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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Solomon’s temple’

Where Did the Holy Temple Really Stand?

Monday, October 12th, 2015

(JNi.media) The following paragraph has raised the ire of many Jews and forced the NY Times to apologize and retract. It read:

“The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is whether the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was also the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.”

The Times, realizing belatedly that what the paragraph actually suggested was placing in doubt millennia of Jewish teachings, posted a retraction:

“An earlier version of this article misstated the question that many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered concerning the two ancient Jewish temples. The question is where precisely on the 37-acre Temple Mount site the temples had once stood, not whether the temples had ever existed there.”

Obviously, if you’re to the right of the Times you know they wanted to get away with delegitimizing the Jews’ claim to the Temple Mount, and if you’re left of center you don’t get what the whole brouhaha was about. The Times amended the offending paragraph to read:

“The question, which many books and scholarly treatises have never definitively answered, is where on the 37-acre site, home to Islam’s sacred Dome of the Rock shrine and Al Aqsa Mosque, was the precise location of two ancient Jewish temples, one built on the remains of the other, and both long since gone.”

The article itself points the finger of blame for all this uncertainty at the Jordanian Waqf, saying “the Waqf has never permitted invasive archaeological work that could possibly yield proof.”

“That’s where you get to the Catch-22,” Jodi Magness, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill told the Times. “The logical thing would be to dig.” But she acknowledged that “if you did that, you’d probably cause World War III to break out. It’s not even in the realm of possibility.”

Another expert, Jane Cahill, said “nobody knows exactly” where the temples once stood, although “pretty powerful circumstantial evidence” suggests they were on the site, and bewailed the fact that “because there have been no organized excavations there, and not likely to be, circumstantial evidence is probably all we’re going to have.”

Any discussion of the geography of the Temple Mount begins and ends with Even Hashetiah, the Foundation Stone, whose location marks the precise site of the Holy of Holies. The Mishna Yoma (5:2), dealing with the labors of the High Priest in the Temple on Yom Kippur reads:

“After the Ark had been taken away, there was a stone from the days of the earlier prophets (Samuel, David and Solomon), called the Hashetiah (the word means foundation, as in the foundation of the world), three fingers above the ground, on which he (the High Priest) would place [the pan of burning coals]. He would take the blood from [the priest] who was stirring it, and enter [again] into the place where he had entered (the Holy of Holies), and stand [again] on the place on which he had stood (between the two staves), and sprinkle (the sacrificial blood).”

In simple terms: the Mishna offers testimony that during the First Temple, aka Solomon’s Temple, which was sanctioned in 832 BCE and destroyed in 587 BCE, the Holy Ark, complete with the Ten Commandments, stood on the Foundation Stone. Then, in the time of the second Temple, between 516 BCE and 70 CE, with the Ark gone, the High Priest used the same Foundation Stone as a resting place for his pan of burning coals for the sacred incense.

The golden Dome of the Rock, located at the very center of the Temple Mount, is, according to the vast majority of Jewish and Muslim stories, built right above the Foundation Stone. This is the spot where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac, and, according to the Zohar, the stone was brought there by our third patriarch, Jacob, on is way from Canaan to Haran.

Naturally, there are competing Muslim narratives, and the Jewish Foundation Stone doubles there as the spot from which the prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven, although there are disputes over whether this happened in reality (modern version) or in a dream (original version).

The walls around the Rock are adorned by anti-Christian statements, written in mosaic stones, expressing doubt in their dogma.

The NY Times has, actually, gone farther than many in rebuking the Muslim Waqf for forbidding an architectural examination of the Dome of the Rock. Over the years, Israeli media have reported of many attempts by the Waqf to degrade whatever archeological remnants of the former Temples have remained beneath the Dome. It could be said that the vehement response of Muslims in and out of Israel to provocative incitement regarding Jewish plans to start visiting the Temple Mount more regularly reflect deep anxieties about the true origins of the place, which must be hidden in the rubble underneath.

