web analytics
September 3, 2015 / 19 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Temple’

Exacting Vengeance on the Gentiles?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Once again we are treated to the sight of very religious looking Jews acting like a street gang. A statue of a cross with a figure of Jesus on it was defaced by a group of Breslover Chasidim in Uman. The cross was recently erected opposite the grave of the founder of this Chasidus, Rav Nachman of Breslov – located in the Ukrainian city of Uman. From JTA:

“To exact vengeance on the gentiles,” reads the message, which was scrawled across the torso of a figure of Jesus. A further inscription on Jesus’ leg reads, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

This kind of thing would not surprise me if it were being done by extremists from a community that embraces an isolationist lifestyle. But although they are hardcore Chasidim who dress and look much the same as Satmar Chasidim – Breslovers do a lot of outreach. I would expect them to know how to behave in a more civilized manner. They must have had a socialization process that taught them that or they could not do outreach. And yet here they have acted in a completely uncivilized way.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Christian symbol near their venerated Rebbe’s grave site was desecrated with graffiti. I guess their socialization process goes just so far. A statue of Jesus so close to their Rebbe’s grave site was too much to handle.

I don’t know why the Ukrainian Government chose that site for its statue. I don’t think it was a wise decision. But at the same time, I don’t think it was necessarily meant to ‘stick it’ to the Breslovers either. It was probably just not a well thought out plan.

I can understand why these Chasidim felt outrage. They consider the Breslover Rebbe’s gravesite to be so holy that make annual pilgrimages to it. Tens of thousands of Jews (mostly Breslover Chasidim) from all over the world visit it during Rosh Hashanah – one of the holiest times of the year. It is almost as though they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. Seeing the sight of Jesus on a cross must have made them feel like they were seeing Avodah Zara in the Beis HaMikdash.

The outrage is understandable. But their expression of it is inexcusable. It is the kind of behavior that can bring tragedy upon the Jewish people. Uman is not Jerusalem. R. Nachman’s gravesite is not the Beis HaMikdash. The citizens of Uman are their hosts. Breslovers are guests. And the guests have just defaced the image of the god their hosts worship.

The more responsible Breslover leadership has apologized. Sort of. From JTA:

“We respect other religions, and don’t wish to damage symbols of other religions. But, unfortunately, not all of our coreligionists understand this. They could break or destroy the cross. That would lead to a genuine war between hasidim and Christians. We cannot allow that, so we request that the cross be moved to a different location,” said Shimon Busquila, a representative of the Rabbi Nachman International Fund…

It may have been a legitimate request. But it was made too late. If made at all it should have been made politely before the statue was vandalized. Nonetheless the deputy mayor of Uman agreed with it.

On the other hand the citizens of Uman were so outraged by the vandalism – that they will have no part of moving the statue. They promised retaliation against Rav Nachman’s grave if it is moved. I can’t say that I blame them.

I think the point to be made here is contained in the response made by Shimon Busquila: ‘…not all of our coreligionists understand this’.

That is exactly the problem. Why don’t they understand this? It is not enough for a leader to simply say that some of their co-religionists do not understand the consequences of being uncivilized – thereby damaging the property of their hosts.  Especially their religious symbols. No matter how upsetting it is to them.

The Chasidim who did this are taught to hate non Jewish religious symbols much more than they are taught to behave in civilized ways when encountering them. So when they get upset at the sight of one of those hated symbols, they react in ways that bring ill repute upon – and ill will against – our people. They do so without thinking or perhaps even caring about the consequences.

Looking For God In Our Skyscrapers

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Over the last decade, Tisha B’Av, the day that we traditionally mourn the destruction of our Holy Temple in Jerusalem, has been admitted to the pantheon of Jewish holy days that are not for the observant only: holy days that speak to everyone.

