Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Walking Backwards in Respect

walking backwards in respectHere’s a photo of my daughter trying to walk backwards at the Kotel, the Western Wall. It is considered respectful not to put your back to the Kotel. The wall that one can see at the Kotel plaza is actually a mere fragment of the walls of the Second Temple renovated by Herod Around 19 BCE.

We took an underground tour that showed us the full extent of the wall on the west. On this tour we passed by Warren’s Gate, an ancient entrance to the Temple. I was surprised to see women davening (praying) as we tourists tramped on through them. The men had less interuption in a balcony above. This is considered the closest one can get to the Kodesh HaKedoshim, the Holy of Holies. The gate is named after the explorer Charles Warren, whom our tour guide told us to Google to find out more about this fascinating man. According to our guide, at some point in his tunnel explorations Warren seemed to have accidentally come upon the bathroom of some nuns, but I couldn’t find any evidence of this anecdote online. He was also known to have failed to find Jack the Ripper when he returned to England.

I am working on a post of Ir David, the most fascinating of the tours we took, because every few months they discover something new. And this is by far the most ancient section of Jerusalem (it is right outside the Dung Gate, outside of what is called the Old City). Charles Warren shows up again in Ir David.

frumhouse says

Such a cute photo. Ir David is amazing. I went to Israel a few years back, and returned 2 years later to find that the dig site looked nothing like it had previously. It was unbelievable the amount of work they had done in such a short time span.

Ilana-Davita says

Very nice picture. I like the concentrated look. Is it a fluffy animal she is holding?

Leora says

Ilana-Davita, that fluffy animal was an important traveler. His name is Blackie, and he's a Webkinz. That was his first trip to the Kotel, too.

We brought our friends in Hashmonaim a kangaroo Webkinz, and the two girls had a great time playing with their stuffed animals.

Lion of Zion says

"a mere fragment of the walls of the Second Temple "

i believe it is only the retaining wall.

"am working on a post of Ir David"

can't wait

"This is considered the closest one can get to the Kodesh HaKedoshim, the Holy of Holies."

you can also go above ground to the kotel hakatan (although i don't know if this is still open)

Leora says

>retaining wall
Do you mean retaining or remaining? I just read something about the southern walls of Herod's still existing. Unfortunately, my fact-checker is on permanent vacation, so I'm not really sure.

>can’t wait
It's getting long. I'm considering two parts or leaving stuff out. Glad at least you are interested!

An American-Israeli friend in Israel told us he took my brother-in-law right up to the Temple Mount. You have to get permission, and you can only do so at certain times. And you are not allowed to pray or bow down.

hihorosie says

Your daughter is too cute!


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