Posts Tagged ‘Kotel’
Yesterday, I witnessed a miracle and I want to share it with you.
Before I tell you about yesterday’s miracle, I want to give you a little background. 23 years ago, I enlisted into the IDF as a Lone soldier. I still remember the chills I felt the first time I put on my IDF uniform. Those chills were caused by 1% excitement and 99% was due to some kind of subconscious flash of 2000 years of history and me, the Jew, in Israel, in an IDF uniform. WOW!
I remember thinking about my grandparents on my father’s side who jumped every time a glass broke because they were scarred for life from Christalnacht or my grandma from Ima’s side who survived Auschwitz 70 years ago with no certainty about the future and then thinking, here I am, their grandson, in a Jewish country that has been miraculously revived after 2,000 years, in an IDF uniform ready to protect the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland Israel.
Can you feel the chills?
Tonight my family was at the Western Wall in Jerusalem along with tens of thousands of mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends. We stood at a wall that for two millennia stood empty waiting for us to come home. A wall that stood as a memorial to a golden age of a Jewish Jerusalem that was burned to the ground. A wall that stood silent as we were expelled from one country to another, burned, gassed, shot and beaten as we cried for 2,000 years from homesickness. A wall that has known many bitter tears for way too many years. Tonight as I witnessed my extended family (tens of thousands of them) crying as their sons stood proudly dressed in IDF uniforms at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. I realized, the tears are no longer tears of pain and suffering, these tears are tears of pride and joy.
Considering there was a time, not so long ago, that Jerusalem was limited to a word in our daily prayers and the idea of the Jewish nation returning to the Land of Israel was considered biblical fantasy, tonight’s sight was miraculous.
To think that not so long ago, we were the subjects of a final solution where our extinction was the goal and our nation was almost systematically destroyed. It’s hard to believe on a national, historical and religious level that I am here watching my nephew, who is standing proud wearing the IDF uniform, with a gun in one hand and our Tanach in the other and swearing that he will do his best to make sure NEVER AGAIN!.
As I looked around and witnessed the tens of thousands of Jews, who gathered from all 4 corners of the Earth and are here, now, standing in Jerusalem, at the Western Wall, across from the Temple Mount, watching their sons being sworn in as IDF Paratroopers to defend the Jewish State of Israel, I realized I was witnessing a modern day miracle!
שהחיינו וקיימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה! Good luck Eli Fuld and Mazal Tov to Moshe and Deborah Fuld
If you want to help some IDF soldiers you can do do at these links:
For a newly appointed Member of Knesset, American-born Yehuda Glick (Likud) is not exactly keeping his head down in the back benches. Since before his swearing-in, Glick has been engaged in a seemingly endless monologue, over his Facebook page and through the media, about his belief system and political agenda, which—to everyone’s surprise—is much more liberal and centrist than one would have expected from a “rightwing extremist,” the tag the media had tied to his big toe.
So he started posting very mainstream, rational, even slightly left-leaning messages, including his shock at the behavior of that IDF soldier who shot and killed a terrorist who was already lying on the ground. That statement made him some favorable headlines, and soon enough he became a kind of pet-rightwinger, sharing his views on everything to the amusement of the readers everywhere.
Yehuda Glick is a serious man, despite his disheveled red hair and rumpled suits. He has been a consistent voice in favor of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and almost paid for it with his life when an Arab terrorist tried to assassinate him at point-blank. But he should probably be more careful when he gives interviews to, say Ha’aretz, spewing what sounds like radical observations without the benefit of historic or scholarly context. It’s difficult to overestimate the ignorance of the average Israeli leftwing reader of traditional Jewish sources, and so one probably should refrain from making the following observation:
“The Kotel is important to me just like the whole Old City is important to me,” Glick told Ha’aretz on Tuesday. “There’s no difference between the Western Wall and the eastern wall, the southern and northern walls. The Kotel is important to me because millions of Jews raise their eyes to it. But the Temple Mount is the only holy site. The Kotel doesn’t have that. It is a heaven and earth kind of difference. It’s like your parking garage is important to you, but you won’t compare your parking garage to your bedroom. So I’m not comparing the Kotel to a parking garage, but it does not have the same holiness as the Temple Mount.”
