Hareidi children dance at the Kotel in the Old City of Jerusalem on September 18, 2016.Photo of the Day
Posts Tagged ‘Kotel’
Sephardic Jews start saying Selichot a month before Rosh Hashana.
Here is what Selichot looked like at the Kotel in 2013.Video of the Day
Somehow, a cat found itself stuck in the Kotel wall.
Using Jewish ingenuity, along with some tables, chairs and shtenders, prayer-goers helped the cat get down.
Jewish Press News Briefs
On Tuesday morning, Arab rioters on the Temple Mount who presumably found no more Jews or police to attack up there, began throwing stones down at the Jews who were engaged in their morning prayer before the Western Wall. One woman, age 73, was injured lightly and was rushed to Hadassah Ein Karem hospital. (Update: The woman was released from the hospital late Tuesday afternoon).
Once again this week Israel has taught the Arab rioters on the Temple Mount that crime pays, and violent crime pays double. Following two days of violent riots on the sacred grounds, during which Arab youths threw stones and fireworks at security forces, police on Tuesday morning banned the entrance of Jewish and all other non-Muslim visitors, which is what the violent mob was demanding in the first place.
The announcement about the banning of Jews came before the Arabs started throwing rocks down on Jewish worshipers by the Kotel.
The Arabs argued that there had been a status quo according to which on the final ten days of the month of Ramadan no non-Muslim was allowed to set foot on the ground where a scene from dream of the prophet Mohammad took place back in the seventh century (he never actually set foot there).
For two days straight, Arab rioters barricaded themselves inside the Al Aqsa mosque, where they stored stones and fireworks, determined to interrupt the peaceful routine of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. As soon as the first visitors had entered, Muslim youths, some of them masked, burst out of the mosque, screaming stuff about the supremacy of Allah (He is, apparently, very big) and throwing stones at the frightened visitors and at police. Police and Border Guard pushed back the attackers, and enabled the continued visits.
Israel Police issued a communiqué Monday saying that any attempt to violate the order anywhere in Jerusalem, including in the Old City and on the Temple Mount would be handled “resolutely and firmly,” in order to maintain the status quo allowing members of all religions to be on the Temple Mount. “Jerusalem Police will use all the tools at its disposal to arrest the rioters and to prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”
Nekhtike Tug, goes the Yiddish adage, meaning, roughly, go find the stuff you lost yesterday, or, basically, it wasn’t happening. Because overnight Monday, according to an Israel Radio report, there were talks between the Netanyahu government and the Jordanians, whose Waqf association is the de facto ruler of the sacred compound, and a decision was made to bow to the will of the thugs one more time.
Let it be a lesson to them.
You, dear readers, must forgive me for asking this question, but: Have we Jews gone mad? Kotel mad? Have we lost it? Are we Jews, who represent the best brains in the world, incapable of solving a minor – albeit pressing – problem in our long history of unprecedented upheavals and unparalleled challenges?
Yes, I know that no one will take my suggestion seriously, but since we seem to have not yet regained our sanity, I offer it nevertheless:
We must free the Kotel of all denominations and abolish all synagogue services at the site, including bar and bat mitzvah celebrations. We must remove all sifrei Torah,tefillin and tallitot and restore the Kotel to its former state: A place where all are welcome and where not even the most lenient halacha can be violated. Where there are no mechitzot (partitions) and other sources of ideological or physical conflict. A place used solely for individual prayer and meditation, just as our ancestors treated it throughout our long history.
The Kotel is not a synagogue. It never was a synagogue and should never become one. It is a place where we Jews can meet, pray and share what we have in common instead of focusing on what divides us. Where we can smile at each other and laugh about ourselves, even when we vehemently disagree.
The Kotel situation is extremely explosive, and the stakes are high. It seems that we are unable to maintain enough unity to preserve even one single place in the entire world where we can come together without any party lines.
We run the risk of allowing our disagreements to spiral out of control and harm all of Israel, far beyond what we could have imagined. And once that happens, no government will be able to put its foot down, not even if forced to bring security personnel to defend us against ourselves.
It is precisely because we all view the Kotel as a place of such infinite holiness, that these clashes can result in almost irreparable damage and impurity.
The greater its sanctity, the deeper it can fall into an abyss. It can easily turn into a place of such desecration of God’s name that once it does, all of us will hide our faces in shame and ask ourselves how this could ever have happened to us.
It won’t take long before the nations of the world will be utterly disgusted at the sight of a people that represents the Bible and its unprecedented moral and religious values; a 4,000-year-old nation that has outlived the Egyptians, the Romans, the Greeks and the Babylonians; a nation that managed to survive the greatest atrocity ever committed in human history only a few decades ago; and that has now fallen so low that its people are fighting each other at the holiest place in the world. They will think we have gone mad. And right they will be!
The Kotel is the only place in the world where there is no clock, no earlier or later. It is the one site that has never been abandoned by the Jews throughout our long history; the place for which we prayed for thousands of years, and at which we mourn every year. It is a wall that no Babylonian, Greek or Persian was able to destroy; a place for which, throughout millennia, we have broken millions of glasses at our children’s weddings, and for which our soldiers have sacrificed their lives. It is a wall soaked with the frozen tears of millions of Jews – women, men and children.
And now we are destroying it with our own hands, robbing it of its holiness and eternity. We are desecrating the tears embedded in its stones, and violating the memory of our soldiers who bravely fought so that we can present ourselves before God at the holiest place in the world. We will be left with only a wall drowned in fights and power struggles that hide behind questionable religious laws, secular agendas and huge egos.
Is this what we returned to our ancestors’ land for, after 2000 years? Is it for this that millions of prayers were sent to Heaven, collected by God, and ultimately answered in ways we dared not imagine but which actually materialized in our own days?
Here, then, is my humble request to all fighting parties: Leave the Kotel alone and stop this madness. Go and fight somewhere else.
And though I realize that my suggestion will probably not be taken seriously by many of you, the day may likely come when you will regret it.
And if you will not, perhaps it is preferable that the government close down the Kotel entirely and wait until we Jews regain our sanity, and can sit together to discuss its future in a civilized manner.
When that takes place, God will wink at us approvingly because we will have finally grown up, and we will wink at God since we will have realized how foolish we had behaved.
Perhaps then the Mashiach will come. But not a second earlier. Until now, we have blocked his entrance to the gates of the Kotel.