posted by Matt W on October 12th, 2011

I recently had the opportunity to visit Jerusalem and spend a day walking through the Old City. There were many interesting parts to the city and after a while I found myself at the Western Wall. Now, the Western Wall is a very important place in many religions but for the Jewish people it is held in the highest regard. So there I am trying to take in this most holy of places and I find myself on the right side of the complex. I am trying very hard to be sensitive to the needs of those around me. I don’t want to be one of those lame Americans that the rest of the world vilifies for being ignorant of other cultures (so much for that idea).  As I am focusing on those around me, I am not paying very close attention to what is happening at the wall itself. I do see that there are two entrances and I am closest to the right one. I don’t see any international “Don’t” signs, so I think, “enter on the right and exit on the left” like every attraction in America. But apparently 2,000 years ago, they didn’t think to set up this holy site like Disneyland.  I proceed forward and about half way down to the wall realize that the right side is for women. Upon realizing my mistake, I retreat back to the right side entrance so as not to interrupt these women at worship.

Well after paying closer attention to the men of the left side, I also realize that you need to wear the proper head covering and that you walk away from the wall in reverse so as not to take your eyes off the wall. I decide however that I embarrassed myself enough and will save my visit to the wall (and what’s left of my dignity) for another day so I can make sure that I don’t further offend anyone by something else I missed.  It is then that I notice that there is a large group of men standing there by the right entrance waiting for their wives. Could not one of these men have grabbed me as I passed on the way down and said “Hey buddy, you might want to consider the left side IT’S FOR MEN!” Not to get all Kum ba ya, but men have a hard enough time on this planet without working against each other. While I’m sure that it was fun to mock the Gentile, isn’t there some kind of male camaraderie that trumps this?

My bottom line is this. Let’s throw each other a bone, especially when given the opportunity to save another man from possible embarrassment. We’ll call it the Universal Man Code.

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