Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Rabbi Hirschensohn and the Temple Mount


Transplanted to New Jersey from Jerusalem, Rabbi Chaim Hirschensohn, an amazing figure who held that "There is nothing in biblical law and Halakha which contradicts in any way progress or common sense. The objective of my research is to show that Halakha does not pose any obstacle to the development of private life or the life of an entire nation", also dealt with the subject of the Temple Mount which he viewed as 

"a national and religious center"

Here is from David Ellenson's "Rabbi Haim Hirschensohn: An Orthodox Rabbi Responds to the Balfour Declaration":-

In his first two responsa in Malki Bakodesh, Hirschenson addressed the questions of kingship and temple sacrifices. He acknowledged that some might think that restored Jewish national sovereignty in Eretz Yisrael might demand the restoration of the kingship and the temple cult. However, Hirschensohn argued against these positions, asserting that nothing “in biblical law and in the Halakhah is opposed in any way to the progress of civilization or logic [s’vara].” This meant that the teachings Maimonides expressed in the Guide for the Perplexed, where he maintained that sacrifices were an outmoded form of worship, had to be followed. As he wrote, “To reinstitute these practices would make us the object of ridicule before all the nations of the world. Instead of being a light to the nations, they would think of us as an unenlightened people who walk in darkness.”44

At the same time, Hirschensohn was not completely sanguine about adopting this position. After all, “If, upon our being in the Land, we agree not to build the Temple nor to offer sacrifices, will we not transgress the positive commandment of building the Chosen House?”45 As an Orthodox rabbi, Hirschensohn could not abide violating the positive duty to rebuild the Temple and restore sacrificial worship without halakhic justification. From the Orthodox standpoint, obedience to the changing standards of civilization was insufficient without authority from the Halakhah.

Hirschensohn found this authority by constructing a rather straightforward halakhic argument. He noted that Jewish law demanded that there was no obligation to rebuild the Temple without the appointment of a king...Hirschenson wrote, “The commandment to appoint a King to rule over us,” even if the Jewish people desired to do so, is impossible of fulfillment at present...Hirschenson stated, “And now, [in an era like ours] when we do not have a prophet, it is forbidden to appoint a king to rule over us, and since we do not have a king, we are not able to build the Temple to offer sacrifices, for the selection of a king must precede the building of the Temple.”48
44. Malki Badoesh, 11.45. Ibid.48. Ibid., 56

But this does not do justice to his position.

He wrote to Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook but could not obtain agreement for his outlook and that opposing viewpoint

Rav Kook, OrotThe Third Temple, the place of Israel’s light, will not be built through victory, not by a call to defeat another, a call to overcome an adversary, but rather through its deserved majesty, in the spirit of beauty and holiness, with many nations searching for God at Mount Zion [referring to the Temple Mount, not the peak that is currently called Mount Zion], through their own internal recognition that this is the proper way to express the majesty, the majesty of the just and wise King. All the world will want to worship under His flag out of love and the exaltation of the soul. 

 is held until this day in the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva:


The responsum of Hirschensohn:



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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

James Joyce and...Vladimir Jabotinsky

One of those fascinating footnotes to history.

I have previously noted (here; and here) that Jabotinsky's novel on Samson was the basis for the screenplay for the 1949 award-winning Hollywood film. And a new film.

And now, James Joyce had requested the book:


Why did he request it?

Was there correspondence between the two?

Did Joyce have a "Jewish" thing?

Did this part appeal to him?



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Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Tweet Linda Sarsour

Here is Linda Sarsour's tweet from last night:

Sending love to my Jewish siblings. I know watching Charlottesville & the anti-semitism on display was horrifying. We r in this together.

And my counter-tweet:

And Palestinian anti-Semitism and that of American Imams?


On the anti-Semitism from official Palestinian Authority sources

Not to mention the father of "Palestinian nationalism", the Mufti.

On my Imam reference.

^

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Another Opinion Poll

From Prof. Ephraim Yaar and Prof. Tamar Hermann's Peace Index:  July 2017 published: 02/08/2017 (Survey dates: 25/07/2017 - 27/07/2017)


The prime minister’s handling of the Temple Mount crisis: 

The survey findings show that a majority of the Jewish public (64%) does not see the prime minister as handling the current crisis on the Temple Mount judiciously. A segmentation of the Jewish interviewees’ responses by political camp revealed that even among those defining themselves as right-wing, most do not view the prime minister as managing the crisis judiciously, and that this view is even more pronounced in the center and on the left, though apparently for different reasons than among the right-wingers

Yes, of course.

