Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Wedding on the Temple Mount

Image from the Jewish Press
I like the Jewish Press. I wish other Orthodox weekly publications were more like them. They are by far the most inclusive Orthodox weekly periodical. A wide variety of  Hashkafic perspective are published by them. They feature regular columns from Charedim, Lubavitch,  and Modern Orthodox rabbis. They even feature a monthly column by Open Orthodox founder Rabbi Avi Weiss. And they have been very gracious to me in publishing hundreds of my post in their online edition. And a few even in there print edition. Nor do they refuse to publish pictures of women. 

But - as I have stated in the past -there is one thing about their editorial policy that troubles me. It permeates just about every story they do. It is their very right wing approach to Religious Zionism. Now they certainly have a right to their opinion. And I hate to bite the hand that feeds me. (Well, they don’t exactly feed me since they do not pay me anything. But they do give my articles a wider audience - allowing me to reach people I would not otherwise be able to. And for that I am very grateful.)

So why does their version of Religious Zionism trouble me? Because in my view it borders on the extreme. I had written a post about an example of this a few months ago. To their credit they published it despite the fact that my views were diametrically opposite theirs. The critics opposing my views that commented on it were vicious. Including a  threat from one individual to have my posts banned from the Jewish Press. Thankfully they have not banned me. 

The Jewish Press subsequently published a rather harsh rebuttal to my post. I submitted a response to that rebuttal which they did not publish. I suppose they have a right to have the last word. It’s their paper.

I’m afraid I have to do this again. And if they choose to publish this one, they will not doubt have a similar response.

Yesterday’s online edition of the Jewish Press featured an upbeat story about a marriage that took place on Har HaBayis - the Temple Mount. They described the details of how this came about and could not have expressed more joy that it happened – wishing a hearty Mazel Tov to the young couple. As if the most normal and Jewish thing one could do was to get married on Har HaBayis.

My immediate thought was, ‘How many Jews are going to be killed because of this?’ This kind of comment always precipitates rejoinders like the following from the right wing of Religious Zionists:

‘How dare you blame the victim?!’ ‘Jews get randomly get stabbed and you blame an unrelated event that had nothing to do with the victim who was killed or wounded?!’ ‘What is the matter with you?!’ What kind of a self hating Jew are you?! ‘Go join up with your friends Hamas since you seem to be endorsing killing Jews randomly!’ ‘If your worried about inciting the Arabs to violence, why not bar Jews from living in Tel Aviv?! (…love that one.) ‘The truth is they don’t want Jews living anywhere in ‘Palestine’ which to them is every inch of Eretz Yisroel including Tel  Aviv.’

I suppose in the eyes of people who share those views it makes me an antisemite.  

Well, I am not an antisemite. I just care that Jews might be killed because some people got their jollies getting married on Har HaBayis. There is little doubt in my mind that the series of almost daily stabbings in all parts of Israel that began back in October – is a result of these kinds of activities on Har Habayis that took place at that time. There were no Jews stabbed on a daily basis like this prior to that. Not in Tel Aviv and not even in East Jerusalem. 

That violence finally seems to have died down. But I fear that an incident like this may rekindle it by Arabs worried about losing the Al-Aqsa Mosque – something a few even more fanatic Jews have been promising to do.

First of all, Har Habayis is not a wedding hall. Even if we had full control of it. The idea that one wants to get married in the holiest place on earth may have its appeal – even if it is not designed to be used that way. But at what price?!

Yes. As I have said numerous times. Har HaBayis belongs to the Jewish people and no one else. But God in His infinite wisdom has put obstacles in front of us. He has allowed another nation to place a building in its heart in service to their own religion. And has assured that all the nations of the world support them. God does not appear to want us up there now.

The Charedi Gedolim of yesteryear and even the current Charedi rabbinic leaders have issued a blanket Issur- forbidding entry to any part of Har HaBayis. That’s because Jews in our day are in a presumed state of perpetual Tumah – spiritual uncleanliness. We’ve lost our ability to remove ourselves from that state.The Makom HaMikdash may not be entered in that state. Now it is true that there are some areas that allow people that are Tameh. But the Charedi  Gedolim fearful that those areas may be breached inadvertently or otherwise have decreed that all Jews should stay of of Har HaBayis. I agree with them.

Religious Zionist rabbis on the other hand  – have determined which areas are permissible and allow – and perhaps even encourage people to go up there. I could not disagree with them more. First for the reasons the Charedi Gedolim have given. But also because it incites them to violence. I believe that the Charedi rabbinic leaders agree with that reason too. That is unarguable. I suppose the reason Religious Zionists encourage Jews to go up there is to assert our rights. To make it known to the Arabs that we are not relinquishing them. Besides, the Israeli government approves of it. The idea being that both Jews and Arabs have a right and are therefore allowed to go up there.

To me this is exceptionally foolhardy and has brought untold tragedy upon Klal Yisroel. I see no upside to the wedding ceremony that occurred there. Only a downside. And I protest it strongly – as well as protesting the Jewish Press approval of it.

I want to make one thing perfectly clear. My motives in protesting it is in service to saving Jewish lives. It is simply not worth putting the lives of all Israeli citizens at risk in order to show that Arabs who’s boss. Until it can be proven that going up there does not do so, I will remain opposed to it no less than the current Charedi leaders are.