Thursday, September 01, 2011
It was late afternoon when we arrived at the hotel, several blocks outside the West Gate of the Old City. After dinner, we went straight to the Wailing Wall. I was wearing shorts, but relatively long ones. But I did not have head cover. Fortunately, there was a box of skull caps there. So I borrowed one (I did return it later), and walked gingerly through the entrance to the men’s section in front of the Wailing Wall. All the time, I was prepared to be stopped. But no one did.
All around us, men in black suits, black coats, and black hats rocked back and forth, left and right and every other way. Some stood with their noses to the wall. The cracks were stuffed with papers carrying payers. Just like what I have read before.
It was prophesied in the Bible that the Temple would be totally destroyed and it was said to have been fulfilled when the Romans put down the Jewish rebellion about 40 years after Jesus’ death. So what is this West Wall, or so called Wailing Wall that is still standing? It turned out, of course, that the Temple was destroyed, but part of the foundations of the Temple, the so called Temple Mount, survived. The West Wall that we see today is actually a small section of the western wall of the Temple Mount.
This series of photos of a model at the entrance to the tunnels underneath the west wall illustrates the construction very well.
(1) The site was originally a mountain.
(2) A massive foundation was built on the slopes of the mountain.
(3) The Temple was built on top of the foundation. The First Temple built by Solomon was destroyed by the Babylonians. The Second Temple, renovated by Herod, was destroyed by the Romans.
(4) A mosque with the golden dome (Dome of the Rock), was built at the site - it is still there now.
The last photograph shows the golden-domed “Dome of the Rock” mosque sitting on the Temple Mount, and the West (Wailing) Wall of the Temple Mount.