2000 years. Not a long time in the history of the world but forever in the hearts of the Jewish people. Ever since I can remember one word saturated my mind. Jerusalem.
My heart was beating fast, pounding against my sternum as we drove towards the Old City. I slowly watched the holiest city transform from a modern metropolis into the city I'd dreamed about in my childhood. The city of my peoples past.
Walking through security I caught a glimpse of the wall, a symbol of the Jewish people throughout the centuries. By then my blood was rushing in my ears and I wanted nothing more then to run at it full speed. I had never felt such a strong love and devotion for any place in my life.
As I walked towards the wall slowly taking it all in, I felt my heart swell a million times with love. This was it, this was what my life had led up to. As I pressed my fingers to the warm ancient stone time began to freeze. I was the realization of my ancestors, "next year in Jerusalem." They would pray each year at Pesach, a hopeful plea to return to the ruins of our beloved temple.
Tears swelled up in my eyes and poured freely, eventually turning into broken but powerful sobs. The love I felt for my people and our history overwhelmed me. I was in mourning. I was in mourning for every Jew before me whose pleas to return to the temple each year wasn't realized. I was in mourning for every man and woman who died trying to return to the wall. But mostly I cried because I had never felt as much love for Hashem as I did in that moment. The Western Wall is commonly called the wailing wall, I can confirm though that it wasn't adopted due wails of despair, sorrow of course but mostly just love, immense and powerful love.
When we pray in the states our hearts turn to the east, to Jerusalem, to the Kotel. We are constantly remembering the destruction and longing to return. The immense love we have no matter where we are in the world for the wall reaches and permeates through it's smooth facade to the heart of the mount creating an eternal heart for the Jewish people to last centuries.
To spend the holiest day of the week at the holiest place in the hearts of the Jewish people is not an experience that can be conveyed in words. It's an emotionally powerful and spiritually intense experience. The love and the spirituality I felt then was a line to the past, connecting me with every Jew whose heart turned to the wall, to our home.