Today we’ll visit see the Western Wall of the Temple. It’s also called the “Wailing Wall.” The Western Wall is the most holy place accessible to the Jewish people because of Muslim control of the Temple Mount. It is also known in recent centuries as the “Wailing Wall,” because of the custom of reading from the book of Lamentations and wailing over the destruction of the Temple. It was built by Herod the Great as the retaining wall of the Temple Mount complex. The plaza was created as an area for prayer when Israel captured the Old City in 1967. At times tens of thousands of people gather here for prayer. Three times a day the Jewish people pray (morning, afternoon, evening) and they do so with phylacteries tied around their forehead and wrist and with the white and blue prayer shawls.

1 Kings 8:41-43 is the dedicatory prayer that Solomon Prayed when he finished building the temple. The western wall is the “prayer” wall because it’s believed that Solomon’s temple was right here. The Wailing Wall has been revered by Jewish people for centuries as the only remaining wall of the ancient temple area in Jerusalem. Some argue that some of the original foundation is still intact in this wall. Tradition has it that when the temple itself was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, the Shekinah glory of God remained over these stones, and that to this day, the Wall is the next-best thing to the original temple edifice.

In his prayer of dedication, Solomon, prayed for all those who would come to pray at this temple wall. It reads, “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.”

In the picture (see you will see little pieces of white paper stuck into the cracks in the wall. These are the prayers of the faithful from all over the world. They have to be cleaned out every year.

“So whenever any of us look toward this temple and pray, answer from your home in heaven and forgive our sins.” 1 Kings 8:30