The Wailing Wall (Israel, Jerusalem): a description of why it is so called, how to write a note
One of the most famous is the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. Pilgrims from all over the world and numerous tourists who come to the country every year strive to get here. In the original, the name of the monument is pronounced “ha-Kotel ha-Maaravi”, which translates as “western wall”.
Where is the Wailing Wall?
Perhaps the answer to this question is known even to a schoolboy - in Jerusalem (Israel). It should only be clarified that the building is located in the Old Town on Mount Moriah. Although it is difficult to call it a mountain, because today it is a small hill. However, long before the advent of our era, it was a real mountain.
History of the shrine
The history of the Wailing Wall in Israel has its roots in the distant past. These are the remnants of the fortifying structures erected by Herod the Great in Jerusalem near the Temple Mount.Here was the temple of Jerusalem, which in 70 AD er destroyed by the Romans. The current Wailing Wall has never been a part of the temple, but it was quite close to it, so it eventually turned into a revered and significant shrine for the Jews.
The structure has 45 rows of masonry, 28 of them are above the ground, and another 17 are below it. The wall was built in stages - during the reign of Herod, in the period of the Ottoman Empire and the Umayyads. Rows of stones to ensure strength were installed with a small recess inside the structure. Interestingly, no mortar was applied during the laying.
On this earth in 825 BC. er King Solomon erected the first temple. It existed until 422, after which it was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The Jews were enslaved and taken to Babylon. They returned back in the year 368 and built in the same place a second temple, which stood until the year 70 AD. er By order of Vespasian, the emperor of the Romans, and he was destroyed.
However, the Romans during the destruction of the temple for some reason did not destroy all the buildings. They did not touch the western part of the wall that surrounded the temple.Jews were denied access to Jerusalem, they were "kindly" given one day a year to visit the city.
During the times of the Arab Caliphate, during the Byzantine period, under the rule of the Mamluks, the situation did not improve. In 1517 Jerusalem was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. I must say that the Turks treated the Jews favorably. Suleiman the Magnificent allowed the Jews to pray at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.
Since then, the Wall has been the subject of serious disagreement between the Muslim and Jewish communities. The Jews tried to redeem the surrounding buildings several times, but these attempts were unsuccessful. The confrontation escalated after 1917, when Great Britain began to control Palestine. The confrontation reached its peak in August 1929 - unrest began near the wall. During the pogroms in Jerusalem, which lasted several days, 133 Jews were killed and about 400 people were seriously injured. 110 Arabs died during the riots.
In 1930, the British convened an International Commission to resolve a community dispute. As a result, the inviolability of the Muslim quarter at the Wailing Wall was established, the Jews received free access to the shrine and the possibility of rites.
After the Arab-Israeli war, this part of the city was ceded to Jordan.According to the armistice agreement signed, Jews could freely visit the Wailing Wall. But in fact they were never allowed here.
During the rapid military operation during the Six-Day War, which began in June 1967, Israel defeated the armies of Jordan, Syria and Egypt. The Golan Heights were captured from Syria, the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, but the most important success of Israel was the capture of Jerusalem.
Why is the Wailing Wall so called?
The construction has another name - the Western Wall. It is understandable - a fragment of the fortification on the Temple Mount is located in its western part. Regarding the second name, there is a version that the Arabs, seeing the Jews at the Wailing Wall praying and regretting the destruction of the temples, gave the remains of fortification such an unusual name. It caught on and became known in many countries.
Traditions and customs
The Wailing Wall in Israel is a special place for the Jews. In addition, the facility attracts travelers from all over the world. The wall is now divided into two equal parts - women approach the right, men pray in the left. There is a long tradition to leave a note with the most sincere and intimate desires between its stones.On the square in front of the shrine solemn events are held on public holidays. Here they mark the most important and significant events in the life of believers, for example, the onset of the age of religious majority. On the square, the army servicemen take the oath.
Notes on the Wailing Wall
Today, there are more than a million notes from believers and tourists, celebrities visiting Israel. Anyone can write a note at the Wailing Wall. Its text can be in any language, and its length is not limited - from a few words to whole messages. Quite often in the notes cite the Bible. People ask the Almighty for health, salvation, prosperity and good luck.
