The Western Wall is a sacred remnant of Herodian and considered as the holiest site of Jews. Jews from across the world made the cumbersome pilgrimage Palestine and from there to this holy site of the Western Wall, the Kotel ha-Ma’aravi, to prey and offer gratitude to God. The prayers were so many touching heart that the site was being called as “Wailing Wall “. However, this term is not used in the Hebrew language, the traditional Jews never use this term Wailing Wall. In 70 CE the Romans destroyed the temple, but this wall which is just surrounding the Temple Mount must have been considered insignificant by them so the wall was not destroyed, this is the reason that the outer wall remained undestroyed.
During the period Jerusalem was under the Muslim rule, the Arabs often used this wall as a place to dump the garbage so that they could humiliate the Jews who did visit to this site of the Western Wall. This Muslim Rule on Jerusalem was for more than 1000 years, and during this period the wall suffered from lots of indignities.
About Western Wall:
Kotel was under the Jordanian rule from 1948 to 1967, and in 1949 the Jordanians had an agreement signed in the name of the armistice agreement, wherein they had agreed to confer the right of visiting the wall to all Jews. However the fact remains that not even a single Israeli Jew was permitted to visit this site.
One of the first to reach was Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan, in the year 1967 in the Six-Day War. The Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Dayan revived the traditional custom of the Jews by inserting a written petition in the cracks of the Wall. It is known to be the prayer for the lasting peace to be established in Israel.
The custom of inserting the written petition in the cracks of the Western Wall is so wildly popular that many advertisements appear for this service in the newspapers of American and Jewish origins. These advertisements in the American and Jewish newspapers offer the services of inserting the prayer on behalf of those who cannot visit the holy site for whatever reason, may it be age or sickness.
According to the sources in Jerusalem the Hebrew says “Walls have ears” originated from the Western Wall, as they believe that the petition inserted in the crack is well heard and answered by God. There is a popular Israeli song that associates the mystical quality with Kotel and the words of the song goes as “There are people with hearts of stone, and stones with the hearts of people”.
It is indeed painful that even the holiest place like Kotel, is not free from controversy. The Ultra-orthodox Jews have opposed women’s prayer services at the Wall, there have been offending obstruction created by these Jews. They violently disturbed, such services by throwing missiles or chairs at the women offering prayers in the past. However, due to heavy public criticism and pressure things have now slowly taken better shape. Under the right of women to pray collectively, now Kotel is gradually opening out.
On every Friday evening and on all Jewish public holidays huge crowd gather at the Kotel to offer prayers. Particularly on the fast of Tisha Be-AV, which commemorates the destruction of the Temples there are a large number of people gathering for prayer.
Presently the Western Wall is the national symbol and the opening and closing ceremonies of most of the Jewish events are held here.