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September 2, 2015 / 18 Elul, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Second Temple’

Old Meets New

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Back in July, while building two nursery schools in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Arnona, the construction team found a cave.

The Israel Antiquities Authority just announced that inside the cave archaeologists found a wine press, benches and a 2000 year-old mikvah (Jewish ritual bath) from the Second Temple period.

But what was more interesting, was that on the walls of the Mikvah they found writing in Hebrew and Aramaic as well as paintings and inscriptions on the walls. All unusual for Mikvahs of that period, but even more unusual was the amount of writing and painting that were found there in one location.

Painting and inscriptions found on the wall of a 2000-year-old mikveh in Jerusalem.

Painting and inscriptions found on the wall of a 2000-year-old mikveh in Jerusalem.

Ancient Cave Mikveh found in Jerusalem

THe IAA plans to make the painting and inscriptions available for viewing in the future.

‘Jewish Holy Temples Never Existed’ Says Israeli Arab MK

Monday, July 27th, 2015

On the anniversary of the destruction of the two Jewish Holy Temples in Jerusalem, Tisha B’Av, an Israeli Arab lawmaker insisted in a radio interview that neither ever existed.

Joint Arab List (Ra’am Tal) Knesset member Masoud Ganaim made the statement during an interview Sunday (July 26) on Galei Tzahal Army Radio. Ganaim was asked – as was Jewish lawmaker Yinon Magal from the Bayit Yehudi party — about violent riots that were being perpetrated by Muslim Arabs in the Al Aqsa mosque on the site of the Temple Mount. The rioting Arabs hurled rocks, cement blocks, firebombs and other explosives at Israel Police and even Waqf Islamic Authority security personnel from inside the mosque.

When asked about the violence, Ganaim said that the rock-throwing was not the problem: the real issue, he said, was the “incitement” caused by Jews wanting to pray at the site, considered the holiest in the Jewish faith.

Ganaim also said during the conversation that no Jewish Temples ever existed on the Temple Mount – and that he knows this for a fact because he is a history teacher.

“The State of Israel knows that Jews and Israel have no legitimacy to the site except for their legitimacy as an occupier – a legitimacy won by force,” he said. The MK blamed Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) in particular for visiting the site on Tisha B’Av, calling the minister an “occupier” and his visit “incitement.”

Magal responded that a system of reverse “apartheid” exists on the Temple Mount – against Jews – and that despite the sanctity of the site in Judaism … a Jew who wants to make a blessing over an apple he is preparing to eat will be arrested for “incitement.” At the same time, police do nothing to Arabs seen screaming or hurling rocks at visiting Jews.

“The site has always been holy to Islam,” Ganaim repeated, “never to any other religion.”

Was there ever a Jewish Temple on the site? the interviewer asked directly.

Ganaim flatly denied it, and followed up by saying he knew that to be true because he personally is a history teacher. “At most,” there “may have been” a temple “somewhere else,” he allowed, but noted that Jewish scriptures only refer to a future Temple in Jerusalem descending from Heaven.

Jews need to wait until that happens before attempting to visit the Temple Mount, Ganaim advised.

The Western Wall, located at the edge of the Temple Mount, is the remnant of outer retaining wall of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem, a fact confirmed numerous times by reputable archaeologists. The Second Temple was built upon the ruins of the First Temple.

There also exist an abundance of archaeological artifacts documenting a Second Temple presence on the Temple Mount itself as well, believed to have been the site of the Temple’s “holy of holies.” There are special laws delineated in the Torah as to when and how a Jew must be prepared in order to approach the site.

The future Temple of which Ganaim spoke is the Third Holy Temple which Jews await and which is expected to appear with the arrival of Moshiach Tzidkenu, the Messiah, who it is said will be born on Tisha B’Av.

May we all merit to see both speedily in our lifetimes.

Archaeologists Discover that Ancient Dead Sea Scroll Is Chapter of Leviticus

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Archaeologists have learned a pleasant surprise: One of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that never has been understood turns out to be a 1,500-year-old copy of the beginning of the Book of Leviticus (VaYikra).

