Thursday, December 25, 2014

That Contentious Temple Mount

King Solomon's Temple (961-920 BCE) 
Nadene Goldfoot                                                                        
Golden Dome of the Rock-built by Caliph Abd al-Malik c738 CE supposedly in same spot as the Jewish 1st and 2nd Temples
Jerusalem viewing the mosque,  Dome of the Rock,  and Western Wall

King Solomon built the first Temple as a shrine for the Ark, sacred vessels and offerings with a court for worshippers.  It had a hall, shrine and inner sanctum (holy of holies).  He built it on Mt. Moriah in Jerusalem that became part of the Old City.  Since he was a king of peace, he was allowed by G-d to build it.  His father, King David, was not allowed to do this as he was a man of war.  It was completely destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE.

The 2nd Temple was rebuilt from 538 to 515 BCE.Vassal King Herod I (73 BCE-4 BCE )built some of the reconstructions that were carried out that continued from the time of Simon the Just, Judah the Maccabee and Simon the Hasmonean  Herod expanded the Temple courtyard.  He built the wall, now called the Western Wall.   Herod was an evil man, appointed king of Judea by the Roman Senate, but he did rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem on a magnificent scale.   In the siege of Jerusalem during the Roman War, it served as a center of military activity, and was destroyed by the conquering Romans in 70 CE.  Jerusalem was then turned into a Roman colony and renamed Aelia Capitolina in Latin. One million Jews were killed in this rebellion of the Great Revolt.

A Roman Temple was later built on the site of the Jewish Temple. In 63 BCE, the Romans occupied Judah. By 70 CE they took Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple.    In 132 CE, the Jewish General Bar Kokhba   attacked the Romans who had taken Jerusalem  and fought for 3 years in trying to regain it.  He was killed in 135 CE in the Judean hills at Bethar.  .
Aerial view of Temple Mount 
This site has now become "the most contested piece of real estate on earth."  The Temple site is an almost rectangular enclosure on the SE corner of Jerusalem's old city.  It's called THE TEMPLE MOUNT-Al- Haram al-Sharif  and in Hebrew as Har ha-Bayit and Har ha Moria; and contains 11 important places;
1. Dome of the Rock                                                   7. Western Wall Tunnel and northern entrance to it
2. Platform surrounding  the Dome of the Rock            8. St. Stephen's Gate (Lion's Gate)
3. Al-Aqsa Mosque                                                    9. Mughrabi Gate
4. Dome of the Spirits                                                10. Solomon's Stables
5. Golden Gate                                                         11. Via Dolorosa
6. Western Wall

Muhammad was born in 570 CE and died in 632 CE.  His oldest friend was Abu Bakr  who became the 1st Caliph from 632 to August 23, 634 CE.  The first thing he had to do was to subdue the Arabian tribes.

Along comes the 2nd Calif, Omar or Umar, who ruled from 634 to 644.   During his reign, several regions with ancient Jewish communities were conquered;  not only Judah but all of the land that had been renamed as Palestine by the Romans in 135 BCE, Syria and Mesopotamia.  On his orders, most of the Jews were expelled from northern Arabia.  Many tribes had been living in Medina.  To Omar is attributed a "covenant" with Jews and Christians which assured them protection in return for the payment of a special POLL-TAX.  He also stipulated certain restrictions and disabilities, like exclusion from public office, the wearing of distinctive clothes, prohibition against erecting new houses of worship, etc.  This caused Jews and Christians to be called Dhimmis, a 2nd class citizen.  Toward the end of  his reign, he had a temporary structure set up as a mosque.  It was situated on the traditional site of Mt. Moriah's 2nd Temple which was covered over by the Roman Temple.  
Al Buraq Hafifa, Muhammad's Flying Horse
According to Muslims, Muhammad had flown on his flying horse to the "farthest mosque" in Jerusalem and from there was raised to heaven, then was carried back to Mecca.  This story must be an allegory, perhaps a dream of his future, being there would be a mosque built in Jerusalem after his death.  Perhaps the flying horse represented helicopters, or planes bringing in the ability for all to fly since autos with motors are rated by their "horsepower."  People of today simply cannot take this literally since real horses can't fly and there was no mosque in Jerusalem during Muhammad's lifetime.  There was only the Roman Temple. Research is that "Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0309: It is narrated on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: I was brought al-Buraq Who is an animal white and long, larger than a donkey but smaller than a mule, who would place his hoof a distance equal to the range of vision. I mounted it and came to the Temple (Bait Maqdis in Jerusalem-(bait is Hebrew for house, and this sounds like the House of Maccabees), then tethered it to the ring used by the prophets. I entered the mosque and prayed two rak'ahs in it, and then came out and Gabriel brought me a vessel of wine and a vessel of milk.  The Maccabees were Jewish, and there would have been no mosque till after 632-Muhammad's death when Islam was spread.  

