>Barack Obama’s Prayer to God

>Arutz Sheva is reporting that the publication of the prayer Barack Obama left in the Kotel (the Jewish name given to the Western Wall in Jerusalem) was a PR stunt. The publication of the prayer has caused a furor in Israel.

Here is an excerpt of the article publish in Arutz Sheva:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s campaign seems to have purposely leaked the contents of the note that he placed in the Kotel, web magazine Israel Insider wrote Tuesday. While Israel’s Hebrew newspaper Maariv came under fire for publishing the note, “it now appears that Maariv had collaborated with the Obama campaign in getting the ‘private’ prayer, with its ‘modest’ supplication to the Lord, out to the public, buffing his Christian credentials and showing his “humility,” the web magazine said.

Last Friday, on the morrow of Obama’s visit to the Kotel, Maariv published a close-up picture of the note written by Obama to G-d, supposedly after a yeshiva boy took it from the crack between the Kotel stones in which Obama deposited it. Maariv’s competitor Yediot Acharonot slammed the paper for violating Obama’s privacy.

In a statement issued following the public outcry over the leak, Maariv said that “Barack Obama’s note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put it in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.” A third newspaper, Haaretz, quoted Maariv as saying that “Obama submitted a copy of the note to media outlets when he left his hotel in Jerusalem.”

Apparently unaware that the leaking of the note was coordinated by the Obama campaign and Maariv, Kotel Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz called the publication a “sacrilegious action” which “deserves sharp condemnation and represents a desecration of the holy site.” He stated: “Notes which are placed in the Western Wall are between the person and his Maker; Heaven forbid that one should read them or use them in any way. The custom of placing notes between the stones of the Western Wall is ancient and is used as a means of expression by a person praying to his Creator.”

If this report is true and Obama’s prayer was a PR stunt, then, I have to conclude that he forgot the words of Christ:

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

UPDATE:

Zvika Krieger, in a blog posted in The New Republic said that the story is false. I want to thank Iyov for calling my attention to this update. However, I have read and heard others say that the prayer was made public for political purpose. After you watch the YouTube video above, you must decide whether the release of the prayer was politically motivated.

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2 Responses to >Barack Obama’s Prayer to God

  1. Iyov says:

    >Claude –The story you quote is already being being retracted.See also this note on the history of that story.

  2. >Iyov,Thank you for calling my attention to the retraction. It is sad that newspapers at times are not reliable in what they publish. I published an update to my blog. However, I am a little skeptical about the whole story because the YouTube video has a copy of the prayer. Was the prayer written to be made public in that video? That is the question I believe needs to be answered.Claude Mariottini

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