Yom Kippur has always been there. It is the private holy day, special to us all. A solid majority of the Jews in Israel fast on that day. Even those who do not fast feel something special: they respect the day and search for its meaning. Yom Kippur does not just pass us by like the holiday of Shavuot, for example.

Pesach is another holy day that has always been a holiday for all the Jews. It is the family holiday. The Seder night – kosher-for-Passover or not – is celebrated by Jewish families everywhere. It is a holiday that has not been separated from the nation by the walls of religion.

What we still lack is the national dimension, the dimension that retains a void not filled by banging on plastic hammers on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. Yom Ha’atzmaut always leaves us with a vague sense of emptiness.

The collective subconscious that pulls the young people of Tel Aviv’s trendy Shenkin Street to alternative lamentations on the city rooftops discovers something in Tisha B’Av. It longs for the spiritual national dimension. It searches for meaning and warmth.

Real Israeli culture, the authentic national creation that we are all looking for, the point that affords meaning and validity to our national existence, is there – in our Father’s house, from which we were exiled and to where we will return.

Return to religion enriches the returnee. But usually it is at the expense of the real achievement of the return to Zion, Israel’s rising and return from the dimension of community to the dimension of nation – at the expense of the return to reality and history.

Generally speaking (and yes, there are certainly exceptions), the returnee to religion is no longer interested in the news, politics or the state. He has found his personal happiness and leaves the rest to the Messiah. His God is not so relevant outside his home, study hall or synagogue.

The new generation, however, wants God to be relevant in all dimensions. It doesn’t want to escape into religion. It wants a grand message, rectification of the world; neither to go backward into pre-Zionism nor to be stuck in the place bereft of identity and meaning in which Zionism – which shed all regard for religion – finds itself today.

The new generation wants it all. It wants to go forward into religion, to a Torah that is also a relevant culture and to a God who is with us here, in our modernity. It wants to proceed in our multilevel interchanges, in our skyscrapers, and in our hi-tech. It is looking for a God who is with us in our most private moments, in our most national triumphs, and in our most universal aspirations. The new generation wants warmth, a sense of belonging and meaning. It wants to herald a great message. It wants a home: it’s Father’s home, the home to which we all belong.

It wants the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu Opens ‘Direct Talks’ with Abbas: Greetings on Ramadan

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu picked up the phone on Sunday to personally call Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and say, “I called to greet you on the occasion of Ramadan.”

That was the first time the Prime Minister has called Abbas since the new government took office this year.

Cynics might say that Netanyahu simply was being a political opportunist, calling days before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pays his sixth visit to the region this to re-invent the “peace process.”

“I hope that we will have an opportunity to speak to each other and not just on holidays, and that we begin negotiations,” the Prime Minister added. “This is important. I hope that American Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts have results.”

That certainly should satisfy the cynics.

Unfortunately, the Office of the Prime Minister, which made sure the media knew about the phone call, did not mention what Abbas said in response, if anything. Government spokesman Mark Regev told the Jewish Press, “I cannot go beyond the statement.”

Presumably, Abbas said, “Thank you.”

That would be a good start.

The United States has been acting as middle man for Israel and the Palestinian Authority for more than 20 years, orchestrating the moves of the leaders, whether they be Arafat, Abbas, Netanyahu, Loment or Sharon.

Until now.

The Obama administration, which simply is carrying the flameless torch of the Bush administration, has put each side into a tight comer with no room to wriggle except to turn around and quit the game of charades.

If the international community, whatever that means today, would let Israel and the Palestinian Authority figure this out for themselves, maybe the locals actually know what is best.

Netanyahu got the ball rolling.

Who knows? Maybe Abbas will call him today and wish a “good fast” for Tisha B’Av?

Tisha B’Av marks the date that the First and Second Holy Temples were destroyed.

A cynic would say, “Wait a minute. The Palestinian Authority is trying to convince the world that the Jews never had any connection with the Temple Mount and that the Bible is simply Zionist propaganda.”

In that case, Abbas would not make any reference to  Tisha B’Av.

