Western Wall

a wall in Jerusalem where Jews, on certain occasions, assemble for prayer and lamentation: traditionally believed to be the remains of the western wall of Herod's temple, destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Also called Wailing Wall.

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Place of prayer in the Old City of Jerusalem sacred to the Jewish people.

It is the only remnant of the Second Temple of Jerusalem. Because it now forms part of a larger area
known as the Temple Mount by Jews and as al-Ḥaram al-Sharīf by Muslims
surrounding the Muslim Dome of the Rock and al-Aqṣā Mosque, the two groups have often vied for control of it. When Israel captured the Old City in the Six-Day War (1967), the Jews once more gained authority over the site.

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▪ pilgrimage site, Jerusalem
Hebrew  Ha-Kotel Ha-Maʿaravi , also called  Wailing Wall 
 in the Old City of Jerusalem, a place of prayer and pilgrimage sacred to the Jewish people. It is the only remains of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, held to be uniquely holy by the ancient Jews and destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. The authenticity of the Western Wall has been confirmed by tradition, history, and archaeological research; the wall dates from about the 2nd century BC, though its upper sections were added at a later date.

      Because the wall now forms part of a larger wall that surrounds the Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqṣā Mosque, Jews and Arabs have frequently disputed control of the wall (and, often, right of access to it). This conflict has become particularly heated since the Israeli government took full control of the Old City in the wake of the Six Day War of June 1967. As it is seen today, the Western Wall measures about 160 feet (50 metres) long and about 60 feet (20 metres) high; the wall, however, extends much deeper into the earth. Jewish devotions there date from the early Byzantine period and reaffirm the rabbinic belief that “the divine Presence never departs from the Western Wall.” Jews lament the destruction of the Temple and pray for its restoration. Such terms as Wailing Wall were coined by European travelers who witnessed the mournful vigils of pious Jews before the relic of the sacred Temple. Visitors to the wall have long followed the practice of wedging small slips of paper, upon which prayers and petitions are written, into the cracks between the stones.

      Arab and Jewish sources both confirm that, after the Arab capture of Jerusalem in 638, Jews led the conquerors to the site of the Holy Rock and Temple yard and helped clear away the debris.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • WESTERN WALL — (Heb. הַכֹּתֶל הַמַּעֲרָבִי), that section of the western supporting wall of the temple mount which has remained intact since the destruction of the Second Temple (70 C.E.). It became the most hallowed spot in Jewish religious and national… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Western Wall — n. a high wall in Jerusalem believed to be part of the western section of the wall surrounding Herod s Temple: Jews have traditionally gathered at this site for prayer …   English World dictionary

  • Western Wall —    Also known by its Hebrew name, HaKotel HaMa aravi, or simply, the Kotel (literally, The Wall ). It is located on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem s old city. It is all that remains of the Temple of Biblical times. Its alternate name, Wailing Wall, is …   Historical Dictionary of Israel

  • Western Wall — The Western Wall ( he. הכותל המערבי, translit.: HaKotel HaMa aravi ), sometimes referred to as the Wailing Wall or simply the Kotel (lit. Wall; Ashkenazic pronunciation: Kosel), and as al Buraq Wall by Muslims, [cite web url =… …   Wikipedia

  • Western Wall — West′ern Wall′ n. jud a wall in Jerusalem where Jews, on certain occasions, assemble for prayer and lamentation: traditionally believed to be the remains of the western wall of Herod s Temple, destroyed by the Romans in a.d. 70 Also called… …   From formal English to slang

  • Western Wall — a wall in Jerusalem where Jews, on certain occasions, assemble for prayer and lamentation: traditionally believed to be the remains of the western wall of Herod s temple, destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Also called Wailing Wall …   Useful english dictionary

  • Western Wall — remaining wall of the foundation of the ancient Jewish temple considered a holy site by Jews …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Western Wall —    See Wailing Wall …   Glossary of theological terms

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  • Western Wall Tunnel — The Western Wall Tunnel (Hebrew: מנהרת הכותל, translit.: Minheret Hakotel ) is an underground tunnel exposing the Western Wall in its full length. The tunnel is adjacent to the Western Wall and is located under buildings of the Old City in… …   Wikipedia

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