Modern technologies made it possible for the first time to read the contents of the burnt scroll that was found 45 years ago inside the Holy Ark of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi excavations, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

This is the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue, particularly inside a Holy Ark.

The extraordinary find, presented at a press conference Monday, was the conclusion of efforts during the last year that brought the Biblical verses back to life after state of the art and advanced technologies preserved and documented the Dead Sea scrolls.

The scroll of the first chapter of Leviticus, was written in Hebrew and was dated by Carbon 14 analysis to the late sixth–century CE, making it the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century BCE-first century CE).

The Israel Antiquities Authority Israel’s Merkel Technologies Company last year cooperated to perform high-resolution 3-D scanning of some Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and phylactery (tefillin) cases by means of a Micro-CT scanner.

The fragment of the Ein Gedi scroll was scanned along with the phylacteries and phylactery cases. The Israel Antiquities Authority then sent the outcome of these scans to University of Kentucky Professor Brent Seales, who developed digital imaging software that allows to virtually unroll the scroll and visualize the text.

This enabled the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus to suddenly became legible:

The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying:

Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

If the offering is a burnt-offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you.

The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt-offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts.

The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 1:1-8).

Dr. Sefi Porath, who discovered the scroll in the 1970 Ein Gedi excavations, said, “The deciphering of the scroll, which was a puzzle for us for 45 years, is very exciting. Ein Gedi was a Jewish village in the Byzantine period (fourth–seventh century CE) and had a synagogue with an exquisite mosaic floor and a Holy Ark.

“The settlement was completely burnt to the ground, and none of its inhabitants ever returned to reside there again, or to pick through the ruins in order to salvage valuable property. In the archaeological excavations of the burnt synagogue, we found in addition to the charred scroll fragments, a bronze seven-branched candelabrum (menorah), the community’s money box containing c. 3,500 coins, glass and ceramic oil lamps, and vessels that held perfume.

“We have no information regarding the cause of the fire, but speculation about the destruction ranges from Bedouin raiders from the region east of the Dead Sea to conflicts with the Byzantine government.”

Shas MK Begins ‘Three Week’s with ‘Senseless Hate’ against Reform Jews

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

 

Minister for Religious Affairs, Shas Knesset Member David Azoulay, ridiculed approximately 2 million Jews Tuesday with the incredible statement, “A Reform Jew, from the moment he does not follow Jewish law…. I cannot allow myself to say that he is a Jew.”

His vile libel comes on the heels of the Netanyahu government’s rollback of religious reforms passed in the previous administration and which broke the gridlock that the Hareidi establishment has held over the conversion process and the approval for private and public eating facilities to be certified as kosher.

There are tens of thousands of Reform Jews who indeed are not Jews according to Jewish law because of  intermarriage. Jewish law states that if the mother is Jewish, so is the child.

But for the time being, most Reform Jews in the United States and elsewhere are Jews by birth, regardless of whether they follow Jewish law.

MK Azoulay’s rant comes during the first week of the “three weeks” of a semi-state of mourning over the destruction of the First and Second Temples on the Ninth of Av, which is observed at the end of the period.

Every year, rabbis preach that the sages teach that the Second Temple fell because of “senseless hate” among Jews,” and that every Jew today must express unlimited love.

And how does the Shas MK express his love? He told Army Radio today he cannot call them “Jews” and added:

These [Reform] Jews took the wrong path, and we need to make sure that every Jew returns to the lap of Judaism and [we need] to receive everyone with love and joy.To my sorrow, most of the Reform Jews in the Diaspora have erred. They are like babies who are hostages, and we want to make sure that every Jew will return  to Judaism according to Jewish law.

The most infuriating part of MK Azoulai’s remarks, worse than refusing to recognize Reform Jews as Jews, is his arrogant pretense that “we need to receive them with love and joy.”

The Hareidi establishment, of which the Shas Sephardi party is a major leader, does everything in its power to turn Jews off from Judaism.

Reform Judaism is not Judaism, and Reform rabbis are not rabbis, no more than alternative medicine is “medicine” and their practitioners are “doctors,” but to publicly say – or even privately think – that they are not Jews is nothing less than a blood libel.

