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Jerusalem, the Holy Land and Judaism

By DaveS | July 22, 2009

Star of David made in the Holy Land Jerusalem is one of the holiest cities on the planet. The city has been in existence for well over 5,000 years and has been the focus of both religious devotion and intense and violent conflict centered on religious ideals. Jerusalem is not only an important city for Judaism, but it is also an important city in the Christian and Muslim faiths. This multifaceted importance is the main reason why the city has been constantly fought over throughout history.

The Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque comprise the Noble Sanctuary and is the third most important location in the world for Islam. Among other important properties, the Islamic faith records that it is here where Muhammad journeyed and then ascended towards heaven. In Christianity, the same location is believed to be where Jesus was crucified, buried and then resurrected. Today, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre resides in this location.

The importance of Jerusalem as the Holy Land for Judaism extends back even farther, to at least the 10th century B.C.E. That’s over 3,000 years that Judaism has laid claim to Jerusalem as being its holiest location, an extraordinarily long period of time and a full 1,000 years before Christianity’s emergence. The history of the Jewish people in the region now known as Israel, formerly known as Canaan, extends far beyond that as well.

Jerusalem was the location of the first Temple, built in the 10th century BCE which was subsequently destroyed several hundred years later by the Babylonians. The Temple was the holiest prayer location for the Jewish faith and its sole place of sacrifice. The Temple was rebuilt as the Second Temple, which would also eventually be destroyed, this time by the Romans in the year 70. The Jewish faith also believes that one day the Third and final Temple will be built in this same location.

Today what remains of the Temple is the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. It is not a wall of the Temple itself, but rather is a wall from the large Temple platform or Temple Mount on which the Temple was built. It is a location of extreme importance to the Jewish faith, and pilgrimages are made there to not only mourn the destruction of the Temples but also to connect with God in general and to mourn for anything else.

The Temples were constructed in this location in Jerusalem because it is supposed to be the most holy location in the Jewish faith, making Jerusalem and the surrounding country the true Holy Land. It is believed that in this location the world actually began, it is where it was essentially built from scratch and where God created Adam. Additionally, it is believed that this specific location is where God chose to permanently keep his name and presence, known as the Shekhinah.

It can be hard to believe that the three major monotheistic religions on the planet all lay claim to the exact same location as being one of the most important, or the most important, to their religious lore. However, when one considers that all three stem from the same tree of Judaism, perhaps the picture becomes a bit clearer. Still, with conflict over who has the right to the land still going on today, the Holy Land is a place of extreme turmoil as it has been for thousands of years.

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