Reciting a Brief Prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem | Israel

I can’t remember exactly where and when I first learned about the Wailing Wall. I’m sure it was sometime during my childhood. Being an earnest reader of history books, I came across the fascinating account of Israel, from its birth of a nation in 1948 to the Israeli-Arab Wars and going back to its ancient times. Early on, I'm already made aware of its significance as one of the leading emblems of Judaism, and that it also played an integral role in other religions such as Christianity and Islam.  

people praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
The Western Wall is open to people from all faiths to visit and pray
According to Islamic Traditions, it was at the Western Wall where the Prophet Muhammad tied his winged steed, Al-Buraq—an Islamic creature that transport prophets—as he was in the middle of his Night Journey (Israʾ and Miʿraj) in 621. During the 4th century, when Jerusalem came under Christian rule, the Western Wall was treated with reverence because of its close proximity to Temple Mount and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The Western Wall not the Wailing Wall

While it is more popularly known among non-Jewish as the Wailing Wall, the long-standing term for the place is actually the Western Wall or the ha-kotel ha ma'aravi. The term Wailing Wall originated only in the early 20th century when the British started using the term after their conquest of Jerusalem. 

Jews praying in front of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Prayers written on small papers are inserted through the gaps on the walls
A possible explanation of this goes back to describing the practice of Jews to gather near this part of Old Jerusalem's wall to weep over the destruction of their temples, during the Byzantine Empire.

The Holiest Place of Prayer

Located inside Old Jerusalem (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), it was first built in 19 BCE and measures 1,601 feet in length and 62 feet in height. The first seven layers of the Western Wall were made from meleke limestone, and dates back to the reign of Herod the Great—thus making it the same set of stones Jesus laid eyes during his time.

Marky Ramone Go at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Saying my prayers
The wall became a witness to a tumultuous number of centuries when the city of Jerusalem fell into the hands of a myriad of rulers under the Christians, the Muslims and back to the Jews, and interchanging empires from the Byzantine, Mamluk, and Ottoman periods to the British Empire and even under Jordanian rule.

passioned prayers at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
You can feel the intensity and passion of the Jews praying at the Western Wall
We visited the Western Wall on the tail-end of our Holy Land tour. It was a beautiful day when the sun was shining bright but not too hot. As in customary practice, the men and women are allotted separate partitions of the wall to pray. I walked towards the male section and joined dozens of Jews in dark suits to pray. At first, I was feeling hesitant as I fear intruding their space of prayer. A bearded Jewish man might have sensed my apprehension so he motioned me to approach the wall.

Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Save a Prayer for peace, love and empathy
I did. Being up against the wall and finally holding a block of meleke limestone, I immediately got lost on my own prayer. Feeling a little emotional, the moment tugged at my heartstrings as the significance of being in such historical and spiritual place, clad me wholly over.

Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
If these walls could talk
Many people who pray at the wall write their prayers on a small piece paper before inserting them through the gaps on the wall. This is a practice that originated in the early 18th century and influenced by Jewish belief that Divine Presence resides in the Western Wall. Several times a year, these notes are removed and buried on the soils of Mount of Olives. Unfortunately, I forgot a pen and paper, so I was unable to leave a note. 

Marky Ramone Go at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
It was a beautiful day to say a prayer
After finishing my prayer, I touch the wall one last time. As a gesture of gratitude, I recognize the ripples it created throughout its long-storied history that resulted to innumerable answered prayers — which hopefully, would include my own.

Marky Ramone Go in Wailing Wall in Jerusalem
Shalom, Israel. I hope to be back soon.
I wonder if I prayed before about visiting the Holy Land. I could not remember. Either way, I expressed gratitude to the Western Wall for whatever higher power that conspired with the good karma to bring me there.