Praying at the Western Wall
August 18, 2014
The Western Wall, which stands in the Old City of Jerusalem, is considered the holiest site in Judaism. It is the only wall still standing from the Second Temple, and Jews all over the world direct their hearts and prayers towards this remnant of the biblical past. Everyone who prays towards this spot has faith that God’s special dwelling place is a spiritual one and therefore, just because the structure of the ancient Temple was destroyed, His strong presence remains where the Temple once stood, even though the physical Temple does not.
When I made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from America, my first stop on the way to my new home in Jerusalem was the Western Wall. To me, the Wall represents not just every Jew’s yearning to return to Israel, but their right to return to Israel. Even during the many years of the Jews’ exile from their biblical homeland, the Western Wall remained our most visible “mark” on the city. The Jewish claim to Jerusalem was never forgotten nor disputed because we always had our ancestors’ handiwork present the lone remaining wall of the Temple.
Jewish tradition holds that the Western Wall of the Temple was built through the donations of the poor. God realized what a sacrifice those families made in order to give the little money that they could to help and build His dwelling, so He did not let their wall burn with the rest of Jerusalem. Rather, He kept it standing strong to this day to show the world that God does not distinguish between rich and poor.
Whenever I have some free time I take the local bus over to the Western Wall and pray with all my heart. My first thought is always how blessed I am to be able to pray in that spot.
When I am standing next to the Wall I envision the Temple work being performed like it was in the days of the old. Sometimes, if I close my eyes, I can almost smell the scent of the sacrifices that were offered in that very spot thousands of years ago by King Solomon, and taste the tears of the thousands of people who come to the Wall daily, praying and begging God for divine guidance and help.
I believe that prayers said at the Wall go directly up to heaven. This was revealed to me when I went to the Wall praying for a healthy child and then nine months later I found myself standing at that very same spot with my beautiful new daughter. The wonders that God performs daily keep me in awe.
I know with all my heart that every prayer from all over the world is heard. And yet, to pray in the spot that both of the Temples once stood adds certain intensity to the prayer. I think of the Western Wall as an ancient gateway to heaven. What a privilege it is to live just five minutes away from this ancient and holy place!
With prayers for shalom, and blessings,