This experience was like no other; I thought I knew how much this wall affects those around it. C’mon, I have 10 years of Sunday School under my belt! That must account for something! I took out my slip of paper, wrote my prayer to God, and walked up to the Kotel. Boy, was every nook and cranny literally stuffed with meaningful and significant prayers. Some even on bubble gum wrappers!
I placed my written prayer into a crevice of the wall. I looked around; people from numerous religious faiths were meditating on this 187 foot exposed section of the ancient wall. “I am part of something big and powerful”, I thought.
More than a million notes are placed into the nooks and crannies of the wall each year. If physical presence at the wall is simply not an option, the opportunity to e-mail notes is offered by a number of organizations. Look at what technology can do! From your iPad to God, in lightening speed!
“Jews may often be seen sitting for hours at the Wailing-place bent in sorrowful meditation over the history of their race, and repeating often times the words of the Seventy-ninth Psalm. On Fridays especially, Jews of both genders, of all ages, and from all countries, assemble in large numbers to kiss the sacred stones and weep outside the precincts they may not enter.”
Charles Wilson, 1881. (Picturesque Palestine, vol. 1, p. 41).
Some fun facts about this incredibly sacred wall:
- The Kotel, The Western Wall, and The Wailing Wall all refer to the same “wall”.
- The exposed section of the wall, the 187 feet that is used for prayer, only encompasses a small portion of the wall’s entirety, of 1,600 feet. This remaining wall structure is hidden behind residential areas.
- The wall has been a site of violence between parties fighting for the rights of the wall for centuries beyond centuries.
- Another much shorter section, about 25 feet, is known as the Little Western Wall, and is found in the Muslim Quarter.
- The practice of placing prayer notes into the nooks and crannies of the wall began over 300 years ago.
- These notes are collected twice a year and are buried in the Jewish cemetery on the nearby Mount of Olives.
And now on to the other side: The Jewish Archeological Park
When people visit the Western Wall, most head straight to the north side, basically passing right by the history and importance that the south has to offer.
Enjoy the pictures! 🙂
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