But, I'll blog about the episode -- and the four different accounts from BT Gittin 56b, Lamentations Rabbah 1:31, and two versions from The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan -- at another time, because it's incredibly fascinating the subtle and obvious differences between the accounts and how the rabbi approached Vespasian, how Jerusalem fell, how the rabbi and his followers ended up in Yavneh, and the tales therein. But what I wanted to blog about quickly, before I throw myself into bed, is a take on why the Western Wall still stands to this day. It's pretty interesting. This portion comes from Lamentations Rabbah after Vespasian had subdued the city. At this time, he
assigned the destruction of the four ramparts to the four generals, and the western gate was allotted to Pangar. Now it had been decreed by Heaven that this should never be destroyed because the Shechina abode in the west. The others demolished their sections but he did not demolish his. Vespasian sent for him and asked, "Why did you not destroy your section?" He replied, "By your life, I acted so for the honour of the kingdom; for if I had demolished it, nobody would [in time come] know what it was you destroyed; but when people look [at the western wall], they exclaim, "Perceive the might of Vespasian from what he destroyed!" He said to him, "Enough, you have spoken well, but since you disobeyed my command, you shall ascend to the roof and throw yourself down. If you live, you will live; and if you die, you will die." He ascended, threw himself down and died.An interesting take on why we still have HaKotel HaMa'aravi today, no? There are a few other morsels worth noting, which you can find at this Kotel website. Oh, and for good measure, the photo credit goes to me!
On that note, I'm heading to bed. Midrash will float about my head as I hopefully fall fast asleep. Tomorrow? I get the chance to delve into the topic in class.