How do we treat something holy…something like the Kotel? The most respectful Jews will not even touch the Kotel. In fact, they will not even stand within a few feet of it! Why?
The easiest answer for not touching the it is, "it's not yours," but that doesn't explain the deeper meaning. When you see something is holy you treat it with awe.
The reason for not coming within a few feet of the Kotel is that each layer was not built exactly on top of the layer under it. They are indented, set back in somewhat. This is more evident when looking where another wall was later built up against it (see photo). The indenting was done to make the Kotel stronger.
The ground where we stand in front of the Kotel is a few stories higher than the actual ground level. You can go inside the men's side and look through the glass floor sections and see how high up we are. We are standing on rubble and trash that accumulated over the some 2000 years since the destruction.
So the problem is if we stand right by the Kotel we are standing on top of the lower rows. Those who do not wish to do this see this as a partial intrusion onto the Temple Mount. The majority of the major rabbinical sources say that we are not to enter the Temple Mount until the Redemption has come.
In order to treat holy things with great respect we have to know what is holy. The truth is only G-d is holy. Whatever we call holy, be it a sefer Torah, or something we use to fulfill a mitzvah… all these merely point to Hashem. But Hashem is everywhere so what does it mean point to Hashem? It is impossible to point to where He is not! Holy things help to reveal Hashem's Presence, and what we call unholy further conceals His Presence.