To the Western Wall
Many years ago, on a dreary Kislev night at the Western Wall, one could hear the Gabbai calling out “A-Tzenter” – “A-Tzenter” as he approached a person sitting at the corner of the Wall, reading the Book of Psalms and weeping. “A-Tzenter,” did you hear me? Said the Gabbai. The person did not respond. His name is Daniel. He was immersed in a world of his own. Just a few days ago, he aimlessly roamed the streets of New York. The death of his father and various business tribulations led to a difficult economic situation. After many days of contemplation, he decided that he must visit the Western Wall, reveal his emotions to G-d above. To feel the Western Wall of the Temple and weep upon its stones. That night, Daniel reserved a ticket to Israel for the next day. He packed a small bag with his Tallis and Tefillin, a photo of his family and a picture of his father. Upon landing, he waited for the last bus to Jerusalem. Daniel was very excited, and his legs were unsteady as he disembarked the bus to the Western Wall.
The lord does not despise the prayer of many
“A-Tzenter,” the bearded Gabbai cried, bringing him out of his prayer and contemplations. “What is it, dear Jew? If you wish your prayer to be heard, join a Minyan, as directed in the Book of Job: “God is mighty, but despise no one”, and our sages stated that the lord does not despise the prayer of many, public prayer.
A cane of an elderly man
Daniel felt that his prayer opened up the gates of heaven, he pronounced each word, shed tears when chanting “Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned” and beat his heart with force. Since he was the tenth, the nine others patiently awaited the end of his prayer to say Kaddish. Witnessing the tears streaming down his cheeks, they did not dare rush him. Daniel said Kaddish in a heavy American accent, and everyone rapidly dispersed after that. Daniel returned to the corner he sat in earlier. He heard a cane of an elderly man beating the stones of the plaza. The man was dressed in traditional black clothing, wearing a Shtreimel on his head. He went to the corner and began to chat with Daniel. It soon became apparent that the man owns a Shtreimel factory, seeking to open a branch in New York and he asked Daniel’s advice due to his accent. Daniel and Moshe agreed to meet in Bnei Brak apartment at which he was staying with his good friend, Michael Silverstone, on the next day.
In this groundbreaking piece, the artist depicts the twinkle in the eyes of his friend, Daniel. The two liked each other and about two months after his visit to Israel; Daniel opened the branch in New York, which provided him a good living for many years. Through sculpting and painting, the artist describes the eternal dependence that nine people are seeking to pray, have on the tenth and the dependence of the one who wishes to say Kaddish has on the other nine.
The left wall and plaza sculptures break out of the frame. One can feel the Western Wall Plaza. The Western Wall stones reveal the narrative of various ages and generations, ranging from the original stones of the Second Temple to the upper stones laid by Moshe Montefiore in the early 20th century.