Any paper will be suitable for a note - its size and color do not matter. In this case, the sincerity of the person is important, an understandable statement of his request. After placing a note between the stones, usually some money is left for charity, although this is not necessary. You can serve food to the poor or help the weak. A person who wants to find what he asks for, should demonstrate that he is ready to change for the better.
According to the beliefs of the Jews, prayer notes left at the Wailing Wall in Israel cannot be burned or thrown away. Several times a year, all the messages are collected and buried on the Mount of Olives in the Jewish cemetery.
Western Wall Tunnel
Under the ground along the Wailing Wall in the northern part of it lies a tunnel. Here you can see another 485 meters of the wall. Archaeologists have discovered here numerous artifacts from different periods of the country's history. In the northern part of the wall were found the remains of a water channel from which water was supplied to the Temple Mount.
Judea at the Western Wall
A man praying at the Wailing Wall sways on his heels and bends forward. Be sure to read the sacred texts. Some Jews cry, kiss stones, wail, remembering the lost shrines of their people.
Prayers Toward the Western Wall
It is difficult to agree with the statement that representatives of Judaism pray in the direction where the Wailing Wall is located in Israel. Not too appropriate and the analogy with Islam. It is important to refer only to one prayer, which is called Shmone-Esre. This is the main prayer that should be read three times a day to a faithful Jew.
The rules of referral for its execution are as follows:
- If a believer is out of the country, then he needs to turn to face Israel.
- When a Jew is in the country, but outside of Jerusalem, he turns to face him.
- Being in the city, the Jew turns his face to the Temple Mount.
As follows from the instructions, the Wailing Wall in this case does not matter. In addition, there are several exceptions to these rules. If a prayer fails to determine the direction (for example, in the absence of a compass), and the sky is overcast with clouds - do not get upset, he can perform a prayer. As you can see, such norms are significantly different from Islamic ones - Muslims always pray only towards Mecca.
- Anyone can come to the Wailing Wall at any time of the year, her visit is available round the clock. It is better to get to the shrine by bus, since parking lots for personal transport are usually crowded.
- The square can be accessed through one of the three entrances. At each of them control is exercised.
- Anyone who wants to pray at the Wailing Wall should be modestly dressed - women should cover their legs below the knees and shoulders, and give out paper prayer hats (ermols) to men.
- On Jewish holidays and on Saturdays, smoking is not allowed here, just like talking on a cell phone and taking photos.
- Strictly forbidden to visit the shrine with pets. The cost of the visit for adults is 25 shekels for children - 15. During the holidays, attendance is free.
- The entrance to the tunnel of the Western Wall is allowed only with a guide by prior arrangement. Guided tours in English and Hebrew are conducted with groups of up to 30 people. Tourists stay in the tunnel for one and a half hours, tours are not conducted on public holidays and on Saturdays.
Walks in jerusalem
If your trip to Israel is not too limited, devote your free time to traveling around the center of Jerusalem, which is full of interesting historical and memorable places. The central street of the city is the pedestrian Isi ben Yehuda, with many cozy cafes and restaurants. At the end of it is Zion Square. Passing through the Jaffa Gate, you will be taken to the Old Town, where you will find tourist and information centers offering information about interesting places of the city and excursions. Then along the street of David you can walk to the Temple of the Holy Sepulcher.Next door is the Jewish quarter and the famous Wailing Wall.
How to get there?
The easiest way to get to the shrine is by bus: No. 1, 2, 38. It costs 5 shekels. You can get to the wall by taxi, but this trip will cost you dearly - 5 shekels per kilometer. For reference: 1 shekel is about 17.5 rubles.
Everyone who has already visited the Wailing Wall leaves a lot of feedback on this exciting and enjoyable event. Travelers note that the very touch to the ancient wall, generously washed with tears, prays the wall, and familiarity with its history is worth a trip.
Many pilgrims and tourists are amazed that people go to the Western Wall not only to ask forgiveness from the Almighty, to pray. Here are often held solemn ceremonies, holidays. Visitors to this unique attraction of Israel assure that many wishes left in the Wailing Wall come true in real life.