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Highlights of the Western (Wailing) Wall
A very unique event takes place at the Western Wall three times a year when the Priestly Blessing is said by the gathered Cohanim over the public during the Passover, Shavuot and Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles) holidays. Thousands of the descendanta\s of the priestly tribe, today Cohen and Levites, gather at the Western Wall Plaza once during the above mentioned holidays covered by Tallits (prayer shawls) to pronounce in unity the blessing over the people of Israel. The blessing can be found in Numbers 6, 24-26. The sight is very impressive and unlike any other religious rite.
What is today known as the Western Wall and visited by millions of people from around the word every year was built by King Herod in the 1. Century BC when he expanded the area surrounding the Second Temple. The site has been at the heart of Jewish identity and faith during 2000 years of exile and is still revered as Judaism's holiest site. The reason for such is that what was once one of the four surrounding walls around the Temple was the area closest to the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The Holy of Holies is believed to have been situated where the Dome of the Rock is standing now and is not accessible to Jews due to Muslim domination of the area and Jewish religious restrictions. So the closest available place for Jewish worship is the Western Wall where religious celebrations and swearing in ceremonies are performed on a regular basis in addition to individual prayer.
The Western Wall is open for visitors 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, free of charge. Visitors are expected to dress modestly and respect the traditions of the site. No photography on Sabbaths and holidays allowed. For watching the Priestly Blessing arrive early! Wheelchair accessible from the road.
Nearby Places of Interest
The Western Wall Tunnels, the Temple Mount, the Old City, Mount Zion, David's City, the Mughrabi Gate, Damascus Gate
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