Last week we brought you several reports concerning the unlawful and malicious destruction being waged on the Temple Mount. However it was only recently that I was able to personally visit the site where the Moslem Wakf has dumped hundreds of truckloads of fill taken from the bowels of the Temple Mount, containing building stones and many other remnants from the Temple. I would like to share the unique experience of this visit with you.
One comes upon the massive, man-made mountain at the end of a dirt path in an Arab neighborhood that lies in the shadow of the Temple Mount. In order to educate as many people as possible about this crime, and the part it plays in the overall battle that is being waged against Jerusalem, I was fortunate enough to be able to bring a film crew along, so that these images might be broadcast throughout the world.
A response to some of our previous mailings was received from a man who felt that this story was being overemphasized. He opined that showing such veneration for these stones is tantamount to idol worship.
I would like to emphasize that the stones themselves are not even the issue! For as painful as it is to see the remnants of the House of the L-rd treated like rubbish, and to know that it is all part of an effort to erase Jewish history from the annals of Jerusalem...still, we know that one day the Holy Temple will be rebuilt, from new stones, and it will not be destroyed. "The glory of the last house will be greater than that of the former, and in this place I shall grant peace," G-d tells us through the prophet Hagai. The disrespect shown to the antiquities, sacred as they are, is not what bothers those who are sensitive to the honor of G-d. Rather, it is the ultimate sacrilege of the desecration of G-d's own honor, evoking practically no formal response anywhere in the world (including in Israel), that is so intolerable.
It is difficult to verbalize the many feelings that arise when one stands amidst this pile of rubble. I imagine that to some small extent, it is a feeling not unlike witnessing the destruction of the Holy Temple all over again...but of course, the circumstances this time are vastly different. "How the mighty have fallen!" These stones bore witness to the "ten miracles which took place constantly in the Holy Temple." They were present when the entire nation of Israel made the pilgrimage to the Holy Temple during each of the sacred festivals of the L-rd: "Three times a year you shall be seen there by G-d." Within this pile of stones beats the pulse of the collective experience of the Jewish people.
We were accosted by residents of the area who were angered by our presence, and who were made very uncomfortable by our intense interest in this "rubble." One man angrily approached us and told us "This is my land. You have no business being here. You come here to make trouble about nothing. You Jews are coming here and crying, but there is nothing of yours here. These rocks...there is nothing of yours here; get out...these rocks are nothing to you, nothing...they were taken from here, from there...all over the world, the Jews make all the trouble."
Nothing has changed. We were reminded of the following words from the book of Nehemiah...what a chilling "coincidence!":
"But it came to pass, that when Sanvallat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry, and greatly enraged, and he mocked the Jews. And he said...What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore things? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish, seeing they are burned?" (Nehemiah 3:33- 34).
For two thousand years we have faced challenges and overcome them. We have heard these words beforewill they revive the stones?; "there is nothing of yours here;" "Jerusalem has always been an Islamic city;" "there never was any Temple on the Temple Mount..."
We have faced challenges, and we have overcome them all. Yes, we shall revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish.
For Your servants hold her stones dear, and cherish her very dust (Psalms 102:15)
Rabbi Chaim Richman