Wailing Wall

Wailing Wall

It has always been a dream of mine to visit Israel, to walk the streets of Jerusalem to pray at the Western Wall and float in the Dead Sea. Unfortunately I am afraid, I am afraid to visit the land of my ancestors and that is heart wrenching to me. Just this Tuesday morning Palestinian extremists in Jerusalem attacked Israelis and foreign tourists traveling in a bus on the way to the Western Wall. Rockets were hurled at the vehicle, smashing the windshield of the bus in a deliberate attempt to kill the driver and send the bus into a fatal crash. Although this morning’s attack was unsuccessful a number of similar road terror attacks have successfully murdered and wounded numerous drivers and/or their passengers in the past.

The Western Wall has been a Jewish religious site for hundreds of years but its destruction has been sought after since its construction by King Solomon, who built the First Temple as a place of prayer. “May Your eyes be open day and night toward this House, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall abide there;’ may You heed the prayers which Your servant will offer toward this place. And when You hear the supplications which Your servant and Your people Israel offer toward this place, give heed in Your heavenly abode…” (1 Kings 8:17).

The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE, the land was purchased by King David who expanded the second temple which was then burned by the Romans in 70 CE but legends’ say the west wall still stood. “This is the Western Wall of the Temple, which is never destroyed for the shekhinah [the Divine presence] is in the west” (Bamidbar Rabah 11:63).

The Western Wall was given the name Wailing Wall during the middle ages. Legend says as the Jews gathered lamenting the Temple’s ruin. On the night of, the anniversary of the Temple’s destruction, the dew glistening on the stones as the Wall itself shed tears. The Wailing Wall for years has been subject to semantic indignities. For nineteen years, from 1948 to 1967, the Kotel which is the area surrounding the western wall and the temple mount was under Jordanian rule. Although the Jordanians had signed an armistice agreement in 1949 guaranteeing Jews the right to visit the Wall, not one Israeli Jew was ever permitted to do so. One of the first to reach the Kotel in the 1967 Six-Day War was Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who inserted a written prayer into the cracks of the Western Wall. It was later revealed that Dayan’s prayer was that of lasting peace “descend upon the House of Israel.”

From then on, the Western Wall became not only a symbol of glories past but, a place to leave a bit of oneself in the form of notes bearing prayers and blessings. I too wish to one day as well write a prayer of lasting peace for all of the Middle East and place it in the cracks of the Wailing Wall. When the time is right I will visit the holy land I will float in the Dead Sea and visit the Wailing Wall but, until then I will pray for peace for all of the Middle East.





8 thoughts on “Wailing Wall

  1. Interesting information, however I have to disagree with you on a few things. First of all, they’re called Palestinians not “Arabs in Jerusalem”, I mean Palestine is their homeland the same way Israelis claim its theirs. Second of all, those attacks are nothing compared to the daily inhumane aggression practiced by Israelis against the Palestinians. As far as I know, we have to look at both sides of the story.

  2. The Western Wall is something I just recently learned more about, and I must say that it seems like one of the most amazing and breathtaking places to travel to. It’s amazing to think about how one wall can have so much history and meaning behind it. Although I’m not Jewish, I absolutely love hearing about people who have been to the wall and how it affected them. Every story is unique, yet equally special and it moves me every time.

  3. I have never heard of the Wailing Wall before. I really enjoyed your blog. It was educational but also uplifting. I really like the history behind this story. I hope you are able to do all of those things one day.

  4. I too want to visit the wailing wall and I think your blog post shows some great history about the ancient monument/temple.
    I hope you are able to do all of those things too and feel completely safe going there. But until there is a peaceful and FAIR solution to expansion and occupation by Israel I don’t think that;s going to happen. Maybe look into what is going on the other side of another famous wall in Israel : the wall dividing the West Bank from Israel.

  5. This was also my first time reading about the Wailing Wall. It is very interesting, and a place that I would also like to see one day! It was sad to hear your struggles with feeling uncomfortable to visit places in the world that has deep connections to who you are, and I hope that with time you are able to do these things. Everyone should be able to.

    1. I had never heard of this before, so thank you for writing this blog. I love the historical context that you’ve provided and you seem to be emotionally invested in wanting to visit the Middle East, which adds a nice touch as well. The one question I have is, is it normal to slip a prayer on a paper into the wall? I wasn’t sure if the Israeli defense minister was the first to do that, or if it had been a long standing tradition..

  6. This is great. The Wailing Wall is a place of peace so its stressful to think people have to have their caution up when visiting because of the possibility of terrorist attacks. When visiting the wall I really felt a true connection to a higher power and didn’t have to worry about my safety. I think was a well written post about the Wall and the conflict concerning it. The notes left at the wall are a big symbol and I’m so happy you emphasized that! Thank you for this article.

  7. This was a very informative piece about The Wailing Wall! I loved it! As someone who had never been overly informed on the Middle East before coming to the GLC, this is a topic I didn’t know much about. You did a fantastic job showing your readers the history of the wall! I am afraid to travel to the Middle East as well, but some day there will be peace!

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