Oh well, there always is Rosh HaShanah.

 

PA Propaganda on Temple Mount Makes Anti-Zionism Inevitable

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

The Palestinian Authority’s official website again has disseminated inciting anti-Israel propaganda focusing on the supposed Jewish plot to take over the Temple Mount.

Calling the Israelis on the Temple Mount ”fanatics,” the WAFA site quoted Muslim Waqf officials that the Jews “were escorted by police, held prayer rituals and destroyed olive branches in the yards in a clear provocative manner to the feelings of the hundreds of Muslims who were on the site and who reacted yelling Allah Akbar (God is great) in Arabic.

“Israeli fanatics are increasing their provocative tours of the Muslim compound to create daily presence there with a goal to eventually take it over and build their temple on the ruins of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.”

There is at least one statement in the propaganda that is correct. Jews do indeed offend the sensibilities by ascending the Temple Mount. Then again, the very presence of Jews in the Old City, let alone all of Israel, is offensive to the Palestinian Authority.

The allegations that the Jews “held prayer rituals” is nothing less than an outrageous lie. Jews trying to pray on the Temple Mount wish it were true, but Muslim officials constantly monitor all Jews at the Temple Mount and, with police cooperation, do not allow Jewish visitors to bring with them any prayer books or any other Jewish symbols.

Police often remove Jews for even moving their lips, despite admonitions by the Supreme Court.

The Palestinian Authority is committed to halt all incitement against Israel, a promise which the United States claims it has faithfully upheld.

PA media at least twice a week, if not more, report that police have “stormed” the Temple Mount and that every Jewish action there is intended to prepare for rebuilding the Holy Temple.

If that were true, it would mean a lot of employment for hundreds of Muslim Arab workers.

What Is God Teaching Me With The Laws Of Kosher?

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Zev Kraut of Pittsburgh, a ninth grade student at the Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh, has been named a Winner of the 2012 OU Kosher Essay Contest for grades 7-12.

What Is God Teaching Me With The Laws Of Kosher?

Since the moment God gave the Torah to the Jewish people, keeping kosher has been an essential part of the Jewish home. Accordingly, the home is an essential part of a Torah lifestyle. What goes on in the home directly affects what goes on in the rest of one’s life. The question is, why kosher? Surely, how one’s parents act, or what one sees on television, are infinitely more effective as an influence on one’s life than keeping kosher. So what is it about kosher that makes a spiritual connection with God? What is God trying to teach me with the laws of kosher?

The Ramban teaches that many of the animals that are not deemed kosher are predators. The reason the Ramban gives for one not being able to eat certain animals is so that one will not absorb the qualities of those animals. For example, a pig rolls around in the mud, which is a filthy characteristic. The Torah gives many commandments telling Jews what should not come out of their mouths. For instance: insults, mockery, slander, and curses. Additionally, keeping kosher is God’s way of telling Jews that there are also certain things that one should not absorb into them as well. Furthermore one should avoid evil influences, evil speech, and certain animals that do not meet the criteria of the character traits of a Torah observant Jew. God gave the Jewish people the Torah, and singled them out as a pure nation. Accordingly, the Jews must eat certain animals that are pure.

From where do we know that certain animals are pure and certain animals are not pure? In the Torah portion known as Noach, when Noach was commanded to put certain animals on his ark, God commanded Noach to put “pure” animals, otherwise known as kosher animals on the ark. God also commanded Noach to put “animals that are not pure” on the ark. The Talmud (Pesachim 3a) points out an oddity in the wording of this story. The Torah used an extra eight letters to voice that the animals were not pure, when instead the Torah could have written “contaminated.” According to the Talmud, the lesson the Torah is teaching, is that one must always speak with pure speech. God designed the Torah to show the Jews how to be holy and pure. The Torah is a book filled with lessons on proper conduct and how to maintain a higher spiritual level than any of the other nations of the world. As the Torah says, “…and to make you high above all nations that He has made, in praise, and in name, and in glory; and that you may be a holy people unto the Lord your God, as He has spoken.” (Devarim 26:19) There is no doubt that kosher fits into that category. When one has a pure mouth what comes out of one’s mouth reflects that. Essentially, every time one eats a bag of potato chips with an OU on it, it is a direct reminder from God to watch your mouth.

