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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Deja vu all over again: Wakf work destroying priceless Temple Mount artifacts

The truth is that the Arab Muslims could care less about Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It's not mentioned in the Koran. They would gladly abandon the Temple Mount altogether... if only that didn't mean that the Jews would gain access to it. Over the last 15-20 years, the Arab Muslims are doing all they can to destroy any evidence of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. They have destroyed countless priceless artifacts that were used in the Temples and buried or abandoned on the Temple Mount hundreds of years ago. Now, a Wakf 'renovation' project threatens what is believed to be the most priceless artifact of all: The even shithiya, the huge stone over which the Arab Muslims built their 'dome of the rock,' which, assuming this rock is the same one that is described in the Talmud....
The primary focus of Mishkney Elyon is upon the form of the Heavenly Temple, but since this is the prototype of the earthly Temple, much of what applies to the Heavenly Temple also applies to the earthly Temple. In many passages in Mishkney Elyon, Ramchal speaks simultaneously on a number of different levels, a feat made possible by the richness of Hebrew.

Ramchal explains step by step how the entire Heavenly Temple in all its details emanates from a single "place" or "point". This point exists on a plane that is beyond space as we know it, one that we could perhaps call metaspace. In the terminology of religion and Kabbalah, this is the spiritual plane "above" as opposed to the material world here "below". Indeed this "point", source of the Heavenly Temple, is ultimately the source of space as we know it.

This heavenly "place" or "point" corresponds to Even Shetiyah, the "Foundation Stone", in the earthly Temple. This is the rock on the Temple Mount that is called "the belly of the earth", the place from which the entire earth emanated like a fetus growing from the belly outwards. It is from the heavenly point corresponding to the earthly Even Shetiyah that all the lights that bring the Heavenly Temple into being shine forth. This point corresponds to the last of the Ten Sefirot, or Divine Attributes, of which the Kabbalah speaks. This is the Sefirah of Malchut, "Kingly Power", through which all the upper Sefirot shine. This Sefirah is also called Shechinah, the "Indwelling Presence of God".

Starting from this "point", Ramchal traces the emanation of the Heavenly Temple, beginning with the Holy of Holies and moving on successively to the main Sanctuary with its Gate and Vestibule, the surrounding Inner Temple Courtyard with its massive stone sacrificial Altar and various chambers, the Outer Courtyard and its chambers and gates, and finally the Temple Mount.
This is 'heady' material, and we can only being to understand what we don't understand from it. With that in mind, let's look at what the Wakf is doing.
According to activists, the body responsible for the site and charged with carrying out renovations to the Temple Mount chose to erect scaffolding directly on the Drinking Stone (Even Shtiya) – the holiest place for Jews, and which Muslims also honor.

In an "urgent plea" to Danino, attorney Aviad Visoly claimed in the name of the Temple Mount groups that photos published in the national-religious weekend paper 'Makor Rishon' showed the holy stone covered by "building material, rubble, and tools."

According to Visoly this comprises desecration of a holy place specified as such in Protection of Holy Places Law – an act punishable by seven years behind bars.

"To the best of my knowledge, the Jerusalem District Police commander and his officers in the David region know about this, and are doing nothing to stop the crime," Visoly wrote, adding that various Temple organizations had issued repeated warnings about "indifference, contempt, and even hostility" on the part of the police regarding preserving the Temple Mount's holy status. Now, he said, he demanded that Danino stop the desecration of the Drinking Stone immediately, and bring those responsible to trial.

"The Muslim Wakf, Hamas, and even the Iranian government declare morning and evening that they are working to eliminate every shred of the Jewish people's holiest of holies from the Temple Mount," Visoly's letter concluded. "That the upper echelon of the Israel Police is, intentionally or not, cooperating with them is outrageous, revolting, and incomprehensible."
Indeed, it is a disgrace. Read the whole thing.

Many years ago, I had an online argument with someone who is a much greater Torah scholar than I ever expect to be. He argued - based on scripture - that once the Temple was destroyed, its artifacts are no longer considered holy. I argued, based on an early gloss in the tractate of Nedarim, that the verse did not mean that we were expected to stand aside and watch the same artifacts be destroyed - that they still retain some of their holiness even if it is not the same holiness they had while the Temple existed. In the end, he agreed with me.

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