Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Jerusalem Israel: The Western Wall
Why do the Israelis pray at Jerusalem's Western Wall?
Do they recite standard Jewish Prayers, or whisper personal messages to God, whether it be requests for forgiveness for their sins or fulfillment of their intentions, or simply expressions of gratitude for the graces and blessings received?
What I know is that Israelis insert messages and prayers written in paper between the stones. Of course, tourists of different nationalities also come in drove to the site, and bring with them their prayers and requests of all kinds, and the fervent hope that these will be granted.
And why is it sometimes called the Wailing Wall? It has to be clear that the Israelis do not commonly use this term. They use the term Western Wall when referring to Judaism’s holiest building. It became known as Wailing Wall, but only to the British and other Europeans after the British seized control of Jerusalem in 1917.
(The Western wall was part of the wall that supported Herod’s temple mount in 20 BC. When the Holy Temple was destroyed in 70 AD, the Jews were allowed to enter Jerusalem only after the Byzantine period. Once a year, on the anniversary of the Holy Temple’s destruction, Jews can visit and weep over the ruins of the Temple, hence the term Wailing Wall. The Hebrew term for Western Wall is HaKotel HaMa’aravi or just Kotel.)
(Photo Source: Big Photo)