Advanced Search

Divider at Western Wall


Bruce Hammer asked:

Dear Rabbi, I noticed the divider at the Western Wall. What is the purpose of this division? Why is the wall divided into two sections? Thanks.



AskTheRabbi.org answered:

It's there as a division between the men and the women during prayer. It's basically to help us focus on prayer, and not on other things.

The law requiring a separation, a "mechitzah," is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Succah 51b, 52a. There are a number of reasons given for this:

  • So as not to cause those who are unmarried to feel left out.

     

  • We come to synagogue to relate to God as Jews, not as spouses, husbands, wives, fathers or mothers. With a mechitzah, spouses do not sit together. That way, we are more of a congregation than groups of individuals.

     

  • To prevent there being an atmosphere of socializing, and conversation during prayer.

     

  • The atmosphere during prayer should be serious. One way to help achieve the proper atmosphere is by creating a division between men and women.

     

  • To promote modesty, and to prevent the distraction from prayer to both men and women from the presence of members of the opposite gender, to whom there is a natural attraction.

Similar Questions
Prayers and Blessings > Rationale
Why Say Blessings?
Boredom
Prayer and Self-Evaluation
Dance: The Hidden Language of the Soul
Ark Direction in Synagogue
Income and Wealth
The “Shema”
Meaning of the Word "Bless"
The Purpose of Prayer
100 Blessings
What is a Minyan?
Shalom Aleichem
Shukling
Exercise and Blessing
Which Language to Pray In
Amen - Origins and Meaning
Minyan - A Group of Ten Men
Why Say Kaddish?
Nag, Kvetch and Change
Meaning of Bless You
The Language of Prayer
Shakesprayer
And Let Us Say “Amen”
A Kosher (Golf) Course Blessing
The Wall that Unites
Why Say Blessings?
Inauguration Prayer of King Solomon
“Prayer Force One”
Tallit at Night?
HaGomel Prayer
Over-the-Counter Tranquility
Kaddish
The “Bathroom Blessing”
Swaying and Praying
A Blessing on Your Head
In the Beginning
Synagogue Symmetry
Israel > Jerusalem
The Western Wall
Why Western Wall Not Destroyed
Jerusalem
Temple Mount
Jerusalem in the Tanach
What is Meah Shearim?
Zion
Largest Stone in the Kotel
Meah Shearim
Jerusalem’s Real Name
Gates of Jerusalem
Destruction of the Temples
Sacrifices and Third Beit Hamikdash
Snowfall in Jerusalem
Inauguration Prayer of King Solomon
The Meaning of “Jerusalem”
The Secret Road to Jerusalem
Where's Jerusalem?
Have a question?
 
Gateways - Your Key to Jewish Continuity

AskTheRabbi.org is a service of the Gateways Organization © 2021
Technical problems? Please contact the AskTheRabbi Support team