The fact is, Glick is absolutely right. The Temple Mount is where two Jewish temples have stood, while the Kotel was a supporting wall built by King Herod around the year zero, during the renovations of the Temple. As someone who shares Glick’s love for the Temple Mount, I understand his frustration when he looks down on the multitudes gathered like working ants by the Kotel, when all they have to do is walk up twenty yards and with their sheer numbers break through the police barricades, the Arab threats, everything, and stand in an earth-changing Amidah prayer where it counts.
I would venture that very few of Glick’s readers in Ha’aretz Tuesday understood that this is what he meant. Because this is what he said further on in the interview: “This is a place that causes harm, because people think it’s a holy place, and they think it’s a substitute for the Temple Mount. People come to the Kotel and feel they’ve reached the summit. It’s not a summit, it’s nothing. People are enjoying the substitute, which in my eyes is a desecration of God.”
Again, Glick is not so far from the truth, although he does step on the toes of literally millions of good Jews who have flocked to the Kotel over the centuries, and especially since 1967. And next, to the delight of the left, Glick outright condemns good Jews who pray at the Kotel:
“God said that He chose one place and people come and say, ‘that’s not true, we decided You picked a different place.’ It’s almost tantamount to the sin of the gold calf, when the whole nation said, ‘This is your god, Israel.’ It’s a huge desecration of God. … It’s almost similar to if the Zionists had gone to Uganda despite the fact that God said the Land of Israel.”
And so, in three paragraphs, MK Yehuda Glick removed his covers of a liberal democrat, protector of fallen terrorists and lover of every person, and revealed the raging fundamentalist within, unable to contain his ire at the multitudes who just won’t listen.
The fact is, Yehuda Glick is not that kind of a fundamentalist, although he is willful and persistent. He is kind and sweet, and probably the best representative the lovers of the Temple Mount have found in many years. Former MK Moshe Feiglin was also a persistent advocate for Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, but his style is too precise and restrained to appeal to the masses the way Glick has been doing.
Glick should beware, though, of his newly acquired power, and avoid delivering to the unschooled messages they cannot truly comprehend. By telling the Ha’aretz readers that the Kotel is just like the gold calf (he said no such thing, but I’ll bet you, that’s what they took away) he did not advance the cause of Jewish redemption. Let’s hope he didn’t harm it much.David Israel
Adar 1948: Three letters recently uncovered from the besieged Old City of Jerusalem, written a month before the British left and two months before it fell into the hands of Jordan, betray the desperation of the residents and their leaders.
The letters include one of the last letters signed by the Chief Rabbi of the Western Wall, known in Hebrew as the Kotel, who insisted on returning to the besieged city and was killed two months after signing the letter.
The three letters were written in the month of Adar 1948, 68 years ago, by the besieged people of the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, were recently discovered by an unidentified individual in Jerusalem.*
The letters reveal another piece of the harsh reality in the besieged city, the internal arguments between its civilians and the efforts to save the Jewish way of life during the inferno. One of the letters is signed by Rabbi Yitzchak Avigdor Orenstein, the Kotel’s first and legendary Chief Rabbi, two months before he perished during the shelling of the Old City.
In the letter – signed also by Rabbis Yisrael Zeev Mintzberg, community rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish Quarter, Shalom Azoulay, Dayan of the Westerners community, and Benzion Chazan, founder of the renowned “Porat Yosef” Yeshiva – the four send a distress call to Israel’s Chief Rabbi at the time, Yitzhak Herzog.
“Have mercy on the men, women, and children, and take drastic measures where needed elsewhere, so we won’t perish, God forbid.”
The four describe the difficult situation in the Old City after the shelling by the British soldiers.
“The lives of the Old city residents are in a grave danger. During the last few nights British troops shelled the Jewish Quarter, harming the sanctity of the synagogue,” they write, adding, “The night of Thursday and the night of Motzei Shabbat, were nothing short of a nightmare for us, we thought that we would all perish, God forbid, but thanks to the mercy of Hashem, no casualties occurred… the awful bombing was imposed on us by the British soldiers, without any reason or cause.
“This morning we woke up agreeing unanimously to leave the property behind and save our lives, escape the Old City and the life of nightmare. Nevertheless, after we partially recovered, we called the residents of the city for help in taking counsel and decided to appeal to his Excellency with the broadcast above “.
Rabbi Orenstein, who was appointed Chief Rabbi of the Kotel in 1930, insisted on returning to the Old City when the siege began, even though he was then visiting the new city.
