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Israel Day 6

June 18, 2009

It’s crazy.  This trip has been so incredible already and we just now got to Jerusalem!  I can’t wait!

Today as every other day we started insanely early and left our hotel on King David Street headed to the heart of Jerusalem.  The Temple Mount was the first stop of the day and it was an awesome one.  To even get into the area of the Temple Mount you have to go through security and walk past several guards and piles of riot shields just waiting to be used.  On the Temple Mount men and women are not allowed to be touching or kissing and it turns out that isn’t as easy as it sounds!  The Temple Mount was called Mount Moriah in the Bible and was the place that Abraham showed obedience to God and was willing to sacrifice Isaac.  The rock that this is said to have taken place on is now under the Dome Of The Rock.  Just south of that by a hundred yards or so is the Al Aqsa Mosque where the Moslems worship.  The Moslems built there in 691 A.D. and their dome which is still there today is the main thing you see when looking at Jerusalem.  They have several structures set up all over the place pointing east to Mecca as well.  There is another structure that is built that lines up directly with the Golden Gates and what would have been the Temple doors and many believe is the place of the Holy of Holies.  As we were leaving we went by the inside of the Golden Gates. The entrance has been blocked off because this is where the Messiah will enter back into the temple and the Moslems do NOT want that! Wow.

So that I don’t write all day long, I am going to move on to our next site.  We moved from the Temple Mount to the Kotel, Hebrew for The Wall.  The western world calls this the Wailing Wall, but the Jews would call it the Western Wall.  This the 150 feet that is left of the western wall of the second temple.  There are Arab houses built all the way up to and using the rest the wall.  When the Romans destroyed the temple they left the outer walls of it just to show off the magnitude of what they had done.  Later the Jews were allowed to weep here on the day of the destruction of the temples (hence the name Wailing Wall).  This was an incredible site to see.  The men are required to wear hats (kippas) here, but fortunately my baseball cap worked just fine.  It was awesome to see all the Jews here doing their rituals and praying.  The men and women are segregated with different portions of the walls to pray at.  There are always people praying at the walls and the amount of prayers written down and shoved into the cracks of the walls is amazing.  After some prayer and pictures it was time to go again.

Next up we walked along the excavation of the Western Wall which is taking place underneath the Arab housing.  This is incredible!  The size of some of these rocks is unbelievable.  It is crazy to see the things that they could work with and move without the use of the technology that we have now (and we would probably still screw it up!).  Along the way there is a gate that is the closest to the Temple as they can get.  This gate is constantly prayed over and next to by the Jewish women.  While excavating this tunnel, a major news network reported that the Jews were digging to get underneath the Dome Of The Rock and when they opened the exit 81 people were shot and killed by the Moslems.  Turns out they weren’t doing that.

After walking through this excavated tunnel underneath all the Arab housing, we took it a step further and took a nice cool walk down Hezekiah’s (absolutely not Hammas’) Tunnel.  This is a tunnel that was dug to divert water from the Gihon Spring to the Pools of Siloam (where those who were sick or in need of healing would sit and wait for the waters to be disturbed by an angel and then the first person in the pool would be healed) to prevent the water from leaving the city and letting the attacking Assyrians use it.  If you are claustrophobic, this is NOT for you!  The tunnel is about as wide as a normal sized man.  There are plenty of places that I had to turn sideways because it wasn’t wide enough at that point.  There were many places that I had to duck in order to not hit my head on the low ceiling of the tunnel (just ask KK…she has a good number for this).  Also there are no lights.  It is completely black and the water varies from ankle deep to thigh deep.  Pretty cool.  And my wife did an outstanding job!  She made it all the way through this pitch black tunnel that is a little more than 1748 feet long without any freaking out at all!  Such a champ…ette…or whatever!

The next stop was the Temple Institute.  This is a foundation that’s sole purpose is to inform about the temple as it was and prepare for the temple that the Jews believe is to come.  Wow.  We had Rabbi Glick as our “guide” and let me tell you.  This guy is passionate about what he believes!  They are preparing anything and everything that they can to help speed up the process of building the new temple when that time comes.  Everything is built to scale and ingredient!  They have 13 trumpets made of silver.  They have a $3 million menorah!  Seriously?  How has that not been stolen?  Each of the 7 arms of this menorah weigh 100 pounds are made of gold!  Wow.  This was really cool to see.

The final stop for the day was the Southern Steps.  Once again this was incredible to see.  The steps are made irregular (meaning they aren’t all exactly the same) so that you have to take your time and pay attention.  This causes you to think more about what you are doing and why you are entering the temple gates at the top of the Southern Steps.  There are two sets of gates here.  One is a triple gate which is the entrance and one is a double gate and is the exit.  If you were in need of anything, you would go in the opposite way (in the double and out the triple) and they Jews would know that you were in need and they would come to you and offer instead of you having to beg for it.  Really cool.  At the bottom of the steps there are the remains of ritual baths where they would bath themselves prior to entering the Temple of God.  Again.  Wow.

Have some pictures!

[rockyou id=139267817&w=579&h=434]

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2009 9:44 AM

    8. That’s how many times I hit my head in the tunnel. 8 painful times.

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