Every year, hundreds of letters addressed only “To God”, sent from around the world, are delivered straight to God’s house. Where is that? Jerusalem, of course!
In Hebrew, in English, and in dozens of other languages, the envelopes arrive. Written on them: “To God”, “לאלוהים”, “Our Father in Heaven”, “Kotel”, “Temple Mount”, and many more. The letters make their way to the Israel Post Office’s Lost and Found, but the journey doesn’t end there.
Twice annually, these letters are collected by the Post Office and hand-delivered to God’s front door: the Western Wall, known also as the Kotel – the last surviving remnant of the Holy Temples which stood on the Mount over 2,000 years ago, and which God designated as his dwelling-place.
Before Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and again before Christmas, each note is carefully squeezed between the stones of the ancient wall in hopes that God will listen – and answer.
On Monday, the head of the Israel Post Office, Dani Goldstein, delivered the first batch of this year’s letters into the hands of Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, the rabbi of the Western Wall, the Israeli newspaper Yedidot Ahronot reported. According to Goldstein, the letters originate from the US, Holland, China, France, Britain, Russia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, and many more countries.
The letters will be slipped between the cracks of the stones, which fill up every year with thousands upon thousands of notes from the visitors who pour into the Kotel complex daily to pray at the holy site.
There is a reason why the notes are delivered prior to Rosh Hashana. The time before the High Holy Days, known as the days of “Slichot” (forgiveness), is one of serious reflection, repentance and prayer among Jews worldwide.
Jewish tradition teaches that the Gates of Heaven open on Rosh Hashana to receive prayers, and remain open until the end of Yom Kippur.
Many feel God’s presence at the Kotel in a way it cannot be felt anywhere else in the world. The Kotel is today the closest most people will ever come to the place where God’s physical presence dwelt in Biblical times – the Holy of Holies in the Temple.
It is no wonder, therefore, that letters addressed to “God” end up here.