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Any laws I should know before seeing the Kotel for the first time?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Israel » Holy Land | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The following is an excerpt from the Code of Jewish Law, Orach Chayim ch. 561:

"One who sees the [place of the] Holy Temple should say "Our holy house, our glory, where our parents praised you has been consumed by fire, and all that is precious to us has been destroyed (Isaiah 64:10)," and tear his garments ("kriyah") [as a symbol of mourning]."

There are certain times when one doesn't tear kriyah, such as Shabbat, Jewish holidays, Friday afternoons or Rosh Chodesh. If you do have to tear kriyah remember to wear an old shirt!


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(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Rosh Chodesh
The "Head of the Month," Rosh Chodesh is observed the first day of every Jewish month. If the previous month had 30 days, then the last day of the previous month is also observed; hence a two-day Rosh Chodesh. Rosh Chodesh is a semi-holiday, marked by Torah-reading and special prayers.
1. One of the greatest prophets, lived in the 7th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, containing the prophecies of Isaiah. The book is filled with prophecies concerning the Messianic redemption.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.