Q. Someone told me that putting notes in the cracks of the Kotel (the Western Wall) is forbidden, so why do people do it?
It can’t be idolatrous since they are not worshipping the wall.
It can’t be superstitious since it is not a magical charm.
It might have originated in a Chassidic custom of giving a rebbe a note of the people for whom one wished him to say a prayer.
Since we believe that the Wall is the remnant of the holy sanctuary a special aura of holiness surrounds it and those who write the notes feel that God is specially close at the Kotel to those who entreat His blessings.
Some rabbinical authorities view the practice with disfavour, but all they can do is to urge people to use the more conventional types of prayer.