Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wailing Wall, Old City Jerusalem

Model of the Temple--notice how it towered over the wall that surrounded it. It was 20 stories tall! It was much taller than the mosque that currently sits in the same location. I can only imagine the majesty of the site when looking at Jerusalem from a distance. People would have been little dots in this model. This entire model is the temple and it's grounds. There was a large platform built by Herod as a favor to the Jews. It is surrounded with the wall that you see (wall is still there today). The city was around it, and was also surrounded by a wall.
To the back of the Temple model was Hebron--where David reigned his first seven years. It was much smaller than I imagined it. It looks no bigger than that Temple grounds.

We started the day at the Wailing Wall in old city Jerusalem. Oh my....it was very moving. They separate the men and women so we could only go to the section for women (obviously). My brother took pictures on the men's side. There were many ages there. Some women reciting prayers--probably for blessing--and some in obvious distress, probably asking for help from God. There were many pieces of paper with prayers on them stuck into the cracks in the wall and some that had fallen on the ground. We all took turns putting our hands on the wall and praying for the people who live there. Praying they would see Jesus as their true Messiah.

Entrance to the old city. You need to have your bags screened and walk through a scanner.
Men's side of the Wailing Wall. The Jews do not call it the Wailing Wall. They call it the Old Western Wall. You can see the proximity of the Dome of the Rock behind the wall. Tantalizingly
close...but their entrance to the former site of their temple is blocked.

Prayer books are available at the Wall.
My mom took this photo and when she got home, realized how profound it was. There is an older Jewish lady praying at the wall...seeking the Messiah...looking but not finding Him. I am standing behind her with the answer to her prayers written on my shirt. "For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son...." I didn't even think about the places we would be visiting when I wore that shirt that day. My dad said when he saw the photo, the Scripture John 7:36 came to mind, 'You will look for Me, but you will not find Me."
The Jews go there every day looking for the Messiah who has already come.

This cup sits in a small fountain area that people were using to wash their hands. I never saw anyone drink from this--not sure if that is what it was for--but thought it interesting.
Snuck this shot as this guy exited his section of the wall

We then continued on for a walk through the Old City of Jerusalem. I'm sure we only hit some of the high points. We walked through the Western Wall Heritage Tunnel...another breathtaking feat of engineering. When the Jews regained some of the city, they wanted to do some excavating. However, there were Muslim homes in the way so they decided to go under the city. They built a tunnel from one end of the wall to another. We walked through it and were able to see some amazing sections that are being excavated. We could see down deep in the ground where the streets from Jesus' time were visible. SO AMAZING. We ended up at the fortress where Jesus would most likely have been questioned by Pilate. There is a pool of water there that served as a reservoir. We came out onto the Via Dolorosa, the memorial site of the possible path that Jesus walked to the cross. It is probably not the true site but it's still very moving to walk on it. (Well, that is until you stop part way and eat pizza...but we DO have to eat!)

Inside the tunnel
Large rock at the bottom: possible Corner Stone of the temple. It was unbelievably huge. You can see all the people standing in front of it. And it continued on each side for another 15 feet or so.
still inside the tunnel

the reservoir

After lunch we continued down the Via Dolorosa and arrived at the place where some believe Jesus was crucified. There is a very ornate church there, which we toured.

The Via Dolorosa is lined with small shops, much the same as we see in China. Shop owners are hawking their wares. There are children walking with their parents, families, older people talking business and a general bustle all around.
I have always imagined that everything in the city stopped that day that Jesus walked to the cross. And while I believe it was certainly an out of the ordinary event for some, I also think that many people continued to do what they normally did each day. They shopped. They ate. They prepared for Passover. It was a holiday and I'm guessing that many took little note of what was happening to Jesus that day. The hustle and bustle probably continued all around him as he made His way to the cross.
They didn't notice their King, the One who loved them enough to die for them, was heading to the cross to give them the right to be called His sons and daughters.

This lady was very mad at me for taking this photo. Oops.... She wanted me to pay her $10. Um...no.

