Words cannot describe the feeling I had when entering Jerusalem. I know you all are probably tired of hearing me say “amazing,” but it is just that and so much more.
On our return from the Dead Sea, my traveling partners and I decided to do a stop over for the evening and the next day in this beautiful, holy city.
“I was in such an awe. It was easy to be lost in the atmosphere and want to spend the entire day in such a holy place”
After having the most relaxing day and evening at the Dead Sea, we grabbed a quick meal and decided that we would wake early in the morning to explore the city before having to return back to campus so I could get to the hospital to treat the pneumonia I was struggling with (see my previous post). However, I was not feeling quite as bad.
The next day, we each woke up excited to begin our exploration. What better way to spend Passover then to travel to the Temple Mount, known today as the The Western Wall or the Holy Wall.
“My God” is all I can say.
A tremendous and overwhelming feeling of peace and calm came over me as we entered the area leading us towards the wall of prayer.
Jerusalem is a beautiful city with a population of more than 800,000 people. The Western Wall is located here and is one of the remnants of the Temple Mount, destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The Temple has long been known as the center of the spiritual world for the Jewish people. Even though there are still many different areas of the Temple Mount still standing, The Western Wall is considered the main focus of the temple because it is to be the spot closest to the Holy of Holies and where people come to gather and pray.
When I entered the area of the wall, I felt a tremendous amount of holiness and peace there. I was in such an awe. It was easy to be lost in the atmosphere and want to spend the entire day in such a holy place.
The coming together of so many people’s yearning, pain, love, excitement, honor, joy and pure reverence could be felt from all around. Any illness or pain I may have felt prior to my arrival was no longer a focal point because I was so in tune with my surroundings. People had traveled from all over the world just to be able to lay their burdens down at this historic monument.
There was no way I could feel like I was ill or suffering from my own personal medical condition because it was clear that others worse off than me believed that if they could pray at this wall, all would be well in their lives. My companions and I took a moment out of our exploration to bow our head at the wall.
It was in this moment, and being a believer myself, I felt a sense of calm come over me. Just sitting here sharing my experience with you brings back such a reminder of the peace, I literally can still feel the shivers going up and down my spine. Something powerful was going on that I just cannot find the words to explain. I had to look behind me because I just knew I had grown angels wings and a halo was sitting above my head.
Really, it was tremendous, immaculate, spotless, unsullied. These are the emotions I felt while giving honor and reverence, knowing that the Jews refused to abandon such a holy place, and for more than a thousand years stayed faithful in sending their prayers. Shedding tears of joy, yearning or pain, they have returned to this place with their heads bowed in prayer. To this day, the Jewish people take time out — some three times a day, and from no matter where they are in the world — to turn towards Jerusalem to send their prayers toward the “Wailing Wall.”
Even the soldiers seemed calm and at peace as my friends and I took pictures with them.
Now, I share with you a popular Jewish legend that was shared on a website explaining the history of the Western Wall:
“When the Temple was being built, the work was divided among different sectors of the population. The building of the Western Wall fell to the poor, and they worked hard to construct it, as they could not afford to hire laborers to do their work for them.
When the enemy destroyed the Temple, the angels descended from on high and — spreading their wings over the Wall — said: “This Wall, the work of the poor, shall never be destroyed.”
After our time in such a holy place, my companions and I headed back to campus in peace, basking in the amazing experience we had in such a holy land. I know I say this in my most of my posts, but I cannot implore you all enough to take time out of your busy lives to come and feel what I felt while being at the West Wall in Jerusalem. I thank those who encouraged me and came with me while I was so ill and helped me enjoy such a wonderful moment in my life. I needed this and I will never forget it.
I’ll close by sharing a brief video I was able to capture as people stood and gazed in wonder at such an awesome monument of loyalty, love and dedication.
Elizabeth Jones is a transfer student majoring in criminal justice and international security and conflict resolution (ISCOR). She is studying at University of Haifa in Israel for an entire academic year.