Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Temple in Jerusalem and the Jewish Exiles from Roman Empire of 70 CE Share Simlar Problems

Nadene Goldfoot
It seems that the exiles among the Roman Empire  had the very same problems that Israel has today.  I've been reading  Psalms, starting with 120:0 where he cries out to G-d in distress asking to be rescued from lying lips and a deceitful tongue which were like the sharp arrows of the mighty with coals of Rotem-wood. These charcoals are especially dangerous because long after they appear to be extinguished on the surface, they continue to burn within (from Rashi).  The psalmist  had come from a journey with those who lived in tents from Kedar.  Kedar was the Arab Empire of Ishmael (Radak; Ibn Ezra).    He had been with these people who hated peace and when he spoke of peace they clamored  for war.  It sounds so familiar.  They clamored for war because they viewed his appeal for peace as a sign of weakness and vulnerability.

There were 15 steps leading from the lower Courtyard of the Temple to the upper Courtyard.  These psalms from 120 to 1134 are called the 15 "Songs of Ascents" which correspond to the steps.  Since then the Temple has been destroyed by conquerors and the Muslim's Al Aqsa  Mosque is now sitting on top of its place.

The Psalmist looks at the mountains and wonders where help will come from and knows help will only from G-d.  In Jerusalem is the Temple and Jerusalem is like a united city where tribes of Israel ascend.  He asks that that we pray for the peace of Jerusalem; and that those who love the city will give thanks and that they will be serene people.  He shall continue to speak of peace for the sake of everyone.

This was a hymn to Jerusalem, the city where every visitor experiences an encounter with holiness.  He goes on saying that Israel's survival against all odds attests to G-d's providential control of its destiny.  He feels that a righteous person is not arrogant.  Let Israel give hope to G-d from this time and forever.  The idea is that the idyllic unity among brothers brings G-d"s blessings.  This psalmist never gave up hope despite the many disappointments (Rashi).

And so we hope today and turn to G-d.

Resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_Mount
The Stone Edition:  Tanach; 24 books of the Bible-Psalms 20-24

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