So Mohammed flew on al-Buraq to the temple in Jerusalem, tied it up to a ring "the prophets" had used, and went on into the Temple to pray. Because of the fantastic nature of Mohammed's claims, some 21st century Muslims try to suggest that this was a vision or dream, but according to perhaps the most highly regarded historian of Islam:
Pegasus, Greek myth

 The idea of a horse flying could come from Pegasus, which is from Greek legend.  " Pegasus) is one of the best known creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine stallion usually depicted as pure white in color. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa.[1] He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing when his mother was decapitated by Perseus. Greco-Roman poets write about his ascent to heaven after his birth and his obeisance to Zeus, king of the gods,"   It is ironic that Muhammad used a Greek myth in teaching his people about monotheism.  
" It was Caliph Abd al Malik in about 738 who built The Mosque of Omar, also called the Dome of the Rock, to replace the temporary structure set up by Caliph Omar a century earlier, making the first built in about 638, 6 years after Mohammad had died.  So their claims of the unnamed farthest mosque couldn't have been in Jerusalem.  Therefore it's all allegory.  Besides that, the city of Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, but in the Jewish Tanakh (Old Testament) it is mentioned 669 times.    

The Mosque of Omar was built in the center of the Temple area.  As Al- Haram al-Sharif, the Noble Sanctuary, it is the 3rd holiest site in Islam.  The Dome of the Rock stands in the center.  There is a protuberance of bedrock inside the shrine.  Traditionally this marks the spot where Muhammad ascended to heaven on his nighttime journey from Mecca 1,400 years ago.  It might also be the very spot of the Jewish Temple's HOLY OF HOLIES,  Then at the southern end of the esplanade is Al-Aqsa Mosque.  Muslims today insist that the whole area of Haram is Al-Aqsa including the open squares between the shrines and the olive grove north of the Dome.  They say it is all sacred ground.  This means that the Jewish Temple has no room up here to be built.  

"Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 5, B58, #228: Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: The sights which Allah's Apostle was shown on the Night Journey when he was taken to Bait-ul-Maqdis (i.e. Jerusalem) were actual sights, (not dreams). And the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Quran is the tree of Zaqqum (itself).

Additionally, the rock enshrined in the Dome of the Rock on the temple mount, is supposed to be where Mohammed launched from, for the leg of the trip to heaven. So it would be untenable to suggest that Mohammed's journey was a dream or vision, while at the same time claiming that he launched from a very much physical and tangible rock, on the temple mount.

There were many skeptics when Mohammed recounted the details of his trip the morning after his night journey on the flying animal. "

Aqsa) literally means the holy/sacred house. It is basically a reference to the the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque (or Masjid Al-Aqsa). Al-Aqsa Mosque is the entire piece of land surrounded by the walls.

From 1948 to 1967, Jews were not allowed in the eastern part of the old city of Jerusalem to pray at the Western (Wailing) Wall as they had always done.  That's because it was now in the hands of Jordan, who took it in the War of Independence illegally. " On June 7, 1967, the 3rd day of the Six-Day War, Israeli troops took East Jerusalem, bringing the Temple Mount under Jewish rule for the first time since the year 70."  It was a momentous occasion after waiting 1,897 years.  Moshe Dayan was the Defense Minister in the war and decided to leave the Mount, Al- Haram al-Sharif, in Muslim hands which just barely kept a holy war from breaking out. "The keys to all of the gates to the Temple Mount, save one, were left in the hands of the Waqf, the Islamic endowment that administers the site. Access to the Mount was guaranteed to non-Muslims, but no prayer was allowed there except by Muslims. These informal rules of engagement were ones that both Jewish and Muslim religious authorities could accept. Overwhelmingly, rabbinic rulings forbade Jews from ascending to the Mount, lest the sanctity of the Holy of Holies be violated. The Waqf could abide universal access to the site, provided that the exclusivity of Muslim worship was maintained.

Read more:"   So, instead of the Mount, the Western Wall drew Jews for their holy place to pray.   

The rabbis of Israel ruled that Jews should not enter the gates of the Mount.  They had good reason.  Under religious law, every Jew is presumed to have had contact with the dead.  Jews in ancient days were able to purify themselves in order to enter the sacred square. We are not legally purified, even if we haven't touched a dead body, a human bone, been in to a grave, or even entered the same room as a dead body.  We are rendered impure and must not enter the Temple or even be where our Temple once stood.   Since we have not reclaimed the Mount, but have left it in Jordanian hands, there is no way even to rebuild the Temple on this site. 

The only way acceptable to purify ourselves is with the ashes of a red heifer, an animal rarely born, but possible. Red heifers have been born, but the one needed for sacrifice must be very pure, and must be pure red.  A few white hairs disqualifies the animal.  This 3,000 year old ritual was very reasonable in its day and meant that "God will dwell among and protect His people" only if death has no dominion in the sanctuary.  We haven't had any ashes from a red Heifer since the Romans razed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70.  We all became impure, but it didn't matter because we then had no Temple to enter.  We no longer use sacrifice of animals, either.  

