- Family and Society
- Jerusalem and The Holy Temple
The Kotel is the remnant of a retaining wall that surrounded the courtyard of the Bet HaMikdash (not part of the Temple itself). It was built in part by Herod in 19 BCE with remaining layers added by Herod’s great-grandson as late as the 7th century. The Kotel Plaza is 187 feet/57 M wide & 62 feet/19 M high; but the entire wall actually stretches for 1600 feet/488 M. 40% of the Kotel is underground & not visible. There are 45 levels, or stone-courses, to the Kotel area in the plaza, 28 of them above-ground. The largest stone is in Wilson’s Arch & weighs a massive 520 tons. The Mishna says the Western wall, being closest to the Kodesh K’dashim, is the holiest wall. Tho Roman emperor Vespasian ordered it destroyed, it has miraculously remained intact. Jews have always prayed there, often at great risk, & were completely barred only from 1948-1967 by the Jordanians, who violated the 1948 armistice agreement that allowed for Jewish prayer. Since we regained control of it in 1967, the Kotel is never, ever left alone 24/7.