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Ancient Israel:


The Wailing Wall, remains to the platform of the temple of Solomon, built on Moriah, a rock eminence in the southeastern part of Jerusalem.  In order to obtain a sufficient area the summit was leveled, immense walls were built up on four sides, and the intervening space between them and the leveled top was filled in with earth or built up in vaults.  The walls of the temple were built of white marble, the stones being all prepared beforehand, "so that there was neither hammer nor axe, nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building" (I Kings. 6:7).


Left: the platform of the Dome of the Rock, the remains of the ancient temple at Jerusalem; Right: Reconstruction of Herod's Temple (1st AD).  Herod rebuilt the Jerusalem Temple on a magnificent scale.  Its courts were increasingly sacred:  the court of the Gentiles (people not Jewish), the Court of the women, the Court of the Israelites (restricted to males), and the Court of the Priests.  Only priests could enter the Temple itself.  The innermost chamber, or holy of holies, was restricted to the high priest, who enjoyed access only on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, a solemn festival celebrated with elaborate rites to purify the people from sin.

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