The time of having the 3rd Temple is to come at the time of the Messiah. We Jews are still waiting.  Why is this site on Mt. Moriah so sacred and important?  This is where Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah,  the 2nd of our 3 patriarchs, was almost sacrificed by his father, Abraham.  Abraham was told what to do by G-d, so he took him to Mt. Moriah and was about to sacrifice him when G-d stopped him, finding he was very obedient, and that was the test.  It also showed Abraham that this was the end of human sacrifice.  Abraham lived in the 2nd millennium BCE.  So this was sometime during that period of 2,000 BCE to 1900 BCE. 

Mohammad also tells this story, only instead of Isaac, used Ishmael, Abraham's first son by Hagar, as the son to be sacrificed instead.  The point I'm making is that Mohammad learned about this story from the Jews in Medina, who regularly told Bible stories to those who wanted to listen outside in the streets of Medina, and this was already a story about something that happened 1,500 years before Muhammad's time.  He must have changed the son to Ishmael to be more appealing and personal to his audience.  Maybe in his mind he assumed it had to be Ishmael.  

"Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blame Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his colleagues for fanning the flames of violence in Jerusalem, during which 11 Jews have been killed in Palestinian terror attacks, including a 3-month-old American girl who was intentionally run over by a Palestinian driver and last week’s synagogue massacre.
They pointed to an October speech by Abbas when he said Jews must be barred from visiting the Temple Mount using “any means” necessary, which in Israel was interpreted as a call to arms."
Since November 5th, 2014, there had been 3 attacks in Jerusalem within less than 2 weeks previously.  There had been many riots on the Temple Mount since summer due to Palestinian incitement by glorification of terrorism.  One rabbi was nearly killed.  
For several months, Palestinian radicals have tried to breach the status quo by preventing Christians and Jews from visiting the Temple Mount.  They have been incited by Hamas and the radical branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and have attacked visitors as well as the police with stones and fireworks, using the al-Aqsa Mosque as their base of operations.  
By November 5th, about 24 masked Arabs rioted on the Temple Mount.  They ran out from their positions inside the al-Aqsa mosque and threw stones and fireworks at police stationed at the Mughrabi Gate which is for non-Muslim visitors to the Temple Mount.  The police responded with non-lethal measures to prevent injuries.  They then returned to the al-Aqsa mosque and hid behind barricades they had built the night before.  From the mosque they  threw hundreds of fireworks at the police along with rocks and dangerous iron bars prepared beforehand.  Several police officers were injured.  
Just 2 days ago, a Jordanian Muslim cleric, Sheikh al-'Ajlouni came out and said that Jews should pray there, if east Jerusalem (this section of the contentious Temple Mount) is under Palestinian rule.There is no reason to believe that this good man would be listened to by the Palestinians, though they are both Muslims.  It happens that the Palestinian plan of Palestine is to be devoid of any Jews living there, and I imagine that they'll carry this to being at our holy sites as well.  We'd have to kiss the Western Wall good-by.  They are people who refuse to recognize that Israel is a Jewish state and their Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel and the death of Jews.  As it is today, Christians are allowed on the premises but not Jews.  
Charles Krauthammer was defending the Netanyahu government against Arabs that said it wanted to destroy Al-Aqsa.  He said that there are as many Israelis who want to build the Temple as Americans who believe they've been kidnapped and taken rides on UFOs.  Netanyahu has been for the status quo and has no plans to destroy the Dome.  He held a meeting with the King Abdullah II of Jordan about it. We do have our young people who have not paid attention to our history about the Temple Mount and don't understand why we can't pray there.  More education is needed on this topic.   
Israeli Paratroopers came through Eastern Gate, took Jerusalem, celebrating at the Wall. 
My 3rd cousin, Stanley Goldfoot,a Jerusalemite,  belonged to the Temple Mount Faithful, and I saw plans for the 3rd Temple.  There was no destination on the plans as to where it would be built.  Today Gershon Salomon is the leader of the group. He was an officer in the Six Day War but was badly injured a year before that battle when the Syrians had attacked his unit.  Tradition is that the Messiah will come through the Eastern Gate to the Temple Mount and that is what his unit did.   He's been pretty forceful about wanting Muslims thrown out of the site.  He's upset because he feels that the whole world has its eyes on Jerusalem and wants to turn it into an international city or an Arab-Muslim city.  He sees the Land of Israel being closed off to Jews, piece by piece.  He isn't paranoid; he's right if you look at the way states and countries are voting at the UN.  
"Netanyahu Assures EU: No Jewish Prayer on Temple Mount"-which is pretty ridiculous if you ask most people.  For the Muslims to be ready to kill us for praying is going overboard. They watch our lips.   
Jerusalem, the City of Peace, meaningful to all 3 religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, has not been so peaceful lately with people fighting over the very same square in which they demand to pray.  If they're not careful, this could actually break out into a  War.  
The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
from my blog:
The End of Days -fundamentalism and the struggle for the Temple Mount by Gershom Gorenberg p. 11-13 on Temple Mount


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