Taamei Haminhagim (p. 270, footnote) records a story told by the Minchas Elazar of Munkatch, in which the Ohr Hachaim (R. Chaim ibn Attar, 1696-1743) gave such a note to someone to put into the Wall. So it goes back at least that far.
No. From one parent who actually observed a bat mitzva by having her daughter tear for the first time:
Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chaim 561:17. In fact, children might be forbidden
to tear their clothes because of ba’al tashchit, the prohibition against wanton waste! See, for a related analysis, Minchat Chinuch 264:34* (Machon Yerushalayim edition, [Netanya,...
Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim סימן צד - צריך לכון נגד ארץ ישראל, ודין הרוכב או יושב בספינה
If you're facing the wrong way, then turn your head towards the correct direction.
ב אִם מִתְפַּלֵּל לְרוּחַ מִשְּׁאָר רוּחוֹת, יְצַדֵּד פָּנָיו לְצַד אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אִם הוּא בְּחוּץ לָאָרֶץ; וְלִירוּשָׁלַיִם, אִם הוּא בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְלַמִּקְדָּשׁ, אִם הוּא ...
The short answer is yes, non-Jews may enter the Western wall plaza and pray because it is not part of the temple mount sacred area. The restrictions according to halacha involve areas of the temple mount itself.
The western wall is not actually part of the temple area. There are areas on the temple mount where even Jews who are tamei meis may go and areas ...
This article quotes Rav Yitzchak Herzog (Heichal Yitzchak OC 18). I do not have access to this source to confirm the accuracy of the following discussion, so take this with a grain of salt until it can be confirmed.
The Meiri (Kiryas Sefer, Hil. Beis HaBechirah, ch. 5) writes that the entire Har HaBayis has Kedushah. Since the Rambam (Hil. Karban Pesach 9:...
According to this article (and this one), until not too long ago there was a practice of writing one’s name directly on the wall. This is where the modern practice of writing a note comes.
The first article quotes the twelfth-century traveler Benjamin of Tudela, who writes that in the central house of prayer in Jerusalem at that time, Shaar Rachamim - as ...
There is no stone on the exposed kotel which is opposite the kodesh hakadoshim. However if you go to the tunnel tours there is a spot marked which is.
See this page for maps and pictures:
The Mishna on Megilla 28a rules that a destroyed synagogue retains holiness, and if grasses grew on it they should not be picked because they add to the feeling of despair. (The subsequent Gemara on 29b discusses picking the grasses and leaving them there, though the Rambam (Perush HaMishna 3:4) and the Mishna Berura (OC 151 sk 29) both understand this to be ...
Like others, I couldn't think of a single halachic reason to forbid weddings. I know I've seen dozens of Bar Mitzvahs over the years there, but never a wedding. (On Monday and Thursday around mid morning it seems like there's a bar mitzvah every 20 minutes). I did some digging and eventually found the rabinate's rules for the kotel, and it is true that they ...
Note: 40 days of prayer at the wall is considered a "Segulah" and therefore relies more on tradition than the strict rationalist approach that the halachic process has.
An Article written by Rabbi Levi Friend, author of the book "Segulos HaBaal Shem Tov" for the Torah Journal "Ohr Yisroel" (Monsey) investigated this and other 40 day "Segulos" and came up ...
Wearing torn clothing isn't the command. A tear for one event doesn't help at all for another later event. Even if another relative passes away during Shiva he would need to tear again (YD 340:21-23; see there for details about when one can add on to an existing tear and when one tear can count for two simultaneous events).
This PDF file attributed to the teachings of R' Shlomo Aviner lists a couple of gedolim who practiced this, but doesn't give sources:
Q: Is it permissible to turn one's back to the Kotel?
A: It is permissible just as in a shul it is permissible to turn one's back to the Torah ark. When one leaves the Kotel, the custom is to walk backwards with his ...
There are quite a few ways in which people avoid tearing, though I guess most don't do it simply because they are unaware of the Halacha.
The Kotel is not the best place to tear - one should try and see the makom hamikdash (Temple Mount).
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 561:2) writes ...
According to the website IsraelDailyPicture, (which presents historical photos of Israel with explanations) those are memorial notices. Two such pictures can be seen here, and the text (names in the form X ben Y) is readable in at least one.
Further, in this post from the same site, it says, "The darkness of the writing suggests that it was written ...
Firstly the Kotel wasn't part of the ruins of the Beit HaMikdash, according to popular opinion.
It's a retainer wall holding up the Temple Mount platform. The Bet HaMikdash ruins morphed into archeology a long time ago.
Secondly not every old wall is a ruin which the dictionary defines as a building or place in a state of decay, collapse, or disintegration....
Several Midrashim address the "Western Wall" though it's not entirely clear what those midrashim are referring to. This includes the Bamidbar Rabba 11:2 as well as Shir Hashirim Rabba 2:9 (sometimes called Midrash Chazis), the early Tanhuma to Shemos 10, and Yalkut Shimoni to Kings I, ch. 8. The language in all of those midrashim is the כותל המערבי של בית ...
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 ...
They remove them from time to time,and they place them in genizah.
Per Rabbi Yechiel Michel Tukachinsky - Ir Hakodesh V'Hamikdash 3:17:4 - if one sees the Kosel at a time when one does not do Kriyah as in your case, then one would not be required to do Kriyah if one sees it again within 30 days.
No one's really answered the second part of the question:
If [these masses of papers are somehow buried ritually], that would imply they have an elevated level of sanctity. Do they?
I don't know. But some weak evidence to the contrary is in photos of the rabbi of the Wall's allowing the notes to simply lie on the floor.
Eretz Chemda 28 says that the Western Wall / Kosel HaMaaravi was originally built by King David.
I sent an e-mail to Aish and received the following response.
As for the story about the angels saying "This Wall, the work of the
poor, shall never be destroyed" -- a book called “Agadot Eretz
Yisrael” by Ze’ev Vilnai records and notes that it is "a ...
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.)
As mentioned in the comments above the bracha of "Barukh Ata Hashem Elokeinu Melekh Haolam Sheasa et Hayam Hagadol" when seeing the ocean for the first time in 30 days is relevant.
In addition highly relevant to your visit to the Old City (or the Mount of Olives) is the practice of kria (tearing your clothes) over the Temple Mount. See R Ari Enkin's very ...
There is such an idea from the Shu"t Bais Ridvaz siman 38 where he holds that the western wall is part of the Azarah,like the shitta of the Radvaz.
The Chachmas Adam Shaarei Tzedek Mishpatei Ha'aretz also held the same:
שערי צדק שער משפטי הארץ חכמת אדם פרק יא סעיף יג
ח) צריך לזהר מאוד שלא יכנס במקום המקדש שכולנו טמאים מתים, והנכנס בטומאה חייב כרת, דאפילו ...
I think the answer is written in an actual verse:
Psalms 137, 5-6
אם-אשכחך ירושלים-- תשכח ימיני.
תדבק-לשוני, לחיכי-- אם-לא אזכרכי:
אם-לא אעלה, את-ירושלים-- על, ראש שמחתי
137:5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
137:6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem ...
I think that you've answered your own question based on your parenthetical remarks.
Combining mourning and joy at the same event or day is quite common, actually. In Israel, for example, almost immediately following the joyous Simchat Torah dancing, they recite Yizkor. At one wedding that I attended, they said "Kel Maleh Rachamim" for terrorist victims in ...