Women enter through the right side of the Wailing Wall. When it came my time to pray I stayed under the shade of this structure on the right, which, as you can see, slants its shadow down the middle (the men don’t have one on their side, unfortunately for them) so I was able to stay there quite a while.
Every crack and crevice
If you look at the scene from a distance there seems to be nothing lodged in between the rocks of this great temple remnant. But when you come closer you realize you can hardly put anything there anymore; prayers in tiny rolls and folds of paper are lodged everywhere. Some slots were sealed with small pieces of bubble gum where a desperate cry must have lain in wait. In other places, paper just learned to morph over time as if part of the entire stone structure.
How does it feel?
People often ask me how it felt to touch the wall and pray and I still cannot find the words. It’s definitely of those things you have to experience for yourself to find out. And my guess is, the feeling is different for every one.
It was fairly silent when I began to pray, except of course for the occasional sobbing to the left and to the right. Then gradually the cries became louder and I could hear the actual wailing of people in waves of overflowing emotion. And I couldn’t blame them; it was difficult not to.
A matter of the heart
This place has some way of stripping you of everything you had always considered important and showing you the most elemental things that lay hidden in the core. You may prepare a list of petitions beforehand, but you can never be too prepared for what you might discover about your heart when you’re actually shown it.
What do you think you would wail for?
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication (1 Kings 8:27-30)
27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 28 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hearfrom heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.