Monday, May 01, 2006
Tour Around Jerusalem: The Western Wall
It was almost lunchtime when we arrived at the Western Wall Plaza. I made the mistake of wearing a jacket, thinking it was also gonna be a cool weather in Jerusalem just like it was in Tel Aviv. But the sun was out and shining - and blasting heat with all its might. It was so hot - I was perspiring heavily that my sweat was beginning to seep out into my jacket.
Uncomfortable, hungry, drained and all, still we decided to proceed to the Wall to pray and insert our requests / prayers before having our lunch break.
Halfway through the Plaza was this wooden sign board containing rules to observe within the Western Wall Prayer Section, it being a place of worship.
One rule says: Please wear appropriate headcovering. Obviously, the headcovering here meant the kippah or skull cap which none of the us guys in the group brought. Luckily in one corner nearby there was this container with skull caps in it, apparently intended for use by those without one. I got a white cap, which was actually the only color available - it would have been nice if I had the knitted, multicolored ones.
Another rule: Please follow usher instructions. We were indeed waiting for someone to approach and assist us, but after some time we realized that we were on our own so we proceeded to going to the Wall. There were two areas created by a dividing wall, which separates the men from the women. Salome, the only lady in this particular trip, had to go on her own to the right side of the Wall.
That day was unexpectedly uncrowded - maybe a hundred or so of men either sitting or standing in front of the wall as they pray. I noticed some were continiously swaying their heads forward and back as they read their Bible (is it the Torah?). I immediately looked for a crack and inserted the paper containing my intentions, then said a short personal prayer to God.
After a short time, we all gathered back - the men returned the caps - everyone was happy with the experience. The Western Wall is one of the highlights of my tour around Jerusalem. Everyone who will travel to Israel will definitely have to visit the Western Wall.
Surprisingly, everyone in the group wasn't anymore feeling hungry. Nonetheless, we decided to proceed to this much frequented chicken house in the area of Via Dolorosa for our lunch.
Related Post: Jerusalem Israel: The Western Wall