Reform Jews never will be accepted with “love and joy” by the Israeli Hareidi establishment no more than MK Azoulay will accept national religious Jews with “love and joy.”

No matter how much Talmud we learn, and no matter how often we say the same prayers that Hareidim say – except for the addition of the Prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF that are absent from almost all Israeli Hareidi prayer books – it is not good enough for the their establishment.

Unlike the Agudah Hareidi movement in the United States, which practices “kiruv” – reaching out to non-Orthodox Jews to bring them closer to Judaism – the Hareidi  leaders in Israel are interested in power. They don’t accept others who do not dress like them, obey them like robots and contribute to their yeshivas.

There was an unconfirmed claim by the Women of the Wall yesterday that guards stopped a woman at The Western Wall because she was wearing a kippah.

The guards allegedly asked the woman to go with them to the police station, a request she refused.

Instead, she was escorted to a taxi stand outside the Western Wall Plaza.

Freedom of Worship on Temple Mount: Gazan Arabs, 190; Jews, 0

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

The score was 190-0 for freedom of worship for Arabs from Gaza and zero for Jews on Friday.

Israel allowed nearly 200 Gazans, all over the age of 60, to pray at the mosque on the Temple Mount, eight months after 500 Arabs from Gaza prayed there for the first time since 2007, according to the Ma’an News Agency, based in Bethlehem.

The last time Israel allowed Jews to pray regularly at the Temple Mount was nearly 2,000 years ago, during the time of the Second Temple, which a growing number of Muslim clerics like to pretend never existed.

Permission for Arabs from Gaza to travel to Jerusalem and pray at the Al Aqsa mosque is part of the last year’s ceasefire between Hamas and Israel that was supposed to end the most recent barrage of missile attacks on Israel.

Hamas again broke the ceasefire on Saturday with rocket launches against Israel but blamed them on rival terrorist groups.

Israel continues to honor its end of the ceasefire and allows Gazans to pray at the Temple Mount mosque, where Hamas banners and even Islamic State (ISIS) banners frequently fly amid sermons that preach jihad against Jews, all in the name of freedom of worship, if you are not Jewish.

 

Fragment of 1,700-Year-Old Menorah-Adorned Bracelet Discovered on Hanukkah

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

The Israel Antiquities Authority has uncovered during Hanukkah a fragment of a 1,600-year-old glass bracelet, adorned with  motifs of the seven-branched menorah used in the Holy Temples.

The discovery at Mount Carmel National Park was made in an excavation prior to the construction of a water reservoir for the city of Yokniyam, east of Haifa.

An industrial region and refuse pits found during the excavation were part of a large settlement that existed in the Late Roman and Early Byzantine periods, end of the 4th century to the beginning of the 5th century.

Limor Talmi and Dan Kirzner, excavation directors on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said,  “Last Thursday, at the end of the excavation, we began the initial processing of the finds.

“While examining the contents of one of the boxes which contained hundreds of glass fragments that had been discarded in the refuse pit, we found to our surprise a small fragment of a bracelet. Naturally it was extremely dirty, but still, you could see it was decorated.

“After cleaning, we were excited to discover that the bracelet, which is made of turquoise colored glass, is decorated with symbols of the seven-branched menorah – the same menorah which according to tradition was kept alight in the Temple for eight days by means of a single cruse of oil.”

The researchers said, “It seems that the bracelet was embossed with the decoration while the glass was still hot. Stamped impressions of two menorot survived on the small fragment that was found – one a plain seven-branched menorah, of which only the surface of the menorah is visible and the other one consisting of a seven-branched menorah with flames depicted above its branches.”

According to Yael Gorin-Rosen, head of the Ancient Glass Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “Bracelets and pendants made of glass that are decorated with symbols of a menorah or lion or different images of gods and animals, are known during these periods in Israel, Lebanon and Syria. So far, three fragments of bracelets with menorah decorations have been discovered in archaeological excavations in the country: in an excavation at Bab el-Hawa in the northern Golan Heights, at Banias, and another bracelet that was discovered years ago in the excavations at Shiqmona, Haifa.

