Last week, on the holy day of Tisha B’Av, Jews around the world spent the day mourning the destruction of both the First and Second Temples that once stood in Jerusalem. We focused on the devastating loss of God’s dwelling place on earth and all of the suffering that has plagued our world since.
However, once Tisha B’Av has concluded, we move onto the seven weeks leading up to the High Holidays, known as the “Seven Weeks of Comfort.” According to Jewish traditions, these weeks are a time for optimism and are ideal for prayer, as God turns to us and says, “Comfort, comfort my people” (Isaiah 40:1).
During this time, we shift from focusing on all that we have lost to all that we still have – and the good that is yet to come. We take comfort in the miracles that unfold before our eyes each day, bringing prophecies to life and biblical promises to fruition.
Today, we may not have God’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem, but in our time, Jerusalem has been miraculously returned to the Jewish people for the first time in 2,000 years. And people of all faiths have the freedom to pray at the Western Wall, the largest remnant of the original Temple complex.
When King Solomon originally dedicated the Temple, God promised, “I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there” (1 Kings 9:3). The Temple was a place where God’s presence was felt more than any other place. According to Jewish Tradition, God promised that while the Temple might be destroyed, His presence would never leave the Western Wall – and it never has.
At Home at the Kotel
The first time I visited the Western Wall (in Hebrew, the Kotel) as an adult was when I came to Israel for a year of Bible study before starting university. I remember arriving in Israel and feeling like everything was so unfamiliar, so different from everything I was used to growing up in Chicago. But when I came to the Kotel, I immediately felt at home, as though I had returned to a place that I had always known.
I distinctly remember placing my hands on the stones of the Kotel, and hearing the words of the prophet reverberate in my heart, “these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer… for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7). At the Kotel, all people can approach the site of God’s home, and feel as though they have returned to their true spiritual home.
Now that I am blessed to live in Israel, I am so thankful that I have the ability to pray at the Kotel whenever I want. It is a privilege that I do not take for granted and an opportunity my ancestors could only dream of.
The Privilege of Praying for You
Friends, I hope that one day soon, you too will have the experience of praying on God’s holy mountain. In the meantime, as we do every year, The Fellowship is honored to collect your prayers to take to the Western Wall. Now, more than ever, the world needs our prayers.
I am so very grateful to the faithful supporters of The Fellowship. You have incessantly blessed Israel and prayed for Jerusalem. Now, we want to say “thank you” by praying for you at this holy site. I have no doubt that as we pray for each other, God will surely hear all of our prayers and answer them with abundant blessings.
With blessings from the Holy Land,
Tags: IFCJ Prayer At The Wall The Fellowship Western Wall