Miriam Shaviv
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Now read Gordon’s note to God
Date: Friday, August 1st, 2008
Publication: The Jewish Chronicle

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There was uproar when Obama's prayer was lifted from the Kotel. But what if we could read all politicians' letters to the Almighty?

If anyone still doubted that Barack Obama was the Messiah, he has now delivered written proof.

"Lord," he wrote in a note he deposited between the Kotel's stones last week, "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."

How can anyone deny, after reading these words, that Obama is truly humble and meek, a genuine man in a sea of conniving politicians? For this note was never meant to be read by anyone other than God himself (and was certainly not drafted with the possibility in mind that it might be leaked). Obama's private correspondence only became public after it was retrieved by an anonymous yeshivah student and published by the Hebrew daily Ma'ariv.

It was not, to put it mildly, a popular editorial decision. Religious leaders and commentators - including Shmuel Rabinovitz, the rabbi of the Kotel himself - rounded on the paper, accusing it of both invading Mr Obama's privacy and desecrating a holy site. Ma'ariv offered an innovative defence - that since Obama is not Jewish, "there is no violation of privacy as there would be for a Jewish person who places a note in the wall" - but this did not go down too well either.

Such was the force of public anger that the young man responsible for sending the kvittel to the tabloid had to issue an apology on national television - with his face blurred.

Well, all this puts me in an awkward position. For the JC's vatikin (prayers at sunrise) correspondent has also been hanging around the Kotel, and has managed to salvage the notes left for God by some other politicians who visited recently. The scraps of paper reveal their most urgent prayers, and were certainly never meant for public consumption.

But you'll get no phony appeals to religious law from me. The scoop is simply too good to give up. Those of you with principles may wish to turn now to Alex Brummer on the next page (or am I allowed to plug my own book review, on page 34?). For the rest of you - most of you, let's admit it - here is our world exclusive.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown: "Lord, protect my country, which is embodied in me. Forgive the electorate's sins, and help them realise that taxing them to the bone and driving the NHS to destruction is really for their own good. Thank you for giving me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And for making me an instrument of your will."

Conservative leader David Cameron: "Lord, protect Gordon Brown and his family... at least until 2010. Forgive me my sins, especially the environmental ones, and help me guard against pride, despair and bike thieves. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just - but make sure that Labour doesn't copy me. And make me a beneficiary of your will, now that we got the inheritance tax threshold raised."

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg: "Dear God, please make the jokes about the number of women I slept with stop. Ditto for the Cameron comparisons. Not that I believe in you anyway."

Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling: "Lord - hold on a second, I have to check with Gordon Brown what I should be writing."

Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams: "Lord - or is it Allah now? Protect my flock, especially the women bishops, who probably won't do that well once sharia comes in. If I have a flock by the end of the week, that is. Please get our troops out of Iraq. And let the nation understand what I'm talking about just once in a while."

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: "Hashem, protect my family and me - especially my son-in-law who is involved with Limmud. Forgive me my sins, and get the beth din off my back - and off my books. Make the Jews love me as much as the goyim do. And by Jews I mean the Orthodox, of course."

Republican presidential candidate John McCain: "Lord, you think you have trouble convincing people you exist? One paragraph in one major paper, is that too much to ask?"

French President Nicolas Sarkozy: "Mon dieu! I mean, literally - mon dieu! I can't believe my luck! Please Lord, protect my family unit and me - don't let Carla dump me quite yet."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert: "Enough with the ‘free' airline tickets and cash in envelopes. Oh Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?"

Israeli President Shimon Peres: "God, how about a little photo-op, just you and me?"


Miriam Shaviv is the Comment and Letters editor of the JC

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