Trying to explain “why is the shrine so important?” AP noted Monday that while Jewish believers say that Jewish religious practice would only be complete once the Third Temple has been rebuilt, “leading rabbis, citing religious purity laws, have banned entry to the compound since Israel captured it in 1967, along with the rest of east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza,” and “Israel’s chief rabbis reaffirmed the ban in 2013,” so that “most Jews continue to worship exclusively at the adjacent Western Wall, a Temple remnant.” Of course, the Western Wall is not a remnant of Solomon’s Temple, or even Ezra and Nehemia’s Temple, but was most likely built, judging by recent findings, by King Agrippa II, Herod’s great-grandson, as a supporting wall for his grandfather’s renovated Temple, which was destroyed only a few decades later.

There is no mystery, according to Jewish sources, about the precise location of the Holy of Holies, God’s Sanctuary. It lies directly beneath the golden dome which can be seen from practically every corner of Jerusalem. The true mystery is: why are the Muslims in Jerusalem and elsewhere so anxious, to the point of starting a wave of suicidal violence and terror against Jews — when so few Jews–a mere few hundred–show an interest in the Temple Mount?

JNi.Media

Rare Inscription from King David Discovered in Jerusalem Hills

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

This article has been updated.

A rare inscription from the time of King David was discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafain the Elah Valley, southwest of Jerusalem and near Beit Shemesh.

A ceramic jar approximately 3,000 years old that was broken into numerous shards was found in 2012 in excavations. Letters written in ancient Canaanite script could be discerned on several of the shards, sparking the curiosity of researchers, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Its artifacts department glued together hundreds of pottery shards to form a whole jar and solved the riddle – the jar was incised with the inscription, ” Eshbaʽal Ben Bada.”

Professor Garfinkel and Ganor said:

This is the first time that the name Eshbaʽal has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country. Eshbaʽal Ben Shaul, who ruled over Israel at the same time as David, is known from the Bible.

It is interesting to note that the name Eshbaʽal appears in the Bible…only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE. This name was not used later in the First Temple period.

[Editor’s note: The name “Eshbaʽal” only appears in Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 1-8:34 & 1-9:39 and he is generally identified as Ish Boshet, the son of King Saul.]

They added that the correlation between the biblical tradition and the archaeological finds indicates this was a common name only during that period. “The name Bedaʽ is unique and does not occur in ancient inscriptions or in the biblical tradition,” they added.

The fact that the name Eshbaʽal was incised on a jar suggests that he was an important person, according to the researchers. He apparently was the owner of a large agricultural estate, and the produce collected there was packed and transported in jars that bore his name.

The researchers stated:

This is clear evidence of social stratification and the creation of an established economic class that occurred at the time of the formation of the Kingdom of Judah.

Khirbet Qeiyafa is identified with the biblical city Shaʽarayim. During several seasons of excavation, a fortified city, two gates, a palace and storerooms, dwellings and cultic rooms were exposed.

The city dates from the time of David – the late 11th and early centuries BCE. Unique artifacts that were previously unknown were discovered at the site.

According to Garfinkel and Ganor:

In recent years four inscriptions have been published: two from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Jerusalem and one from Bet Shemesh. This completely changes our understanding of the distribution of writing in the Kingdom of Judah, and it is now clear that writing was far more widespread than previously thought.

It seems that the organization of the kingdom required a cadre of clerks and writers and their activity is also manifested in the appearance of inscriptions.

 

Jewish Press Staff

Human Rights NGO Denounces Abbas for Incendiary Incitement

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

One of the leading pro-Israel non-governmental organizations is denouncing acting Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas for his incendiary incitement against the Jewish people’s rights to their own religious sites. That NGO is urging the U.S., the EU and interfaith leaders to join it in the denunciation before Abbas’s false claims lead to further violence.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced what it called Mahmoud Abbas’s “assault on the religious freedom of the Jewish people” for stating that Jews visiting Jerusalem’s Temple Mount are desecrating the Al Aqsa Mosque.

“Mr. Abbas sounds no different than Hamas when he labels Jews visiting the Temple Mount—Judaism’s holiest site—a ‘desecration’ and calls upon Muslims to defend the Al-Aqsa Mosque against a non-existent threat,” charged Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, founder and dean and associate Dean of the major international Jewish human rights group.

The NGO asserts that the action of the PA’s acting leader is consistent with Palestinian leadership’s efforts to deny the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Holy Land.

