Why is the western wall important to Jews?

The Western Wall (often incorrectly named the Wailing Wall) is the holiest site in the world for Jews.

The Second Great Temple (as built by Prophets Ezra and Nehemiah and improved by King Herod) had a large esplanade or plaza. However, as Jerusalem is hilly, the northeastern corner was at a higher elevation than the southwest corner. As a result, retaining walls for the esplanade were built on the western and southern sides of the esplanade to keep it level. The Western Wall is the portion of the western retaining wall that is the closest area to where the Holy of Holies sat on the esplanade.

The Western Wall is often incorrectly stated or oversimplified to be a part of the Second Temple. The Second Temple was completely destroyed by the Roman General Titus when he conquered the city in 70 C.E. As said above, the Western Wall is part of the esplanade itself (i.e. the retaining wall) as opposed to the Second Temple building individually.

The Western Wall is the holiest site in the world for Jews. It is the only remnant of anything close to the Second Great Temple in Jerusalem, which the Romans destroyed in 70 C.E.

The Second Great Temple (as built by Prophets Ezra and Nehemiah and improved by King Herod) had a large esplanade or plaza. However, as Jerusalem is hilly, the northeastern corner was at a higher elevation than the southwest corner. As a result, retaining walls for the esplanade were built on the western and southern sides of the esplanade to keep it level. The Western Wall is the portion of the western retaining wall that is the closest area to where the Holy of Holies sat on the esplanade.

The Western Wall is often incorrectly stated or oversimplified to be a part of the Second Temple. The Second Temple was completely destroyed by the Roman General Titus when he conquered the city in 70 C.E. As said above, the Western Wall is part of the esplanade itself (i.e. the retaining wall) as opposed to the Second Temple building individually.

The Western Wall was built as part of the expansion of the 2nd Jewish Temple, approximate 20 BCE. It is a retaining wall of the Temple mount that was built by King Herod.

Jews generally say prayers at the Western Wall, and there is a tradition of placing notes inside the wall's cracks.

The western wall is so important to Jews because it was the remnant of a Jewish temple that romans had earlier destroyed. When that proportion of Jerusalem came under Arab control, it was difficult for Jews to visit it to pray. Now that the wall is under Israeli control, both Muslims and Jews have access.

The Western Wall, or Wailing Wall, is an important Jewish religious site in the Old City of Jerusalem. Just over half the wall, including the 17 courses located below street level, was constructed by Herod the Great as a retaining wall for the extensive renovations that he carried out around 19 BCE. The remaining layers were added from the 7th century onward. Jews visit the wall to lament the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans.

  • The Western Wall is the last remaining structure of the Temple Mount, most of which was destroyed by the Romans 2000 years ago. The Temple was the center of Judaism. It is important to Jews because it was the site of the Akeidah (Binding of Isaac, in Genesis ch.22). While the Temple stood, offerings were made there to God as commanded (Leviticus 1-7) and His presence dwelt in the Holy of Holies and was manifested in a number of miracles (Mishna, Avos ch.5). It was where Jews would go three times a year to celebrate the Torah-festivals (Deuteronomy ch.16). Even after the destruction of the Temple, the Temple Mount and adjacent Western ("Wailing") Wall, which still stands, is the holiest site in Judaism. It is hoped and prophesied (Ezekiel ch.40-44) that one day a third temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and that the Messiah will come to it.
    As a result of the historical connection between the Jewish people, God and the Holy Temple, the Western Wall is representative of the connection with the Divine. In addition, the Temple was seen as the source of Divine Law, as demonstrated in many Jewish prayers: "Ki miTziyon tetze Torah udvar Hashem miYerushalayim - From Zion comes the Torah and the Word of God from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3), because the Sanhedrin of Torah-sages sat within the precincts of the Temple. The Temple is also representative of the Redemption of the Jewish people from their physical and spiritual exile, because this exile causes a melancholy that the Jewish people experience by being apart from God's presence. The Redemption, which Jews believe will be brought by the Messiah, will result in the Jewish people returning to Jerusalem and the rebuilt Temple within it.


    According to ancient Hebrew tradition, the Temple Mount is the site where God took the very earth from which Adam, the first man, was formed. Read Genesis carefully: Adam was not created in the garden of Eden; he was TAKEN there. The Temple Mount, because it is the first place on Earth where the spirit of God dwelt, is considered sacred, and a direct link to God.


    Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion and the Temple Mount has been its only holy site for 3000 years, ever since King Solomon built the first Jewish Temple there. The temple was destroyed by invading Babylonians and rebuilt at the same site about 2500 years ago. It was then destroyed again when the Romans conquered Judea about 2000 years ago, killing a million Jews. All Jews who value their heritage feel ties to the holy land, where so many of their people struggled for the freedom to practice Judaism. At the same time, Jews believe that all people should be welcome there, regardless of faith.


    Jerusalem is the eternal Jewish city, and a symbol of a future time of peace. Jerusalem is also the focal point of prayer of the Jews. When they pray, wherever they are, they face towards Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount (Talmud, Berakhot 30a), with love and longing. For thousands of years we remembered our exile and prayed for its end. Now at least we can do so from "up close."

    See also the Related Links.

    Link: Jewish history timeline

    Link: Destruction and Diaspora