Story posted: Tuesday, 12. June 2007 by Rafael Ben-Ari
The Western Wall or The Kotel, is a retaining wall in Jerusalem that dates from the time of the Jewish Second Temple (516 BCE - 70 CE). It is sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall referring to Jews mourning the destruction of the Temple. The Western Wall is holy to the Jewish people because, of the remaining walls of Temple Mount, it is located closest to the Holy of Holies, the holiest site in Judaism. The Wall has become the holiest site accessible to Jews, since according to Jewish law entry to the Dome of the Rock, site of the Foundation Stone where the Holy of Holies was located during Temple times, together with the rest of the Temple Mount, is now forbidden. Jews have prayed at the Western Wall for hundreds of years, believing that the Divine Presence, Shekhinah, rests upon it and that the gate of heaven is situated directly above it. The tradition of placing a prayer written on a small piece of paper into a crack in the Wall goes back hundreds of years.Included in the thrice daily Jewish prayers are fervent pleas that God return the Jewish exiles to the Land of Israel, rebuild the Temple (i.e., build the Third Temple), and bring the messianic era with the arrival of the Jewish Messiah.
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