God created everything on earth with a purpose. When God created the earth He designated humans as the rulers over the land. Tehillim 115:16, states, “The heavens are the heavens of God, and the land was given to the sons of man.” For most animals we do not know their purpose on earth. Even the great King David once criticized God for creating spiders which David deemed had no purpose. In the end, the spider saved his life while he was running from King Shaul. Anyway, God designated certain animals to be given as sacrifices in the Holy Temple. For instance, cows, sheep and rams. Which means their purpose is, for whatever reason, to be slaughtered.

No need to worry for the animal though, the kosher way to slaughter an animal is the most humane. Anyone who studies the complex laws of kashrus, on how to slaughter an animal will soon realize much of it is done in order to ensure that the animal feels no pain. For instance, in order for the slaughter to be deemed kosher, the knife used for the slaughter must be smooth, free of any nicks. There is no need to be vegetarian. God created meat for us to eat. On Shabbos by eating OU Glatt Kosher meat, we are fulfilling the words of the prophet of Yeshaya who said (Yeshaya 58:13),”…call Shabbos a delight.” According to some halachic authorities, Jews have an obligation to eat meat on Shabbos and Yom Tov. According to Rabi Yehudah Ben Beseirah, in Tractate Pesachim 109a, during a time period in which the Holy Temple is standing, one is required to eat meat in order to fulfill the commandment to rejoice in a festival.

Jewish Press Special: Live Coverage of The 3rd Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, Sunday, March 25th

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

The Jewish Press will offer live coverage of the six-hour event hosted by the International Department of the Temple Institute, its Third Annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day, on Sunday, March 25th.

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern Time

10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Central

9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Mountain

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Pacific.


Speakers will include:

Moshe Feiglin, head of the Manhigut Yehudit, (Jewish Leadership) Faction of the ruling Likud party, and Temple Mount loyalist. Moshe will be focusing on the issue of Temple Mout Activism and the potential for parliamentary legislation to ensure Jewish rights to prayer on the Temple Mount.

Beloved and highly esteemed Kohen, Torah scholar and author, Rabbi Nachman Kahana. Rabbi Kahana will be sharing his spiritual insights on the Holy Temple and the Temple Mount from a Torah perspective and drawing upon his own personal connection as a kohen.

Yisrael Medad, Director of Educational Programming and Information resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, and veteran Temple Mount activist. Yisrael will be discussing the role of the media in depicting Temple Mount activism and the struggle to achieve Jewish freedom of worship on the Temple Mount, as guaranteeed by Israeli law.

Live musical entertainment provided by Yehudah Katz and his band. Yehudah and his four piece band will provide an hour long “half-time” celebration of song and Temple insight, as well as short musical vignettes throughout the happening.

Hillel Richman and Frankie Snyder, senior staff members of the Temple Mount Sifting Project will lead an archaeological exploration of the exciting Temple Mount and Holy Temple related discoveries of the past year. Personally involved with the discovery of the most significant archaeological finds from the Temple Mount to date, Hillel and Frankie will be sharing their insights and experiences.

Tziporra Piltz, guide and organizer of women’s ascent to the Temple Mount. Tziporra, a pioneer and leader of the burgeoning presence of women on the Temple Mount, will be sharing her unique perspectives on the Temple Mount and on the future of Temple Mount aliya.

Rabbi Mois Navon, from Ptil Tekhelet organization, manufacturers of the biblical blue techelet dye, used in tzitziyot, (ritual fringes), and priestly garments. Mois will be decribing the colorful history of techelet from antiquity to the contemporary reestablishment of the venerated techelet industry.