One example they gave was the PA’s effort to rebrand Rachel’s Tomb, which is  the burial place of the matriarch of the Jewish nation, as a mosque. Another example the SWC offered is the repeated attempts of the Palestinian Arabs to torch Joseph’s Tomb, located near Nablus, and having made it virtually impossible for Jews to worship there safely. A third example is the repeated denial by Palestinian Arab leaders that King Solomon’s Temple stood atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

The leadership of the SWC castigated the PA leadership both for trying to disassociate the Jewish connection to the Holy Land and for fomenting hatred amongst their people against the Jews by pretending that Jews are trying to destroy what the Muslims have been taught are their own religious sites.

The SWC explained Abbas’s “outrageous campaign”is a relatively new phenomenon. Historically,”Muslims often revered and protected Jewish Holy sites.” They cited a pamphlet published by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem between 1924 through 1953, “A Brief Guide to Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” an English language guide to the Temple Mount.

That pamphlet states on its opening page, referring to the Temple Mount: “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to the universal belief, on which [quoting Hebrew scripture] ‘David built there an alter unto the Lord.'”

The SWC leaders said:

We live in a time when Muslims, Christians and Jews are beheaded by a so-called Islamic State, when Christians have been ethnically cleansed from historic communities in Iraq and threatened throughout the Middle East. Israel is the only country where the religious rights of all faiths are protected and respected. Indeed, people of all faiths—including Muslims– are welcome to visit the Western Wall; Jews should be equally welcomed to visit the Temple Mount.

The SWC called on U.S. President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and other political and religious leaders to “tell President Abbas to stop the canards,” and to finally acknowledge that the Temple Mount is, indisputably, Holy to the Jewish people. Unless Abbas is confronted by those international leaders, the SWC warned, “Abbas’s lies will surely incite to violence.”

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

A New Muslim Vision: Rebuilding Solomon’s Temple Together

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

The unique importance of the Temple Mount to Judaism and to Islam makes the location vulnerable to tensions and conflicts between Jews and Muslims. Usually, these incidents originate in rumors such as: “The Jews are coming today to bomb the mosques and build their Third Temple.” Obviously, false accusations and baseless suspicions like these turn the site from a holy place of prayer and love into a site of violent political demonstrations. And, consequently, potential escalation of tension brings more restrictions and discomfort to all. Who benefits from this? Surely not the believers.

While the Israeli government ensures limited public access to the Temple Mount regardless of religious beliefs, only Muslims are allowed to pray at the place, which is known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif. Otherwise, the government has prohibited everyone except Muslims from worshipping there since 1967, due to security concerns. Nevertheless, Muslims, too, are occasionally restricted. The Jordanian Waqf which administers the site has restricted non-Muslims from entering the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque since the year 2000. What’s more, non-Muslim religious symbols are not allowed to be worn while entering the site.

Freedom of worship is an essential issue. The Temple Mount, where the First and Second Temples stood, is the holiest place to the people of Israel. However, it is no less holy to both Muslims and Christians. Since this is a location that God has announced to be a “house of prayer for all nations,” it should be a place of festivity for all believers. As all who call on the God of Abraham are brothers, Jews and Christians should be able to offer prayers there in dignity and peace along with Muslims. To cast believers out from such a place, to prevent worship there, is a heinous and, quite frankly, cruel policy, which is an offense not only to men, but to Islam. God Himself condemns anyone who forbids worship:

“And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of God, God’s name should be celebrated?-whose zeal is (in fact) to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.” (Koran 2:214)

Likewise, the Tanakh declares the will of God to make this unique spot a common sanctuary where all people learn to coexist and pray together:

“For then will I turn clear language to the Nations, that they may all call upon the name of God, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.” (Zephaniah 3:9)

Anywhere one prays to the One and Only Almighty God is a house of prayer. Therefore, it is an atrocious thing to forbid anyone from praying at the Temple Mount. The longings of Bnei Israel to pray in that place can never be an offense to a Muslim. On the contrary, it is very pleasant to see Jewish people praying at the Temple Mount. Indeed, all the faithful people should be able to pray there. As a matter of fact, in Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and others houses of worship, foreign tourists often come and pray. Some perform their religious obligations according to their own faith, and it is something quite beautiful to see.

As a devout Muslim, I take pleasure when Jews pray to Almighty God, and their praying anywhere in the world, including at the Temple Mount, would be a glad tiding for me as well.

