Room 38 – The Mercy Gate, Shar HaRachamin, originally built by Shlomo HaMelech

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Exhibit 38a- The Eastern Wall. In the bottom center of the photo is the southeastern corner of Har HaBayis. The Southern Wall goes off to the left and the Eastern Wall of Har Habayis goes off to the right. Just as the Western and Southern Walls were part of the original walls of Har HaBayis, so too is the Eastern Wall.

Exhibit 38b- The Mercy Gate. Near the center of the Eastern Wall is the Mercy Gate. Please note the Moslem cemetery that is in front of the gate. Under the Mercy Gate, below the cemetery, is one of the gateways into the Bais HaMikdash. It was called the Shushan Gate. An old tradition tells that Eliyahu HaNavi will lead the Moshiach into the Bais HaMikdash through the Shushan Gate. To thwart Eliyahu’s plans, the Moslems built a cemetery hiding the gate. Since Eliyahu is a Cohain, he would not be permitted to go anywhere near the Shushan Gate.

Exhibit 38c- Mercy Gate. The Gemorah in Baba Metzia (114b) records a dispute whether or not a cohain may enter into a non-Jewish cemetery. The opinion of Eliyahu HaNavi was sought and he ruled that a cohain may enter a non-Jewish cemetery. Obviously, the Moslems who built the cemetery were not Talmudic scholars. In Medieval times, when Jews were not allowed to visit the Kossel, they would gather in front of the Mercy Gate to beg “rachmonis,” mercy, from Hashem to grant them the coming of Moshiach and the rebuilding of Tzion.

Exhibit 38d- Mercy Gate. In the first Bais HaMikdash a building stood here. It was built by Shlomo HaMelech. It had two rooms. In one room the newly married men would congregate. In the other room, those who were still in mourning would assemble. Others would come to those rooms and offer the appropriate words of congratulations or condolence. When the Second Bais HaMikdash was rebuilt, Shlomo’s rooms were reconstructed. Much of the building was destroyed during the “churban” but was later repaired.

Exhibit 38e- The Back of the Mercy Gate. The same architectural design was used for the front and the back of the building.

Exhibit 38f- Design of the Mercy Gate. The ornamentation of the Mercy Gate building was done by the 4th century Byzantines.

Exhibit 38g- Inside the
Mercy Gate.

Exhibit 38h- Inside the
Mercy Gate.

Exhibit 38i- The Domes of the Mercy Gate.