September 29, 2000
© 2000 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights
Tonight Jews the world over will begin to observe Rosh HaShana, the beginning
of the New Year. This is mans birthday, and thus the day that the Creator
judges all of mans descendants, both the individual as well as every nation,
and seals their decree for the coming year. The main service of G-d on this
day is to listen to the sound of the shofar. The shofar blasts are intended to
wake us up from our inertia and slumber; to remind us that we must take stock
of ourselves and realign ourselves with G-d, the only true reality. In this
manner, we begin to internalize the reality of our relationship with G-d. This
is the beginning of the process of repentance.
Rosh HaShana is the coronation of G-d as King over all creation. The Holy
Temple is the one place on earth that G-d has chosen for all time to declare
His sovereignty to all mankind. Thus, the Temple Mount has a central role in
G-d’s campaign to broadcast the message of His rule.
In the past few weeks following the Camp David talks, the Temple Mount has
been in the news more than it has been in the last few years. Prime Minister
Barak no longer hides the fact that he is willing to offer the Palestinians
more than joint sovereignty over Jerusalem…he is willing to divide Jerusalem
into two different cities. It has now become clear to all that whoever rules
the Temple Mount is the ruler of this land. On account of this truth, and
while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators continue to ponder its fate, Likud
party chairman Ariel Sharon desired to visit the Temple Mount to express the
right for Jews to freely visit the holy site. Palestinians reacted to the news
of Sharon’s intended visit with threats of violence, calling it a
provocation. Sharon made his visit yesterday, accompanied by 2,000 policemen
and guards, and the Palestinians kept their word and staged violent
demonstrations on the Mount. Israel would like to believe that “the Temple
Mount is in our hands” but in order for one Jew to visit the Mount, it was necessary to
deploy a small army to protect him.
At this hour, one day after Sharon’s visit and just several hours before the
holiday of Rosh HaShana begins here in Israel, the area of the Temple Mount is
in turmoil.. In their Friday sermons this morning, the sheikhs of the mosques
at the site whipped their listeners into a frenzy by telling them that
“Sharon and his band are trying to build the Holy Temple.” The
Moslem crowds quickly reacted with violence that has so far left 3
Palestinians dead and over 30 Israeli policemen injured, including the chief
of the Jerusalem District police, still unconscious at this hour from a rock
that hit him in the head. The Moslem crowds who attacked the Israeli police
also attempted to stone the Jewish worshippers below at the Western Wall, and
it was necessary for the area of the wall to be closed in order to protect the
Jewish worshippers. It seems that Rosh HaShana here in Jerusalem is being
ushered in on a background of violence.
And as the negotiations continue, one Israeli border policeman was killed
yesterday in a roadside ambush, and another was murdered today in cold blood
by a “partner in peace” a Palestinian policeman on a joint patrol, who
strolled over to the Israeli jeep during a coffee break and emptied an entire
magazine of his automatic weapon into the Israeli jeep.
Rosh HaShana is the time for taking stock of ourselves. Since it is man’s
birthday, G-d questions us: What have you done with the gift of life that I
bestowed upon you? And what have you done to make My name known throughout the
world? What have you done to sanctify My name?
As the shofar blasts rise up before G-d’s throne of glory and soften and
sweeten the harsh judgments and decrees, so too may the nation of
Israel receive Divine guidance and blessing, enabling her to rise
up and accept the mandate of her destiny, to sanctify G-d’s name before the
eyes of all creation.
We wish you a happy and sweet New Year full of every blessing, and may this
year bring the fulfillment of all our prayers.
Rabbi Chaim Richman
The Temple Institute
PO Box 31876