Friday, July 25, 2008

Barack Obama's Prayer At The Western Wall In Jerusalem

There's been a mini-scandal about Barack Obama's prayer that he left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Here's a link to the best summary of the retrieval and eventual sale of the prayer that I could find.

There's a tradition of writing prayers on small pieces of paper, and leaving them in the cracks of this wall (the only remaining structure from the temple that was destroyed by the Roman army around AD 70.) I think this is the one that's sometimes called The Wailing Wall, where devout Jews rock back and forth while mourning the loss of their temple. My father took me to Israel in the late 1970's, and going to The Wall is a powerful experience.
Alissa In Wonderland, please help us out with some commentary if possible. Use English, please.

The text of Obama's prayer is as follows: "Lord — Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will."

If I have any overlap at all with Senator Obama, it's on theological issues. But I think he was intending for this prayer to be found and published. It has all the marks of being edited, re-written, blanded, debated in committee, and taken to multiple writer's workshops.

Since I have such a deep spiritual kinship with the Senator, please allow me to reconstruct the more honest prayer he may have slipped into the wall before this one.

Dear God,

I can't believe I've made it this far.

Thank you for Michelle and the girls. Thank you for Iowa and South Carolina. Thank you for whatever didn't happen to Hillary at that airport in Bosnia. Thank you for giving her Mark Penn as a campaign manager.

Please keep Osama bin Laden hidden away until after the election, and please don't let him be found in Iraq. Please preserve John McCain's charismatic speaking style. Thank you for Bob Barr.

Lord, I know you work in mysterious ways, but couldn't I have found you through someone besides Reverend Jeremiah Wright? And please, please help me stop having that dream where Jesse Jackson is running after me with pruning shears. I need my sleep.



Anonymous said...

But I think he was intending for this prayer to be found and published. It has all the marks of being edited, re-written, blanded, debated in committee, and taken to multiple writer's workshops. No kidding:-) If you are still in doubt, here is a Haaretz (Israel's NYT equivalent, politics, not circulation-wise)report (Hebrew) from 7/22, a day before his arrival here. It says that Obama is expected to visit the Western Wall, and to put a note between its stones.

BTW, you really should move to WP from Blogger, if you want to get more comments:-)

Dr Ralph said...

WS -- I'm shocked, shocked at the cynical suggestion that Barack Obama intended this prayer to found.

That being said, your suggestion for the Good Senator's reconstructed prayer is pretty dog-gone funny.

(PS: despite what alisa says, I don't see that you want for comments! Some of us like Blogger.)

Anonymous said...

Yes, the reconstruction prayer is indeed excellent.

Ralph, the problem with Blogger is that it is not very friendly towards commenters who are not Blogger users.

Dr Ralph said...

Alisa: it's part of Google's plan to take over the world.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I wasn't wanting just any comments, I was wanting YOUR comments since you are the de facto Middle East Correspondent of this blog.

I also agree with Dr. Ralph that I'm not hurting for comments.
I've been doing this for about 10 months now, and I think the best things about Blogger is that it's free.
The 2nd best thing? I've never read a lot about it (or cared to) but I think Google gives Blogger sites much much much more higher rankings in its search results. I can't believe that some of the mess I throw up here gets the key word search rankings that it does without a little help from The Mother Ship.

Anonymous said...

Tell me again what marketing company Obama campaign is with or is it homegrown from southside Chicago?

Anonymous said...

Allen, you could be right about Google giving preference to Blogger and all that.Anyway, I now use OID, so that made commenting a bit easier. I wish they would add general comments feed.

BTW, that yeshiva guy that stole Obama's note from God seems to be the realy deal. Apparently our press has reached him for comment (not that he said anything interesting). Of course, this doesn't mean that the note was not put there in full knowledge that there is at least a slight chance that someone might find it. Also, how did the guy know which note is Obama's? There are literally thousands of notes there (they clean them out periodically, AFAIK). The guy would have to stand very close to Obama in order to pin down the exact spot where he stuck his particular note. Wasn't Obama surrounded by his people and our handlers and security goons while standing next to the wall?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I didn't mean to imply that you don't get enough comments or anything like that, I am just realy annoyed with Blogger (I blogged on it before, and some other blogs I like are using it). BTW, WP is also free.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Frankly, I could shoot the sleaze that got to this note and passed it to the paper that published it first (Maariv, I believe) and then I would should the effing editor of Maariv that decided to go ahead with it and then... you catch my drift, I guess.

This was really unspeakable, whether Obama intended it to happen or not.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

"I would should" - see what happens when a person is pissed off?

"I would shoot", of course. Gladly, too.

Stuart said...

there is a big difference between Barak "intending for something to be taken" and "assuming that something might be stolen."

Anonymous said...

Which is more sad -- that Obama had to write is prayer in such a way because he pretty much had to assume it would be recovered and exposed to the world, or that his prayer (which I'm certain all you Christians would tell me is an intensely personal one-on-one with god) was stolen and posted on the internet?

I'll give you a third option -- how sad is it that people are giving him shit YET AGAIN for being a Christian? It's like they're pissed that he's not a Muslim, so they're going to talk about how he's not "really" a Christian (i.e. Cal Thomas).

The Whited Sepulchre said...

You have a good point.
With the exception of Mitt Romney's Mormonism (which he downplays as much as possible) has there been a single "religious incident" during the campaign season that hasn't been converted into a publicity stunt? Obama's people are now pointing at the Jeremiah Wright issue as proof that OBAMA IS NOT A MUSLIM.

p.s. - I miss Literal Anon. Those were good times.