I read somewhere that the Talmud says that all prayers from around the world ascend to Heaven from the Western Wall. (i.e. the kosel)

Does anyone know where in the Talmud that it says this?

  • All prayers are answered - but not always in the way we anticipate.
    – Ypnypn
    Feb 22 '15 at 4:45
  • @Ypnypn Trees also answer questions in ways we don't anticipate. Like they sway to the left sometimes.
    – Double AA
    Feb 22 '15 at 4:53
  • Ah, but is the tree RESPONDING to our asking? Or would it sway anyhow? See similar judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/55273/… Feb 22 '15 at 9:03
  • The questioner sounds like he has been influenced by those who seek to replace the significance of the actual makom hamikdash in Judaism for that of one of its less politically contentious outer walls. In contrast to many in the anti-zionist media, the Talmud does not view the Western Wall of the Temple as the holiest site in Judaism.
    – Loewian
    Feb 23 '15 at 16:27

I found in this sicho of Rav Yehudah Kreuzer

וכך כתב רבי יעקב עמדין זצ"ל: דע והבן, אף על פי ששכינה בכל מקום, מכל מקום אין התפילה עולה בחוץ לארץ במסילה אחת דרך ישרה, כי צריך לשולחה לארץ ישראל,ולירושלים, אל מקום בית המקדש, כנגדו שם שער השמים.

And so writes Rabbi Yaakov Emden: Know and understand that although the Divine Presence is everywhere, a prayer from outside Israel does nor ascend directly but it must travel to Israel and Jerusalem to the place of the Temple opposite the gate of heaven. 

וכן כתב השל"ה הקדוש: מה נרא המקום הזה, וזה שער השמים, השער שעולות בו התפילות. לא על התפילות עצמן של יושבי ירושלים יצא הדבר, אלא על הכלל כולו. שבכל גלויות ישראל כולן תפילותיהן עולות דרך שער השמים

So writes the Shelah, ..................that in all the exiles all their prayers ascend through the gate of Heaven.

יסוד זה שכל התפילות עולות לשמים דרך הר הבית  נפסק להלכה: בקומו להתפלל, אם היה בחוץ לארץ יחזיר פניו כנגד ארץ ישראל ויכוון גם לירושלים, ולמקדש, ולבית קודשי הקודשים. היה עומד בארץ ישראל יחזיר פניו כנגד ירושלים ויכוון גם למקדש ולבית קודשי הקודשים. היה עומד בירושלים יחזיר פניו למקדש ויכוון גם כן לבית קודשי הקודשים

And this principle that prayers ascend to heaven through the Temple mount is enshrined in Halocho – a person outside Israel must face Israel and intend towards Jerusalem and the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies etc.

But I did not (yet) find a source in the Gemoro.

Later …I found a Gemoro: Brochos 30a which I suggest is the source for the above although it is not totally explicit.

ל ה' היה עומד בח"ל יכוין את לבו כנגד ארץ ישראל שנא' והתפללו אליך דרך ארצם, היה עומד בארץ ישראל יכוין את לבו כנגד ירושלים שנאמר והתפללו אל ה' דרך העיר אשר בחרת היה עומד בירושלים יכוין את לבו כנגד בית המקדש שנאמר והתפללו אל הבית הזה, היה עומד בבית המקדש יכוין את לבו כנגד בית קדשי הקדשים שנאמר והתפללו אל המקום הזה, היה עומד בבית קדשי הקדשים יכוין את לבו כנגד בית הכפורת, היה עומד אחורי בית הכפורת יראה עצמו כאילו לפני הכפורת נמצא עומד במזרח מחזיר פניו למערב במערב מחזיר פניו למזרח בדרום מחזיר פניו לצפון בצפון מחזיר פניו לדרום נמצאו כל ישראל מכוונין את לבם למקום אחד א"ר אבין ואיתימא ר' אבינא מאי קראה כמגדל דויד צוארך בנוי לתלפיות תל שכל פיות פונים בו:

If one is standing outside Palestine, he should turn mentally towards Eretz Israel, as it says, And pray unto Thee towards their land. If he stands in Eretz Israel he should turn mentally towards Jerusalem, as it says, And they pray unto the Lord toward the city which Thou hast chosen. If he is standing in Jerusalem he should turn mentally towards the Sanctuary, as it says, If they pray toward this house. If he is standing in the Sanctuary, he should turn mentally towards the Holy of Holies, as it says, If they pray toward this place. If he was standing in the Holy of Holies he should turn mentally towards the mercy-seat. If he was standing behind the mercy-seat he should imagine himself to be in front of the mercy-seat. Consequently, if he is in the east he should turn his face to the west; if in the west he should turn his face to the east; if in the south he should turn his face to the north; if in the north he should turn his face to the south. In this way all Israel will be turning their hearts towards one place. R. Abin — or as some say R. Abina — said: What text confirms this? — Thy neck is like the tower of David builded with turrets [talpioth], the elevation [tel] towards which all mouths (piyyoth) turn.

  • 1
    The questioner asked about the Western Wall, not the kodesh hakadashim.
    – Loewian
    Feb 23 '15 at 16:23
  • @loewian Point accepted. I upvoted your answer. Feb 23 '15 at 16:35

There is no source in the Talmud for the Western Wall being the place from where prayers "ascend". (Tractate Brachot 30a says we face toward the kodesh hakadashim when praying, traditionally and archeologically identified with the site of the Dome of the Rock.)

  • If one is praying from between the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock, the halacha is to pray toward the Dome with your back to the Kosel.
    – Loewian
    Feb 23 '15 at 16:33
  • Moreover, if one is praying at the Western Wall, the Halacha is to turn to the left to face the Dome of the Rock. The Western Wall itself is of no particular Halachic significance.
    – Double AA
    Feb 23 '15 at 16:42
  • This is incorrect according to Halacha. The kotel has significance Aug 2 '17 at 20:01
  • @NaftaliTzvi Do you have any sources to back up your assertion?
    – Loewian
    Aug 2 '17 at 20:20
  • @NaftaliTzvi Also, I did not say the kotel has no significance; as a retaining wall of the Temple Mount going back to Herod, it certainly has significance. There is however no source in the Talmud for "prayers ascending" from it. Those who pray toward the Western Wall instead of toward the site of the Kodash Hakadashim are infact in violation of Halacha as recorded by the cited Talmud. It is however politically expedient for those who wish to deny basic Jewish rights to the Temple Mount to popularize the belief that the Western Wall is independently significant.
    – Loewian
    Aug 2 '17 at 20:25

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