We had a nice laugh yesterday joking about what the missive Obama placed in the cracks of Jerusalem's Western Wall might have said. Well, now someone, Israeli's Maariv newspaper, really has risked "God's everlasting indignation" by publishing Obama's real note. Really. Maariv says the note was taken out of the wall by a student immediately after Obama left, and the handwriting in the photo seems to be authentic, the Post says (imagine what that could go for on eBay). The rabbi in charge of the Western Wall isn't pleased, telling a radio station, "The notes placed between the stones of the Western Wall are between a person and his maker. It is forbidden to read them or make any use of them." The good news for Obama is that, even though he surely didn't expect anyone to read his note, his prayer turns out to be pretty damn nice, and shows that Obama does indeed have a self-aware, humble side:
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."
Regardless of whether this helps Obama politically (and there's no reason it shouldn't), it's still pretty shocking that someone pulled the note out of the wall. Yesterday we treated the possibility of this happening as so unlikely that we made a joke out of it. How naïve.—Dan Amira