G-d does answer prayers. Two weeks ago, Israel went from severe drought to flood conditions in certain cities, in a matter of several days with the greatest recorded rainfall for one day in fifteen years. Although the Sea of Galilee is still four meters below the danger line, and much more rain would still be required to insure Israel's immediate and longer term water needs, these torrential rains were still viewed by the religious community as an answer to our prayers. The unusual amounts of torrential rain reminded us of an incident recorded in the Talmud (Ta'anit 23:A). Once, when the Land suffered from a prolonged draught, the sages sent for the great, renowned tzaddik (righteous man) known as "Choni the Circle-Maker" to pray on the community's behalf. He traced a circle on the ground and stood inside the middle, as the prophet Habbakuk did before him (Habbakuk 2). He declared "Master of the Universe! Your children are depending on me! I swear by Your great Name that I will not budge from here until You have mercy on them!" The rains came down in such abundance that all the people were forced to go up to the Temple Mount to seek refuge
Yes, up to the Temple Mount. Now, in our own generation, we also "seek refuge on the Temple Mount" we seek out our aspirations for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. But long-gone is the day when Israeli forces liberated the Temple Mount in 1967, and the country stood spellbound, as if in a dream, listening on the radio to the emotion-choked voice of paratrooper commander Motta Gur declare "The Temple Mount is in our hands!" Today, 33 years later, we can no longer afford to be lulled by the luxurious illusion that the Temple Mount is in our hands. In the meantime, the illegal archaeological destruction on the Temple Mount continues. It was reported that Moslem Waqf workers have begun to fashion concrete frames for the underground openings that they made. They have also poured concrete for a supporting wall on the eastern side of the Temple Mount. In the course of their destruction-disguised-as-construction binge, several structures that had been preserved underground in their entirety for nearly two millennia had been unearthed, including a water aqueduct from the Holy Temple. These were then completely demolished by the Moslems with exacting precision.
In our newsletter of January 2nd, we reported about a visit that we made, recorded on film, to the site where the Wakf has discarded the remnants from the Temple. We received many inquiries about the availability of this film. We hereby inform our readers that at this moment, the Temple Institute and a group of dedicated friends are working feverishly on the production of an informative film about the current situation on the Temple Mount. This film will include unusual interviews and footage concerning all of the details that we have been reporting, including the visit mentioned above; as well as the inspiring "Unveiling Ceremony" of the famed Golden Menorah constructed by the Temple Institute for the future Holy Temple. With G-d's help, the Institute will make this film available shortly. Watch for announcements.
Last week, close to 30 senior archaeologists protested at the Kidron Valley site where the Moslem Waqf has been dumping the artifacts that it excavated from below the Temple Mount. The archaeologists emphasized that in addition to the desecration of holy Jewish artifacts, the Waqf is also violating Israel's Antiquities Law. They called upon Atty.-Gen. Elyakim Rubenstein to act to stop the illegal excavations on the Temple Mount.
Of course, according to the Islamic authorities, Jerusalem was never a Jewish city and there never was a Temple on the Temple Mount. This lie is being reinforced by the current flurry of destruction on the Temple Mount. If all evidence is destroyed, it will be that much easier, come the "final status negotiations" that will determine Jerusalem's future, for these insidious powers to attempt to tear out the heart of the Jewish people. Thus, the "Hamas News Service" carried the following item on January 14th:
"Mufti of Palestine: Aqsa Mosque is non of Israel's business."
Occupied Jerusalem- The Mufti of Palestine and Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrema Sabri, has warned the Zionist regime against "tampering with the issue of al Masjidul Aqsa," saying "this is an exclusive Muslim affair and Israel has no right to have any say in it." Sabri described Islamic holy places in Alquds (Jerusalem) as "absolute red lines." "Israeli extremists are advised to keep off this issue because al Masjidul Aqsa is the ultimate red line for Muslims here and everywhere." Sabri's remarks came after Israeli extremists petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to stop renovation works at al Masjidul Aqsa being carried out by Wakf authorities. Sabri said the Haram al Sharif (the Temple Mount) was and would continue to be outside the confines of the jurisdiction of Israeli courts.
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Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is to prevent the cycle of unrepentant history from repeating itself. Ours is the generation on the cutting edge, and it is up to us to learn from history and make a difference for the future. If our sages stated that "Every generation that does not merit the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, is reckoned as having destroyed it," then what of our generation? After receiving the gift of the Temple Mount in return, we have allowed it "to become desolate; foxes prowl there" (Lamentation 5:18) And now, our own history is violated before our very eyes, by those who hope that it will be erased forever. Once again we have come to the fateful "day of Jerusalem" wherein we hear the cry of "Raze it, raze it, to its very foundations!" (Psalms 137:7)
G-d does answer prayers. But He also looks to us to accomplish everything in our power. This is why seeking refuge from the torrential onslaught of our enemies, by our aspirations alone, is not sufficient. The true merit of this generation is that it is one not only of strong desire for what is right, but for action as well.
This combination of prayerful desire tempered by action, is exemplified by the work of the Temple Institute. For the Institute's goal is twofold. The first aspect is to bring the concept of the Holy Temple back to the forefront of consciousness. The second is to begin the process of rebuilding the Holy Temple itself. Through its creation of sacred Temple vessels, ready to be used in the Divine service, and ongoing research of every detail of Temple-related commandments, the Temple Institute has truly begun the process which will lead, with G-d's help, to the rebuilding of the Holy Temple.
The Institute is now in a period of intense growth. At this moment, the last of the three major Temple vesselsthe golden Table of the Showbreadhas been completed. Together with the Menorah and the golden Incense Altar, the Table of the Showbread can now be seen at the Institute, and is ready to take its proper place within the Sanctuary of the Holy Temple.
As the Jewish heritage of Jerusalem is challenged before our very eyes, this is the traditional Jewish answer to those that would rise up against Israel in every generation: "But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew" (Ex. 1:12). We will not disappear, but go further, accomplish more, and be strengthened in our faithand above all, we will act. Faith must lead to action.
The Institute has acted in this faith by completing these major vessels as a positive response to the challenges of the times we live in. The golden Table was completed despite the fact that the necessary funds were not in hand. Now, the Temple Institute invites you to participate in this great work, and presents you, its friends and well-wishers, with the opportunity to become an active partner in the restoration of the Holy Temple, by contributing towards the golden Table of the Showbread. Please consider supporting these efforts. The creation of these vessels, ready for use in the Temple, is the beginning of the process of rebuilding the Holy Temple itself- and thus, your part in the Temple Institute's work can make a significant difference.
Rabbi Chaim Richman