Embracing The Temple Mount

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

The study of Jewish history teaches us that throughout the ages, numerous edicts and decrees have prevented the practice of Jewish traditions and religious observance.

The Romans curtailed Jewish worship in the Land of Israel and ultimately destroyed the Holy Temple; the Greeks sought to outlaw the learning of Torah, and throughout the Middle Ages, Jewish rights and freedoms were revoked at will by Europe’s Christian rulers.

Yet it has gone almost completely unnoticed that in recent weeks, Jewish rights and freedoms in the Land of Israel, of all places, have once again come under attack.

A statement issued by the religious authorities called for Jews to refrain from visiting their holiest site – the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Shockingly, these were not the orders of the Islamic imams, nor were they the politically driven legislation of some official at the United Nations.

These instructions emanated from the chief rabbis of Israel, and several other rabbinical figures.

It is a sad reality that the laws of the Holy Temple and their practical study remain greatly misunderstood, neglected, and practically taboo, even within the study halls of many religious Jewish communities.

Over a third of the Torah’s commandments, and one and a half of the Five Books of Moses, deal exclusively with the Holy Temple and its daily service, yet this crucial artery in the heart of Torah learning is sidelined by those who, for whatever reason, see these laws as irrelevant or not for our time.

Indeed, the impression created by the proclamation of this “prohibition” is that the Torah is against Jews ascending to the Temple Mount.

Nothing can be farther from the truth. No less a universally recognized Torah authority than Maimonides himself declared visiting the Temple Mount as an aspect of the positive commandment to show reverence for the Temple – a commandment he himself fulfilled, as he wrote:

I entered into the great and holy house and prayed there on the sixth of Cheshvan (in the year 1164)…and I vowed an oath, that I will always celebrate this day as a personal festival, to be marked by prayer and rejoicing in God, and by a festive meal.

This is just one of many sources that indicate a long tradition of Jewish visits to the mount, long after the destruction of the Holy Temple and long before Jews were ever seen praying at the Western Wall.

From Rabbi Akiva to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, the Torah sources are accessible – if one cares to look for them. No proclamation can change this, and no rabbi or group of rabbis, regardless of station, have the authority to uproot such a principle.

It is true that ascending the Temple Mount in purity, in full accordance with halacha, requires understanding, forethought and preparation – but it is quite doable. With proper study and proper preparations one can visit this holy site in order to fulfill the commandment of morah mikdash without trespassing on the sacred areas.

Like other matters of complex Torah knowledge, the subject of the Temple Mount is an area in which one must have expertise before issuing a judgment.

To issue a blanket statement that a prohibition exists against Jews visiting the Temple Mount is misleading and inaccurate, and does a serious injustice to the many religious Jews – great rabbis and roshei yeshiva among them – who ascend the Mount today in strict accordance with all the requirements of Jewish law.

The Temple Institute, established over 25 years ago, has long stood at the forefront of Temple research and scholarship. The institute is dedicated to rekindling the flame of the knowledge and awareness of the centrality and importance of the both the Temple Mount and the Holy Temple, in the life of the Jewish people as well as for all humanity.

The institute has recreated more than sixty genuine sacred vessels, kosher according to Jewish law, for use in the Holy Temple. These include the half-ton gold menorah and the garments of the high priest according to precise halachic requirements. All of this has been undertaken because it is a religious requirement, just like eating matzah on Passover.

This Sunday, March 25, thousands of supporters worldwide will join with the Temple Institute to mark the third annual International Temple Mount Awareness Day with a six hour live-stream Internet video broadcast celebrating and exploring the centrality of the Temple in Jewish life.

After two thousand years of longing to return to the holy site, surely it is time to embrace it.

Rabbi Chaim Richman is director of the International Department of the Temple Institute.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/embracing-the-temple-mount/2012/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: