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Mar 22, 2011

The Kotel HaKotton Is Not Holy

If the traffic committee can't decide which traffic laws are important, who can? If Jewish law can't determine what sites are considered holy, than who can? You can argue about who, which rabbi using which books as sources, has the right to determine and define the Jewish law when there are ramifications to the public, but the Jewish law should have that ultimate power - just applying it might be the part under question.

Under dispute was the Kotel HaKotton. The Kotel HaKotton is a section of the wall of the Kotel that extends further down. Over the years, the wall of the Kotel (I know the redundancy of using the word like that, but I am using "the Kotel" as an identifier of what wall I am talking about and not meaning "the wall", hence, the wall of the Kotel. All for lack of a better way of saying it) became used by people building their homes there. Why build four walls if you could build just three and use the existing wall as the fourth! So many built their homes adjacent to the Kotel, as it was not holy to them. Much of the wall extends further down, and is covered up by homes and sections of the Arab shuk. The Kotel HaKotton is a section of the wall that is further down in the shuk, much closer to the point of the Holy of Holies, making it perhaps holier than the section we all know and love that has come to be called "The Kotel".

Because of its location, you have to go through the Arab shuk to get there, it never has gotten much publicity or foot traffic. There are some people, even many perhaps, who try to daven there regularly, but the numbers are small. It never really developed, as the authorities did not let any attempts to turn it into a place to daven take hold. Groups of people that went to daven there were ad hoc, as the police would not allow chairs or shtenders to be placed there.

A group of people who davened there on Rosh HaShana a few years ago were arrested when they blew the shofar. Sounds reminiscent of when the British held control of the area and the shofar was blown clandestinely.

They are suing the State and they are arguing over whether the site of the Kotel HaKotton is a holy site or not. the State's argument is that the site is not a holy site, but simply part of a courtyard of houses. The State, in court, rejected the power of the Jewish law to determine the site's sanctity. (source: INN)


  1. Interesting that it has become that sort of a problem. People have been davening there for a long time. In the late 70s/early 80s we had a regular davening there for kabbalat Shabbat. It was mostly young Bnei Akiva people; usually with one or two boys home on leave from the army. One guy would stand behind and just above us to keep watch that we were safe. The Arab neighbors threw bottles and other stuff at us a few times. As I recall, the only reason we didn't keep a few chairs and stenders there was because the neighbors destroyed anything left there.

  2. Forgive my ignorance but doesn't the wall stretch through the WW Tunnels, which is where people gather to daven at what is considered the closest spot to the Holy of Holies

  3. the tunnels are below ground along the length of the Kotel, while the Kotel HaKotton is the above ground extension of the Kotel wall.


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