Why is the Western Wall so important?

Why is the Western Wall so important?

Tourists are not allowed to take pictures of the prayer sections of the Western Wall, once you are past security. See the gold dome? The wall that you can see here in front of the dome is where people pray.

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.

Why is the Western Wall so important?

Beside the Western Wall

“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

Why is the Western Wall so important?

Me, with the wall back behind me

 

Why is the Western Wall so important?

Immediately next to the Western Wall is this area.

Why is the Western Wall so important?

Here’s another distant picture of the Western Wall. The Wall is to the right, in front of the gold dome. In the front of the photo is the check-point gate. The guards look in your bag and make sure you are properly covered. Men wear hats, and everyone should have on modest clothing.

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.

 

Sources:

1. My tour guide

2. History & Overview of the Western Wall  on jewishvirtuallibrary.com

3. Six Reasons Why the Wall is Holy  on Aish.com

Why is the Western Wall so important?

The Dung Gate is very near to the Western Wall. That’s the Dung Gate behind us.

 

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.

Why is the Western Wall so important?

This is part of the Western Wall, but not the part where people go to pray.

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.

Shalom, y’all!

 

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7 comments

  • Jen

    I love your honest account of praying at the wall. I think I would feel the same. I wonder through the history of time how many people have felt that same way as they stood there?
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  • I grew up Jewish but not Orthodox at all! I grew up Reform. That said, now I have to remember if we called it the Wailing Wall or the Western Wall! I think Wailing at first. I love how much thought you put into this post.
    Tamara recently posted…Blogger Bash Sweet Suite Unboxing (1 Year Later)My Profile

    • I read that from a seriously Orthodox site. I think most people in Israel are more like you. Most people we met in Israel said, “I’m Jewish, not religious.” One super honest man (my husband’s driver) said, “I’m Jewish, not religious, because there are so many rules. Who can keep them in the way that they (the orthodox) have interpreted them.” We loved this visit. We can’t wait to go back.

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  • Candace

    I loved this post. I remember reading about this. Matthew 24:2. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” I was so confused by this since I originally thought it was part of the temple. And then I read it’s actually the outer wall left over from King Herrods reign. I read somewhere the King Herod bought his kingship. I don’t know if that’s true. I bet visiting the wall was so special for you. Beautiful photos girl! Thank you for sharing. I email these to my mom to read at work!
    Candace