What is the Western Wall?

What is the Western Wall?

A. The Western Wall, a.k.a. the Kotel (wall) or Wailing Wall, is the last remaining section of the Temple which sat atop Jerusalem’s Mt. Moriah. It is the holiest active site in Judaism today, and has no connection, archaeological, spiritual or otherwise, to any other religion. The 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah (according to Chabad).

B. After the destruction of the Second Temple, G-d guaranteed the presence of the Shechinah (the Divine Presence) in the Western Wall. The Wall is thus a gateway to Heaven, a place where history springs to life, a place where avowed atheists shed unexplainable tears, a place where the totality of Jewish identity finds expression, and a place where prayers are answered. Ultimately, it is a symbol of G-d, and of the Jewish People: both are eternal, and the Western Wall is the eternity of G-d and of the Jewish People written in stone.

C. Contrary to public opinion, the Western Wall is not an actual part of the Temple itself–it is a segment of a retaining wall that ran along the Temple’s westernmost perimeter. Still, since this retaining wall was an integral part of the Temple compound, the ethereal sanctity of the Temple remains eternally embedded in its stones.

What do I do at the Western Wall?

1. Pray

An notoriously anti-religious official of the Israeli government expended much personal energy to retard the efforts of Rabbi Getz, the official rabbi of the Kotel, dismissing the Wall’s holiness as bothersome, backwards fanaticism. When his daughter suddenly fell critically ill, though, his protestations dissipated like auto exhaust and he placed a frantic call for prayer to the good rabbi. Hopefully, you’ll never need to pray for a critically ill loved one at the Wall, but you get the idea…

2. Celebrate

Hundreds if not thousands of Bar/Bat Mitzvahs are celebrated at the Wall each year. For the Wall–and the Temple Mount–belongs to all Jews and to no one else, and the joy of one is the joy of all.

3. Get Inspired

They destroyed the Temple. They tried to destroy The Wall. But they could not.

They destroyed our land. They tried to destroy us. But they could not.

The Wall survived.

We survived.

We were banished. Exiled. Raped. Murdered. Plundered. Massacred. In every country. In every time. But we lived on.

It was covered. Ignored. Disgraced. Attacked. Buried. By many civilizations. Many times. But The Wall lived on.

Finally, we came home.

We had not forgotten The Wall.

The Wall was waiting.

And The Wall had not forgotten us


With deep gratitude to AskMoses.com What is the Western Wall?

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