Ascending the Temple Mount (Credit: Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz/Breaking Israel News)
Though there is no Temple in Jerusalem, in very many ways, Jewish sources describe the Temple Mount as the viaduct for blessings, spiritual and material, to flow into the world. Several experts weigh in on this source of divine bounty.
Mordechai Persoff, head of the Mikdash Educational Center, noted that the blessing of sustenance came to the world via the Temple and the Temple Mount. Persoff cited a Midrash (homiletic teaching) that described the even hashtiya (the large stone that lay underneath the Holy of Holies in the Temple) as the seed from which all of creation grew.
“Every person can look to the Temple Mount and the Holy of Holies as their true origin,” Persoff said to Breaking Israel News. “In all the world, this is every individual’s personal connection to creation.”
Persoff cited another Midrash in which the even hashtiya is referred to as a tabor (belly button or umbilical cord).
“Just as the sustenance flows from the mother to the child via the tabor, spiritual and physical sustenance flow into the world via the Temple Mount,” Persoff said. “It is as if every person had a spiritual umbilical cord to God, all of them passing through that one point on the Temple Mount.”
Yet another Midrash refers to the Temple Mount as the lev (heart).
“The thing about the heart is that it is hidden,” Persoff said. “A person can look perfectly healthy but if there is a problem with his heart, if he has not paid attention to his heart, he will die. The same is true for the world. Everything can look fine with all the material concerns taken care of but if we ignore our heart, the Temple Mount, we are in grave danger.”
Persoff described different levels in which God provides our material needs.
“In Egypt, we ate from the sweat of our brow and there was no blessing in our everyday sustenance,” Persoff said. “It was only sustenance with no clear level of blessing. Before we came into the land of Israel, the blessing was all around us and there was no work. We ate the manna in the desert. It was a period of healing in which we were like a sick person in a hospital. But after we came into the Holy Land, there became a link between sustenance and holiness. We were partners. Our work, the land, was a meeting of material and spiritual, work and blessing.”
Persoff explained that the three pilgrimage feasts corresponded to three blessings that come down to the world via the Temple. On Passover, the harvest is blessed. On Sukkot, the blessing of rain is established. The bikurim (first-fruits) were first brought to the Temple on the holiday of Shavuot, which is when the fruit was blessed.
“There is a correspondence between the Temple, the service, and the agriculture. We learn that we always need to look up to Hashem, every day all day. It is a greater blessing than the manna which came directly from heaven. The blessing that came through our hands, from the land that Hashem (God, literally ‘the name’) promised us, was even greater. And this came through focusing on the Temple.”
Rabbi Yehuda Kroizer, the Chief Rabbi of Mitzpe Yericho, has a deep spiritual connection to the Temple Mount, visiting the site regularly for more than a decade. He also noted the Jewish tradition of blessings being integrally connected to the Temple Mount.
“The Talmud states explicitly that bounty comes into the world via the Temple and the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Kroizer told Breaking Israel News. “The rains, the fruit, the grains, everything changed with the destruction of the Temple. As much as we think we understand nature, agriculture was on a totally different level in Temple times and will return to that when the Temple is rebuilt.”
Rabbi Kroizer also noted a different blessing, perhaps no less important, that originates from the Temple.
“But the Talmud also states that since the Temple was destroyed, Jews are not permitted to be entirely happy,” the rabbi said, citing Psalms as the source for this section of Talmud.
Our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, “Hashem has done great things for them!”
“The Temple was the source of pure joy,” Rabbi Kroizer said. “If a person dedicates themselves to Geula (redemption), to Hashem and his special place in the world, the source of blessing and joy, it is clear that he will see some blessing.”
Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the founder of the Temple Institute, takes a more pragmatic approach.
“Jews have mitzvot (Torah commandments) to perform,” Rabbi Ariel said to Breaking Israel News. “That is how we connect ourselves to God. Our relationship with it is not theoretical or in the spiritual. The important thing to remember is that the Temple was and will be a real place with mitzvot attached to it. The sacrifices were the avodah (service, or work). Prayer is called avoda sh’ba’lev (service that is in the heart). That is why no matter where we are in the world, we face toward the Temple Mount when we pray.”
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.