alden Solovy, an author and teacher who supports efforts by Reform Jews to pray as they wish at the Western Wall, took a different tack.

“On Tisha b’Av, God revealed a deep love of Reform Jews,” he wrote in a blog post. “With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, God held back a stone from falling from the southern Western Wall onto liberal Jews worshipping below. The stone was, indeed, destined to fall — as it did on Monday — but God held the stone back until no one would be hurt.”(JTA)

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