Why is the Western Wall so important?
Alan and I were so excited to pray at the famous “Wailing Wall.”
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure exactly about the history of this wall. I went into our Jerusalem tour thinking the wall was the only remaining wall from the ancient Jewish temple.
That’s almost true. That entire temple was completely destroyed.
The Western Wall is what’s left from the retaining wall that went around the temple.
The Western Wall is holy because it was the outer part of the temple, renovated by Herod around 19 B.C. It is the closest standing wall to where the Holy of Holies was located.
“But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.
29May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.
30Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
~King Solomon, in 1 Kings 8:27-30
Did you know?
–The Temple Mount is also called Mount Moriah and Mount Zion.
–This is also the location where Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, and the Lord instead provided a ram for the sacrifice.
–They say it is here, on Mount Moriah, that Jacob saw a ladder ascending to Heaven in a dream.
–Jerusalem was destroyed and re-built 9 times, but the Western Wall has remained through it all.
–The Orthodox Jews do not like for us to call it the “wailing wall.” That’s offensive. Instead, it should be called the Western Wall.
–Men pray on the left side, and women pray on the right. There’s a partition to divide the 2 groups.
–The Jews refer to the wall as the Kotel.
–From 1948 to 1967, Jerusalem was under Jordanian rule, and Jews were prevented from visiting the wall in spite of the peace agreement.
–In the 6 Days War, the Jews re-took the Wall, in 1967, after 2,000 years.
1. My tour guide
I felt privileged to have the opportunity to pray at the Western Wall. Placing my right hand upon it, I just sort of breathed in the atmosphere of worship. I didn’t even know what to pray, and I regretted not having been more careful to formulate an important plan for what to pray about at this holy place.
While I have no memory of what I prayed for, I do remember feeling thankful and in wonder of it all.
Thankfulness was the theme of this trip for me. I felt thankful and undeserving, but I took full advantage of it, and we enjoyed it ever so thoroughly.
It was Shabbat, the day that we were there. That’s what they call Saturday, the Sabbath day. The Israelis all greeted each other and us, their guests, with “Shabbat Shalom.”
Our tour guide said that at dusk on Shabbat, the ultra-orthodox Jewish men come out and dance at the Wall. I would have given all the shekels in my purse to watch that, but alas, we were with a group, and it was time for the group to move on.