Western Wall Wailing Wall TITLE: The Temple area. Jerusalem. The western wall of the Temple area. (The Jews' Wailing Wall). CALL NUMBER: LC-M32- P-46[P&P] REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-DIG-matpc-05899 (digital file from original photo) RIGHTS INFORMATION: No known restrictions on publication. MEDIUM: 1 negative : glass, dry plate ; 5 x 7 in.
CREATED, PUBLISHED: [between 1898 and 1946] NOTES: Title from: list, Photographic subjects of Bible Lands. Taken either by the American Colony Photo Department or its successor the Matson Photo Service. Gift; Episcopal Home; 1978.
PART OF: G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection. REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. DIGITAL ID: (digital file from original photo) matpc 05899 hdl.loc.gov/matpc.05899 CONTROL #: mpc2004005789/PP
Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [reproduction number, LC-DIG-matpc-05899]
MARC Record Line 540 - No known restrictions on publication.
|Digital ID: matpc 05899 Source: digital file from original photo Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-matpc-05899 (digital file from original photo) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Retrieve higher resolution JPEG version (198 kilobytes) .|
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The Western Wall (Hebrew: הכותל המערבי, translit.: HaKotel HaMa'aravi), or simply 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 (Arabic: il-Mabka), referring to Jews mourning the destruction of the Temple. The Western Wall is part of the bigger religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem called Har ha-Bayit (the Temple Mount) to Jews and Christians, or Al-Haram al-Qudsi al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) to Muslims.
The Western Wall is revered for its proximity to the sacred Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount, which is the Most Holy Place in Judaism. This means that for Jews the Western Wall is the holiest location that is currently generally accessible to the Jewish people for prayer. There is a small area below ground level, called "The Cave", in the Western Wall Tunnel, that is closest to the site of the Holy of Holies. However, as this area is not amenable to the large groups that frequent the wall, most people limit their visits to the outdoor plaza.
At any hour, Jewish men and women can be found praying at the wall, which is actually a large outdoor synagogue. As is traditional in Jewish synagogues, there are a number of holy arks containing Torah scrolls, tables for reading of the law and a mechitza, or divider, separating the men's and women's sections of the wall.
Bar mitzvah celebrations are frequently held here, and people of various ages travel from all over the world to have their ceremonies at the Kotel. It is also a tradition to deposit slips of paper with wishes or prayers on them in the crevices and crannies of the wall. Looking closely, one can see hundreds of tiny, folded papers stuffed inside every space that will hold them.
The Temple in Jerusalem was the most sacred building in Judaism. Herod the Great built vast retaining walls around Mount Moriah, expanding the small, quasi-natural plateau on which the First and Second Temples stood into the wide open spaces of the Temple Mount seen today.
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