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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Hall of Ages©

We know from the Torah that the settlement of Yerushalayim began in a very early period. Shem the son of Noach, who was Melech Shalem, lived here.
There is a chamber found in the vaults and arches of the Kosel Tunnels that is about seven meters in length and four to five in width, and its age is more then three thousand years old. It was opened to the public in 2009 and is called the “Heichal HaTkoofot” or the Hall of Ages because it contains archaeological finds from different ancient periods.
After the Six Day War as the Kosel tunnels were being dug and investigated, safety experts and engineers warned that one small enclosed area adjacent to the Herodian Hall was in danger of collapsing and could cause all the tunnels to collapse. So this space was filled with cement and areas around it were explored in its stead.
As work progressed the whole system of the tunnels was strengthened and eventually it was determined that the cemented-up area could be dug out. Window-like holes were made in its frontal wall, and the Hall of Ages was unearthed.
In the Hall of Ages, you encounter the historical timeline of Jerusalem of over three thousand years until our day. Standing on the wooden deck around the sides of the vault, you look over a waist-high bar into a large, gaping hole. The floor of this pit is a First Temple street with a small water hole, maybe from the time of Hezekiah or even earlier.
On a slightly higher level in the cavity is a large Hasmonean water pool that is 28 meters by 28 meters. A similar one is found in Beit Shaan. You can aslo see a Herodian wall in the pit. The frontal wall mentioned earlier is a Roman wall. On one of the side walls is the early Muslim period entrance. Towards the rear of the pit you can view a Crusader Arch balancing on the side and  crowning the other findings. As the digging was in process this arch disintegrated and had to be reconstructed.
Although most of the roof is modern day cement arch, the section over the doorway is a Mamlukie arch and holds up the Arab Macrmay (law court) building above it, which is seen from the Kosel and is now a police station.  The back wall of this room is from the twenty-first century.
Yerushalayim, has always held a very special place in the hearts and minds of the Jewish people who have wandered for many, many centuries. 
The Zohar says Yerushalayim is the heart of the universe.Yerushalayim is the heart pumping life-giving blood throughout the body of the world. Hashem uses the Holy City to pump life into the Creation.  We daven facing Yerushalayim, the place that infuses the rest of the world with meaning and holiness.
May Yerushalayim and Eretz Yisrael be restored to their full glory soon in our day. We hope and pray that we will merit to see the day the Bais HaMikdash will stand again on Har HaBayis and the Kohanim and Leviim will be engaged with their holy service. On that day, Hashem and His name will be one, for all will revere Him.  

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