Typical Jewish family

We see a lot of these guys walking around. They don't shave their sideburns and let their hair grow into long curls on each side. I know there is a significance but I don't remember what it is and I'm too tired to look it up right now.
This is at the base of the Western Wall. At the very top of the photo is the covered ramp to the Mosque. On the other side of the ramp (out of view) is the Wailing Wall. On the right is the wall, to the left is a row of shops. This is where the animals for sacrifice were sold to people who came from a distance. This is also where the money changers set up shop. They would exchange currency from other places with the Jerusalem sheckles and usually give a very poor exchange rate, ripping people off. The animals were also sold at ridiculously high prices. This is one reason why Jesus overthrew the tables.
These rocks were thrown over the wall at enemy soldiers.
The height from which they were thrown.
You can see the deep indentions in the pavement where the rocks fell
Close-up of the rocks

Close-up of the row of shops.
Interior of one of the shops. They were quite small.
View of the shops from behind
another view of the shops
This corner is thought to possibly be the pinnacle of the temple.

"...to the place of trumpeting to..."

The ritual bath, near the shops. If people needed to be cleansed prior to offering a sacrifice, they would enter on the right side of the steps, bathe, and exit on the left side so as not to come in contact with anyone who was unclean.
Original steps leading up to one of the gates of the temple platform.
Mark leaning against the wall at the top of the steps.
Ruins of the arch over the original gate
The steps under the new coating are the ones that were there in Jesus' day.
View of the ruins from the base of the steps
Drawing of Robinson's Arch that went over the shops--with a huge staircase to the left that went up to the temple platform.

We ended the day at a museum for the Dead Sea Scrolls. It was really neat to be able to see them. No photography allowed. Drat... Here are some misc. street scenes instead:

There were no international incidents today...all was quiet. We have noted that we have bomb shelters on every floor of our hotel. And we are in room 911. (insert scary music)
We attended a lecture tonight (optional) by one of the guides who has written a book on Jewish history. I was transfixed. Soooo interesting. I learned so much. I took almost two pages of notes but I am too tired to share them with you tonight. Time to get some rest--especially since my throat is scratchy and I hope I am not getting sick.

Best T-shirt of the day:


Lori said...

Your photos capture SO MUCH emotion!! I'm SO glad you ended up going because I'm enjoying being there vicariously through you!

Can't wait for you to share a little from all the notes you took at the lecture. Sounds so interesting!!

I have a blog friend who lives in Israel who is a wonderful photographer. I sent her the link to your blog. Hope that's ok!

Shonni said...

It is so neat to see your pictures! I wish I were there!!! Looks like a great trip!

Kristin Ferguson said...

I love seeing the photos of the people going about their normal lives (even if they're getting mad at you for taking pictures). You're doing a great job cataloging this trip!!! Can't wait for the next post.

Shelly said...

I wanna go! I wanna go! (Insert pouting face). Seriously, God is so good to let me see the Holy Land through your eyes! Thanks for sharing...

Robin said...

Hi, I'm Lori's friend from Israel :) (in the center of the country, close to the airport), popping by to say hello and welcome to the neighborhood. Sounds like you're having a wonderful trip, and getting some great photos too. Enjoy!

My photography is available for purchase - visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

Gallegos Newsletter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gallegos Newsletter said...

Found this on line today....

Question: Why do male Chasidic Jews have the long side curls in their hair?

Answer: The Torah says, "You shall not round off the peyos of your head" (Leviticus 19:27). The word peyos refers to sideburns -- i.e. the hair in front of the ears that extends to underneath the cheekbone which is level with the nose (Talmud - Makkot 20a). The Talmud explains that this law only applies to men, not to women.

Maimonides explains that the prohibition of “rounding” prohibits the removal of sideburns, by razor, tweezers or any other means. Though it is permitted to trim the sideburns, even very close to the skin, using scissors.

Even though sideburns are enough to satisfy the Torah requirement of peyos, many Jews grow their peyos long as a way of emphasizing the commandment (Peyos sounds like pious, right?!), or simply of Jewish identification. Some will curl their peyos, while others while tuck them behind their ear. It’s just a matter of individual taste, or communal custom.

Hair is also a symbol of vanity, a preoccupation of how one looks. The prohibition against cutting off the peyos reminds a person to de-emphasize his looks, and instead depend on intellect and good character. (Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, 19th century Germany)

From a mystical perspective, peyos separate between the front part of the brain which is used for abstract thought that can be used for holiness, and the back part of the brain that governs the body.

jr... said...

I will be much more interested to know more on the holy site and will be obliged. I must say that your photography has lot to admire.