Our final day in Jerusalem began with a trip to the Western Wall. The 2,000
year old wall is actually just a remnant of a retaining wall built by Herod the
Great to create the plaza upon which the 2nd Jewish temple sat before the
Romans destroyed it in 70 CE. This wall is therefore the proxy holy place for
the Jews until the temple can be restored - which is a problem since the
Islamic Dome of the Rock sits on that location.
The Wailing Wall had a reputation for being a place of unspeakable sadness.
Perhaps because most of us lacked the same sense of loss or desire for
restoration that it symbolized, it didn't quite have that effect on most of us.
But it have a quality of holiness and reverence, and an absence of
institutional commerce that was a refreshing change from so many of the other
holy sites we had visited.