The Kosel. It is the place that many go straight to upon arrival in Eretz Yisroel and the place where they direct the monit (taxi )to wait as they stop by for one final goodbye before returning to chutz l’aretz. It means so much to so many. We come there to pour our hearts out in prayer and thanks. We come there to just “be”. Be with Hashem and be close to the makom hashechina. It has become the nation’s shul, a place where every Jew feels comfortable.
This past Tisha B’av, I viewed many pictures and videos that attested to the above. All different groups of klal Yisroel, often mingling together for davening, song, and dance (on motzei Tisha B’av) were represented at the kosel. And while I am cognizant that there are those who refrain from approaching the kosel out of ideological or halachic concerns, which I respect, the vast majority of yidden cherish their time and their experience of being at the kosel.
Towards the end of Tisha B’av this year, a bittersweet thought came to mind. When Moshiach comes beH sometime soon and the third Beis Hamikdash will be standing on the Har Habayis, thus becoming the focus of klal Yisroel, what will become of the kosel and the kosel plaza? Will it stand there empty, bereft of its former attendees?
I hope that it will be designated as some sort of gathering place so we can remember how much chizuk it gave us through the years of golus. And as we approach the steps leading up to the Beis Hamikdash, I hope we will take a few moments to descend down to the kosel, kiss its stones, and whisper, “Thank you for always having been there for us”.