Israel is the heart of the Jewish people, Jerusalem is the heart of
Israel and the Temple mount is the Heart of Jerusalem. I can offer
absolute proof that is true.
Sunday is Yom Yerushalayim, the anniversary (on the Jewish calendar) of the day
Israel recaptured the Old City of Jerusalem 48 years ago on the second
day of the Six-Day-War.
I often read with curiosity how mainstream media reporters with Christian backgrounds describe the site as “what the Jewish people SAY was the location of the Holy Temples.” I wonder when those folks go to Church on Sunday do they argue with
their Priests and Ministers to change the Gospels? After-all Jesus who they believe is the son of God went to that Temple Mount and
visited that Temple 3x a year as commanded by God, for each of the Jewish festivals; Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.
Any claim the Temple Mount is anything but Jewish is simply propagand. To back up my statement I could march out tons of historical data,
written by both Jews and Muslims alike declaring the the top of Mount
Moriah (the Temple Mount) as the home of the two Jewish Temples (and I will in a different post)
But the purpose of this post is not to argue history or tradition, not to make jokes about the
the fact when Muslims in Israel face Mecca to pray, they are mooning
the Temple Mount (although it’s true). No discussion about how Moshe
Dayan was the villain of the mount etc.
I don’t have to argue about ownership of Jerusalem because I was there. And as
corny as it may sound to anyone who has never been to the holy city, I felt the
presence of God there. Yes I know that the Lord is everywhere, but Jerusalem and especially the Temple Mount feels different.
All my life I had this overwhelming desire to go to Jerusalem and
especially the Temple mount. I never understood that urge until I stood
in its presence a few years ago when my family and I finally took a
trip to Israel (my wife had been before but it was the first time for
the rest of us).
As soon as we drove through the hills and I got a peek at Jerusalem
(from very far away) everything changed. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable
in my surroundings. Jerusalem felt like home to me, despite the fact
that I had never been there. Strangely I knew where to go and how to
get around this holy city without looking at a map. There were times
that I would tell my family that I had a shortcut to travel where we
needed to go, and my wife who had been there before would tell me I was
crazy (which was true but irrelevant). I was always correct.
Everywhere I went, I knew where we were and its relation to the Temple
Mount. And the closer I got, the lure of the Temple site was stronger
than ever before.
Now at this point, anyone reading this who has never been to Israel is
probably calling for the guys with the nice white jackets with long sleeves
that tie in the back to take me away. But before you make that call,
ask anyone who has been there (anyone who believes in God) and see if
they felt any different than I did.
On our second day in Jerusalem, we were finally going to the Kotel (the
Western retaining wall of the the Temple Mount, sometimes wrongly identified as part of the actual Holy Temple, but that was on top of the Temple Mount). With rare exceptions
the retaining wall is the closest any Jewish or Christian tourist can
get to the Temple Mount (and if they can get on top of the Mount no
praying is allowed for non-Muslims). That law was created by the Israeli
Government to keep the Muslims happy.
The whole family got up early, I packed up my Tallit and T’fillin and
took off with our guide into the Old City. Yossi, our wonderful guide
took us all over the Old City, He knew how important the going to the
Kotel was to me, yet rather than go directly to it he teased me with,
“Its right over that wall, we will see this movie first, lets go to the
burnt house etc” I was getting very frustrated, but he was masterfully
building up my expectations. And I was not disappointed. When we finally walked down the wooden stairway
and through the gate of the Kotel Plaza, I was overwhelmed by
emotions that I had never felt before.
All my life I felt this longing to go to the Kotel, and I finally knew
why. You see, everywhere else you go in Israel, you can feel the
presence of all that has gone on before you, King David, Avraham (Abraham), the 12
tribes, the two kingdoms and on and on. That is about culture and
history. But when you visit the Jerusalem it is about God. It is about
being able to feel the lingering presence of the Shekhinah (God’s
presence) that left the Temple almost 2,700 years ago.
That’s when I learned that the dispute over the Temple Mount was all
political, it is all about delegitimizing the Jewish presence in
Jerusalem. Because I was there. And with my son, then ten year old
holding my bag, I celebrated my life long dream, I wrapped the T’fillin
around my arm, placed it on my head wrapped my Tallit around my son
and me, opened our siddur (prayer book) to the Mincha (afternoon) service, and prayed to our maker.
It felt like so much more than praying when I was at the Kotel, Those
words of Hebrew seemed to have meaning like never before. I was it was
connecting. Connecting with the God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
That “urge” I had felt all my life was more like an invitation from my
Maker, “Come Visit so we can talk.” And while God is everywhere, for
some reason only a Rabbi can explain, his presence much stronger in
Jerusalem and especially at the Temple Mount.
There–that’s it, that’s my proof, that’s how I know that the Temple
Mount is Jewish. Nothing scientific, nothing that will work in a court
of law or in an international dispute, I felt this strong connection to
the Lord at the Kotel. And since my last visit to Israel I miss the Kotel more than anything. There is not another place in the entire world that can come close. Where did that connection originate? There is
something in the DNA of a Jew that acts like a homing device. Just as a
compass always points to the north, the heart of a Jew always points