|Leonardo Hotel Jerusalem|
On the fourth day of the pilgrimage slash travel to a whole new world, we were basically leaving Nazareth already and proceeding to yet another region of the Holy Land. From Nazareth, we traversed through the famous Jerusalem itself passing by Tel Aviv and Palestine on the side, and eventually immersing more in Jerusalem.
First stop was the “dormition area“.
Since King David is also revered in the Jewish community, men were required to wear a cap provided outside. It was a tiny space inside, divided into two sections to separate the viewing of the men and women.
Surprisingly, there was a shelf of Hebrew books waiting to be read. A lot are prayer books in case patrons desire to say a prayer inside the tomb.
Mezuzah is a scroll inscribed with Hebrew verses from the Torah. A Mezuzah is affixed to the doorframe in Jewish homes to fulfill a biblical commandment to inscribe the words of the Shema on the doorposts of the house. We have it on our hotel room door and I assume each Jewish house holds on its doors decorated parchments of various make.
It makes me giddy seeing real things, real people, real places, such existences that I only get acquainted on movies or TV shows. Here I am, like watching a real life movie, being surrounded by people that seem to me like walking around in a very unnatural costume, playing a role of a lifetime– them as them on real life.
I couldn’t believe they still wear those hats! (and big mustache, and matching coats and boots!) : ]
As I understood, the Wailing (activity)/ Western (geography) Wall is a remnant of the most holy worship place of the Jews in the ancient time–by ancient I mean Jesus’ and then the Roman’s time.
Jesus has prophesized the destruction of the Jewish land, which in history eventually was executed by the Roman soldiers. It was told that the Romans intentionally left this wall to leave proof of how strong they were to be able to bring down such vast fortress.
Left with no place of worship, the Jews returned to this site (the western side of the Temple Mount–one of the most sacred sites in Judaism) to worship as they used to, and wail/complain/weep of the lost of their temple, which later evolved to their own frustrations and struggles.
It was an odd observation how the prayerfuls leave the wall walking backwards. I figured, since they treat the wall the most sacred, they do not want to disgrace it by pointing their “dirty” butts to it. Unless I know a better explanation, I guess I’ll be believing this assumption. (Though they seem to interpret each part of the Torah critically and literally like the Mezuzah concept, I suppose this belief also roots somewhere in the words of the Lord.)
The Experience I
I tried to read about the Wailing Wall before the trip like a true blue tourist, and found out that people write letters of prayers and leave it on the wall. I wrote my prayer draft on my iphone notes right after I read that so that I pretty much know what to write if ever we push through going. That was one profound reflective night which actually made my pilgrimage a more meaningful one– after thorough introspection, I knew what to pray for in every church we visit.
The prayer books are readily available in the entrance and in this table within the wall’s proximity. The older patrons were really strict with the younger generations in terms of the modesty of the attire in the area. They won’t grant entry if they find your clothing offensive unless you put on a scarf on either the upper or lower body skin exposures. I remember I got sniggered by an old lady as I stand up from kneeling, while still bowed down, she saw part of my chest revealed. I found myself hurriedly standing up as I don’t want to offend her further and zoomed away from her sight.
The Garden of Gethsemane is the spot where Jesus often go for His retreats and prayers. This is the garden where Jesus, on His last night, underwent the most sorrowful hour of His passion, the hour in which He trembled in His nature, choosing to suffer and die on the cross, taking upon Himself the sins of all mankind.
People say that what’s most amazing in this garden is that it has been kept the same way as it was before, even as it was in Jesus’ time, maybe with the same olive trees.
The moment I almost got left behind
The Experience II
Because of my fascination to these candle lights, I almost got left behind by the tour group. Apparently, the moment I got out of my photographic trance, I noticed how I don’t see anyone familiar in my immediate environment anymore. Panic started striking, because heaven knows I am geographically challenged! I couldn’t be so sure I can recall the way we passed by!
To confirm my panic, the street vending souvenir guy somehow recalled my face and yelled at me enthusiastically saying, “you’re the last one in your group here! hurry! They went that way!” Yeah, that helped calm me down.
I walked the direction given to me and saw how far behind I was! They were all in the bus already waiting for the last number!
Whew! and I got the nerves to take some more pictures on my way! haha
|The Mezuzah in our hotel door post|
Each hotel door has this. I somehow evilishly thought of taking it off and bringing it home with me!
|Leonardo Hotel Cafe and Restaurant|
Of all the places we stayed in, this has got to have the best buffet food. After how many days of travel, checking in and out,rummaging several buffet tables, this was the first time I really got full, to the authentic full level! Thank heavens we stayed here the longest so I’ve been nutritioned pretty well since then!
|The Old City of Jerusalem by the golden hour|
This word will stick to me for how many million times it was uttered one Saturday morning on our hotel floor which seemed to be invaded by Jewish families knocking on neighboring doors, waking each other up in their PJs, and enthusiastically greeting each other Shalom!
It was really happy to see them do that, but it was really loud! and invading! haha : ]
Good to know they’re happy people! : ]