Through special efforts done by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi and Rabbi Herzog, Rabbi Orenstein was able to enter the Old City. When asked why he was endangering himself, Rabbi Orenstein replied that “If someone is destined to sacrifice himself for the sake of the sanctity of ancient Jerusalem and its holy places, I am hereby committed to it more than anyone else.”
Rabbi Orenstein was killed along with his wife, Rebbetzin Mushka Liebe, during the shelling of Iyar 14th, about two months after signing the letter above. He was buried in a mass grave that he himself approved to set up within the Old City limits.
Alongside this letter, the collection holds another letter written the next day, by the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community, Rabbi Mintzberg, who also addressed Chief Rabbi Herzog. In his letter, Rabbi Mintzberg describes once more the difficult situation in the quarter. “I am to inform him that after the past Sunday of Parashat Shemini (about a week before writing this letter), a bitter day for the residents of the holy city, the soldiers were raging once more, shooting the residents. In yards and homes before midnight Friday night and yesterday Motza’ei Shabbat for several hours continuously, they fired shells and mortars and destroyed several homes.”
This time, the Rabbi of the Ashkenazi community is asking the chief rabbi to intervene, in order to bring peace between the president of the Old City’s Jewish community, Mordechai Weingarten, and the ‘Haganah’ military organization. The story behind this request involves the tension between Weingarten and the ‘Haganah’, following the latter’s takeover of the Jewish Agency’s food distribution to the Jews of the Old City, which had rested with Weingarten until that point.
The letter also mentions the need to reconcile further arguments about the discussion on the possible courses of action in the besieged city. Tensions reached a peak a month before writing the letter at hand, when commander of the Haganah’s Jerusalem unit, Avraham Halperin, was arrested in the Old City.
“Another thing I believe might affect… the heads of our government will give an order to members of the ‘Haganah’ to cooperate with Weingarten, since he is known to have relations with the government in favor of the Old City, and the cooperation will bring great benefit for the Protection of the Old City and alleviate the population’s suffering,” writes Rabbi Mintzberg to Chief Rabbi Herzog.
Another letter in the collection was sent four days later to the Religious Council in Jerusalem, by a representative group of 25 young members of the ‘Beitar’ organization, who had established a company of their own alongside the ‘Haganah’s.
According to the author of the letter, the company consists of “Young and international” olim (immigrants) from various countries including: Poland, Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria, and Harbin (at that time under the control of the Soviet Union and today a part of China). In the letter, the group seeks assistance for the upcoming Passover. “We are forced to turn to you with a request of utmost importance. Passover is approaching and we are unable to satisfy all the national-religious Halachas of this holiday, such as matzo and the use of special kitchen utensils. ”
A month after the three letters were written, on May 13th, the British troops left the Old City. Three days later, the Arab counter-offensive commenced and the conquest of ‘Haganah’ positions in the city. Four days later came the Jordanian forces.
Two weeks after the departure of the British, on May 28th, the Old City was captured by the Jordanian forces.
(*Ed. Note: Kedem Auction House is handling the sale of the letters. A spokesperson told JewishPress.com the seller requested anonymity and added this is also part of its confidentiality policy, as it is with other auction houses, for varying reasons.)Hana Levi Julian
As the JewishPress.com reported earlier, just about at the close of Shabbat in Israel, two Arab terrorists stabbed a 17-year-old Israeli as he and a friend were leaving the Kotel after evening prayers.
It is now known that the Israeli victim was a student at Magen Shaul Nokdim, a pre-army mechina, and had become an Israeli citizen just one month ago. The young man was listed in fair to good condition when he was taken to Hadassah Medical Center’s Mount Scopus campus.
The victim’s name had not yet been released as his family, back in Brooklyn, were still observing Shabbat.
The 17-year-old said that despite having been the victim of a terrorist stabbing, he would not be deterred from his plan to join the IDF.
According to Walla, the stabbing victim was able to speak about the attack from his medical bed: “I did not see him [the stabber], he came from behind and stabbed. There were two stabbers, they were young.”
He also said that that he was unafraid, and that “now I’m enlisting in the army and I will give everything.” He hopes to join an elite unit in the Israeli Defense Forces. “God willing, I want to join the Sayeret Matkal,” he said.
As reported earlier, two Arab teenagers, both minors, have been taken into custody for interrogation relating to this terrorist attack.Lori Lowenthal Marcus