The Shiqmona bracelet is also adorned with an image of a menorah that has flames above it.” Rosen-Gorin added, “Jewelry such as this was found in excavations, usually in the context of funerary offerings. It is unusual to find such objects in settlement strata, and even rarer to discover them in an ancient refuse pit.”

“The question now is – Is this definite proof that Jews lived in the ancient settlement?” according to the researchers.

But it is also possible that Samaritans resided there or a pagan or Christian population.

Another hypothesis suggests that the bracelet comes from a workshop operating in the area and was intended for other markets. This possibility is based on other glass debris that was exposed in the refuse pit, among them beads and bracelets. Glass jewelry was used extensively in the Late Roman period.

It  can reasonably be assumes that “those items that were specially decorated were more expensive than the plain unornamented ones,” the IAA experts added. “The refuse that was discovered in the pit included numerous glass vessels and fragments of glass window panes, as well as a selection of jewelry, indicating of a population that lived a life of comfort and affluence. Conceivably, the large industrial area that was located there supported the residents of the nearby settlement.”

Rare 2,000 Yr Old Monument to Emperor Hadrian Found in Jerusalem

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

A rare find of tremendous historical significance has been discovered in Jerusalem: a fragment of a stone engraved with an official Latin inscription dedicated to the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

Researchers say this is among the most important Latin inscriptions ever discovered in Jerusalem.

The fate of Jerusalem following the destruction of the Second Temple (70 CE) and prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136 CE) is one of the major issues in the history of the city and in terms of the Jewish people’s connection to it.

In the past year, the Israel Antiquities Authority has carried out salvage excavations in several areas north of the Damascus Gate to the Old City of Jerusalem. It was in one of those areas that the stone fragment bearing an official Latin inscription from the Roman period was discovered.

According to IAA excavation directors Dr. Rina Avner and Roie Greenwald,  “We found the inscription incorporated in secondary use around the opening of a deep cistern.

“In antiquity, as today, it was customary to recycle building materials and the official inscription was evidently removed from its original location and integrated in a floor for the practical purpose of building the cistern. Furthermore, in order to fit it with the capstone, the bottom part of the inscription was sawed round.”

Upon finding the inscription it was immediately clear to the excavators that they had uncovered an especially significant discovery, as indicated by the size and clarity of the letters.

The inscription, consisting of six lines of Latin text engraved on hard limestone, was read and translated by Avner Ecker and Hannah Cotton of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The English translation of the inscription is as follows: (1st hand)To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country (dedicated by) the 10th legion Fretensis (2nd hand) Antoniniana.

According to Ecker and Cotton, “This inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE.” Their analysis shows that the fragment of the inscription revealed by the IAA archaeologists is none other than the right half of a complete inscription, the other part of which was discovered nearby in the late nineteenth century and was published by the pre-eminent French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau. That stone is currently on display in the courtyard of Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum.

Only a small number of ancient official Latin inscriptions have been discovered in archaeological excavations throughout the country and in Jerusalem in particular.

There is no doubt that this is one of the most important of them.

The significance of the inscription stems from the fact that it specifically mentions the name and titles of Hadrian who was an extremely prominent emperor, as well as a clear date. The latter is a significant and tangible confirmation of the historical account regarding the presence of the Tenth Legion in Jerusalem during the period between the two revolts, and possibly even the location of the legion’s military camp in the city, and of one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Bar Kokhba revolt several years later and the establishment of ‘Aelia Capitolina’.

Even after 2,000 years the inscription is in an impressive state of preservation. Once the excavation findings are published, the inscription will be conserved and put on display for the public.

The events of the Bar Kokhba revolt are ascribed to the reign of the emperor Hadrian. He is remembered in Jewish history for having issued dictates imposing the persecution and forced conversions of Jews, which the sources referred to as the ‘Hadrianic decrees’.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rare-2000-yr-old-inscription-dedicated-to-emperor-hadrian-found-in-jerusalem/2014/10/21/

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