Thursday, January 03, 2013

Focus On The Western Wall

כ"א לחודש העשירי תשע"ג

The Kothel (Western Wall/Wailing Wall)
Esser Agaroth (2¢) commentary is in blue italics.
YNET: Zealotry Threatens Western Wall
Op-ed: Liberal, conservative fanatics trying to turn Jerusalem holy site into ideological battleground

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, January 1, 2013
Over the past few years, I have been under two simultaneous attacks: The conservative zealous camp is attacking me over the fact that I actively support bringing thousands of students and soldiers to the Western Wall, while the liberal zealous camp criticizes my firm stance against the attempts by members of the Women of the Wall group to undermine the Supreme Court's ruling, which upheld a government ban on women wearing tefillin or tallit prayer shawls, or reading from a Torah scroll at the Western Wall.

Both of these groups ask – in the name of religious tolerance – that I "take their feelings into consideration." One group urges me to avoid bringing non-religious groups to the Kotel, while the other wants me to allow its members to conduct controversial and unusual ceremonies at the holy site. In the name of tolerance, they are asking that I allow them to turn the Western Wall - maybe the only place that still unites all Jews – into an ideological battlefield. (cont.)
Rabbi Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Western Wall, writes an interesting piece, in particular his conclusion...
This is how fanaticism operates. It asks for protection in the name of tolerance, then thrives and flourishes until it becomes too late to stop the devastation it brings on us all.
Meanwhile, while supposed Jewish women are making a political statement at the Kothel, the Western or "Wailing" Wall in English, another Jew attempts to honor The Almighty and his religious heritage, making a point not to cheapen his actions by turning them into a political statement.
Moshe Feiglin on Detention for Bowing on Temple Mount

As I do on the 19th of every Hebrew month, this morning I ascended to the Temple Mount. At a certain point, I bowed down to my G-d at this holy place. I did not do this as a provocation. In fact, it was only the plain-clothes policeman following me that noticed my actions.
Moshe Feiglin

I was detained for questioning and informed the investigator that I would give him any information that he needed, but that I would not cooperate in any way with the unfortunate police policy of infringing on the liberties of those questioned unnecessarily. I told him that I would not post bond, give fingerprints, be photographed for a mug shot or the like as a condition for my release. "If you think that I am dangerous to the public or that I will get away from you in the future, you are welcome to arrest me indefinitely. If you do not think that this is the case, release me at the end of the investigation. It is permissible only for the court to rescind an individual's liberty - not for the police."

Ultimately, I was released with no restrictions. This is an important victory in the struggle for human rights in Israel. I am not at all surprised by the fact that this message of liberty for the citizens of Israel has been heralded by merit of our connection to the Temple Mount and the site of the Holy Temple. We are all servants of the King of the world, Whose Divine Presence rests at this place. We are subservient to no one else, for we already have a King.

(Tip Credit: Rafi Farber of Settlers Of Samaria)
Unfortunately, for us all of us, the focus is on a wall, on not on the Miqdash (Temple), which must be rebuilt, nor on the Mount upon which it must be rebuilt.

I do not believe that it is wrong from Rabbi Rabinowitz to connect soldiers and tourists to their, using the Kothel as tool to that end.  However, I believe that it is wrong to ignore, deny, or otherwise mislead Jews into thinking that the Kothel is the be all, or end all of Jewish historical significance.

It is not.

Those of us like Moshe Feiglin attempting to redirect the focus of the Jewish People toward the proper place, are followed by undercover police officers, detained, and otherwise harassed.

Unfortunately, this is but one of several examples of the Galuth (Diasporah) mentality, the "wait for Mashi'ah to come and do everything" mentality.

Let me tell you.  When the Mashi'ah (Messiah) does arrive, my guess is that he will want to know why he has to do all of the work, which should have been started well before his arrival.

What's wrong with this picture?