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First Impressions at the Wall

C. B. Lieber

In the midst of the broiling summer heat, we have the long fast day of Shivah Asar B’Tammuz. Why are we mourning?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock.

Go to the Kosel and you’ll see the remnant of the wall around Har Habayis, a reminder of what we no longer have. The kedushah is palpable, and you’ll feel a sense of awe and inspiration as you look up at the immense and ancient wall. 

You may have never been at the Kosel or you may have your own memories of being at the Kosel. Read on to see what other people remember from their first visits to this amazing place, the focus of all our tefillos. 

It’s summer, and we just want to relax and have fun. Then along comes the Three Weeks, and suddenly music and weddings are out. In the midst of the broiling heat, we have the long fast day of Shivah Asar B’Tammuz. Do we take the time to think about why we’re mourning, and what we’re missing? 

Flying Away 

“I came to Eretz Yisrael for the first time when I was 11,” says Nechama, an author who today lives in Yerushalayim. “I’m the second to youngest in my family, and three of my sisters were living in Eretz Yisrael. They all had babies in one week, and since it was summer vacation, the rest of the family came to help them out.

Photo: Shutterstock

“My family and I went to the Kosel together. I remember davening right up next to the wall, unsure if I was supposed to touch it or not. My sister, who was 15, was standing next to me, sobbing away. I thought, What does she have to daven so hard about? Don’t we have the same life? 

“When I got back home and school started again, I wrote about the Kosel for the ‘what I did during summer vacation’ essay. The birds that lived in the Wall seemed to me to be a mashal for galus and geulah. They were able to just fly away, and then they would come back… just the way Klal Yisrael will one day.”

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