LTTN med xp logo"Wailing Wall" or "Western Wall" ?

July 20, 1999

1999 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

Tourists to Jerusalem are often told that "The Wailing Wall" is the holiest shrine in Judaism.

But this statement is inaccurate for two reasons:

Firstly, the wall itself is not the holiest spot. But the area on top, the sanctified Temple Mount, is the most sacred place in the world. For the Torah teaches that this area was sanctified by the G-d of Israel Himself, from the very beginning of time. Here is the Foundation Stone, center of creation; here Adam and the other ancients brought their sacrifices and prayed; here Abraham, obeying G-d's command, bound Isaac; here Jacob laid his head and saw the vision of the ladder ascending into heaven; here the holy Ark of the Covenant stood in the Holy Temple. The holiness of this spot has never waned, despite the destruction of the Holy Temple. Thus, the Temple Mount is the holiest spot on earth, not only for Jews, but for all humanity.

The wall is certainly holy, and hallowed even more by the prayers of our forefathers for almost two millenium. But in the time of the Holy Temple, the wall itself had no spiritual significance, but was merely the outer, retaining wall on the western side of the Temple Mount complex...the "western" wall.

And secondly: Because of the image of the Jewish people, throughout their long years of exile, coming to pour out their hearts in prayer before G-d at this spot, and lamenting the loss of the Holy Temple, it became known to many as the "Wailing Wall."

We need to refocus our energies on "which end is up"...G-d's commandment to "build for Me a Sanctuary, so that I may dwell among you" (Ex. 25:8).

Consider it this way. A mother held her weeping child. A woman asked her, "What ails your child?" She replied, "the child is not well, but I don't know what the problem is." Said the second woman: "Why should the child cry and suffer? If there is a problem, take the child to the doctor, and he will prescribe a cure, a solution to his problem!"

So it is with us as well. Crying indicates a problem. But G-d has already proscribed the cure.

May the eyes that have cried over Jerusalem, be comforted in the consolation of Zion and Jerusalem, and the building of the Holy Temple, speedily and in our day, Amen.

Rabbi Chaim Richman