As a devout Muslim, it would be a joy for me to see Prophet Solomon’s Temple rebuilt as well. No, you did not hear me wrong. Prophet Solomon’s Temple being rebuilt in all its magnificence and glory would be a great delight for me, as it would be to any Muslim. Under different circumstances, in an atmosphere of trust, love and brotherhood, Muslims would welcome this with enthusiasm. The Temple of Solomon is also a historically important place, and rebuilding it would be a wonderful occasion for all believers to contemplate. Every Muslim, every believer, will want to experience the spirit of those days again, and strive to bring the beauty of those days back to life. Actually, it is everyone’s aspiration for that city to be adorned, to be beautified, and to regain the magnificent glory it had in the days of the Prophet Solomon.

Solomon’s Temple being rebuilt does not entail any harm to these shrines. So I beg my Muslim brothers and sisters not to take my words in a direction that I do not intend. They should not feel unease at all, because the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock will stand until the Last Day. Nobody will be able to harm them, because they are under the protection of God.

There is a broad expanse of land around the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The land there is quite convenient in that respect, and the Temple can be placed just a little way from Qubbat As-Sakhrah, and a little ahead of Masjid el-Aqsa.

The Prophet Solomon—King Solomon as the Jews call him—is a prophet to Muslims too. All Muslims have profound love for him. Prophet Solomon had a superior understanding of beauty and aesthetics, and no doubt, rebuilding of his Temple in its original form would be a splendid undertaking. Decorated exactly as it was, with the same beautiful ornaments, covered in gold, adorned with fruit trees and beautiful gardens, and restored to its former glory, would be splendid!

It is of course very exciting to remember those beautiful days, to rebuild this beautiful compound, and let this beautiful prayer house be open to all. This very much excites me as a Muslim and excites other believers as well. The very thought of Christians, Jews and Muslims cooperating to rebuild this house of worship, together hand in hand, and worshipping there together, is a matter of joy.

Think of the waste of energy and resources consumed all over the world by the contention between Arabs and Jews, which could be used to beautify these holy places, to put them in a brilliant state, instead! There is plenty of space, and there are overwhelmingly sufficient resources for everyone to live there in peace and tranquility and enjoy their freedom of worship.

How have we allowed these unending wars, sporadic clashes, security walls, unnecessary discrimination and restrictions to bar us from being able to embrace each other as brothers? Why do we take it for granted that we are under any obligation to perpetuate these senseless conflicts? Why does everyone simply presume that this is the way things are meant to be? We all want suffering to end and peace to prevail in the region! Obviously we cannot achieve this peace as long as we lack the spirit of unity.

The Jews have the exact same vision, with the Third Temple being a center for all believers, not only for Jews:

“Also the aliens, that join themselves to God, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of God, to be His servants… Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” (Isaiah 56:6-7)

We will rebuild—not only the Temple of Solomon, but those of all the prophets too. As a matter of fact, apart from the Prophet Solomon’s Temple, the other prayer houses of other prophets, the places where they inhabited, should be rebuilt as well. The places where they worshiped should be restored and glorified. Similarly, they should be opened, and Christians, Muslims and Jews should be allowed to visit them at the same time. The places where the Prophets Abraham, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron lived should be restored and beautified also.

The main entrance to the Old City is the Jaffa Gate. This gate was built by Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1538. The name in Arabic, Bab el-Halil, or Hebron Gate, means “The Beloved,” and refers to Prophet Abraham. In the entrance hall of the Gate, there is a stone on which the following text is engraved: “There is only one God and Abraham is his friend.” It is written this way because Jews and Christians were also using this gate along with Muslims, and the text refers to our common belief in the Prophet Abraham. So this should be the spirit in this site: We all worship the same One God and we are all children of Prophet Abraham!

Let us embrace each other with respect and love! Let us talk together, and envision better days in which we can all pray, and unite in celebration and brotherhood in this Prayer House of our blessed Prophet Solomon, and praise the glory of Almighty God together! Let every Christian, every Muslim, every Jew unite in this one godly desire! Let us endeavor to achieve this together, and let us believe that it is possible for everyone to perform their prayers in joy and peace!

Sinem Tezyapar

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/a-new-muslim-vision-rebuilding-solomons-temple-together/2013/03/12/

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