Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yom Kippur at the Western Wall!!

This is Tuesday pm, Sept 25th, and it is Erev (evening of) Yom Kippur - the most holy day on the Jewish Calender, the Day of Atonement. In the days of the Temple, this was the only day of the year the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies. It is a day of fasting, prayer and repentence. Right before sundown, I went down to the wall, (the right hand side in this pic) where the women pray, and stayed there about 1 1/2 hours, sitting in a chair right up next to the wall, facing the wall, praying and reading scripture, touching the wall often, seeing hundreds of tiny little pieces of paper with prayers on them stuffed into the cracks of the ancient Herodian stones. While I was there I prayed this from Psalms 130:7-8:  "O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love, and with him is full redemption.  He himself will redeem Israel fom all their sins."
 When I was done, I turned around and the whole wall area was filled with women! Young, old, most holding prayer books, standing and praying facing the wall. The men's side (on the left) was full, too. I could hear alot of chanting, singing, praying, crying. Most of the Jewish people wear white on Yom Kippur.  You are NOT supposed to take pictures in the Jewish Quarter on Shabbat or holy days, so I took these from a distance, even still, a woman growled at me after I snapped this picture. I just had to share it with you...you can see the Dome of the Rock in the upper right corner.
Since I got away with taking the first picture (sort of), I snapped one more after going up some steps. You can see the sea of white tallits and shirts in the mens' section. This day of fasting continues until sundown tomorrow. Everything stops in Israel during this holy day...no schools, no businesses, no buses, no airplanes at the airport!  I feel truly blessed to be in Israel during this time.

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