The installation of the metal detectors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque: 

At the same time, on the question of whether the prime minister acted properly in deciding to install the metal directors at the entrances to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though according to media reports the IDF and the Shabak opposed the measure, the Jewish public is almost evenly split between those who think he acted properly (45%) and those who maintain the opposite (47%). In the Arab public a lopsided majority (82%) considers that Netanyahu did not act properly in deciding to install the metal detectors. 


Is the prime minister using the Temple Mount crisis to divert attention from the investigations? 

In the Jewish public the majority (57%) rejects the claim that the prime minister is not trying to alleviate the Temple Mount crisis because he wants to divert the public’s attention from the investigations of his associates in the different corruption affairs. In the Arab public a majority—not large (54%)—believes Netanyahu is indeed making use of the Temple Mount crisis to divert public attention from the investigations of his associates.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Tricky Mr. Ricca

Doing some research cruising, I found this:


You see what I underlined?

He's tricky in his language. What I term 'semantic antics'.  Oh, and the book.

How tricky?

His first segment:

the outer compound of the Herodian Temple (and, by the same token, of the Muslim Haram al-Sharif) which since early modern times has been a religious focus for Jews. 

There is no "outer compound" of the Temple Mount. There's an inside and an outside.

Muslims claimed ownership of the Western Wall courtyard back in 1929 and the British gave them "ownership" as per the International Committee's conclusions.

The 2013 Jordan-Palestinian Authority agreement sacralizes "environs" and "Waqf properties" outside the strict delineation of the compound:


Al Masjid Al Aqsa with its 144 dunums, which include the Qibli Mosque of Al Aqsa, the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock and all its mosques, buildings, walls, courtyards, attached areas over and beneath the ground and the Waqf properties tied-up to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, to its environs...

Islamic expansionism of the first order.

His second foray:

Yet these changes, which seek to erase a centuries-old Arab past and replace it with a new, exclusively Jewish space adapted to the symbolism of a modern Jewish state,

is a bit more devious.

Aren't the Muslim claims to the Temple Mount reflective of what he sees above as negative?

Like this wording:-

Yet these changes, which seek to erase a centuries-old Jewish past and replace it with a new, exclusively Islamic space adapted to the symbolism of a modern Palestinian state,

What he criticises in Israel's actions and rhetoric is exactly what he would claim is proper and correct for Muslims. 

Mr. Ricca is quite tricky.

^

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The 1931 Status Quo. Yes, That One

With all the talk about a policy of status quo regarding the administration of the Temple Mount, I think some history needs be cleared up.

There is the current 1967 "status quo" 

[Moshe] Dayan thought, and years later committed the thought to writing, that since the Mount was a “Muslim prayer mosque” while for Jews it was no more than “a historical site of commemoration of the past…one should not hinder the Arabs from behaving there as they now do and one should recognize their right as Muslims to control the site.” Dayan believed that the new order he designed on the Mount was the best way to prevent the national-territorial conflict from turning into a religious one that would be much more dangerous.
The basic elements of the status quo he devised included:

  1. The Waqf, as an arm of the Jordanian Ministry of Sacred Properties, would continue to manage the site and be responsible for arrangements and for religious and civil affairs there.
  1. Jews would not be permitted to pray on the Temple Mount, but they would be able to visit it. (This right of freedom of access to the Mount was also eventually anchored within the context of the Protection of Holy Places Law.)
  1. Israel, by means of its police force, would assume responsibility for security in the sacred compound, both within the site itself and regarding the wall and gates surrounding it.
  1. Israeli sovereignty and law would be applied to the Temple Mount as to the other parts of Jerusalem, to which Israeli law was applied after the Six-Day War. (This stipulation was approved more than once by the Israeli High Court of Justice.)
  1. It was later decided that the only entrance to the Temple Mount through which Jews would be permitted would be the Mughrabi Gate, located in the center of the Western Wall, whereas Muslims would be able to enter the Mount through its many other gates.  As for tourists it was established that they would enter through three gates: the Mughrabi Gate, the Chain Gate, and the Cotton Merchant’s Gate.  Today, the entrance of tourists is permitted only through the Mughrabi Gate.
  1. Over the years the raising of flags of any kind was prohibited on the Mount.


The Temple Mount will remain as is and will be managed as it is now. Arrangements for visits by Jews to the Temple Mount are safeguarded; there will be no change in them, just as the prayer arrangements for the Muslims.

and expressed more pithily:

Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount

He shouldn't have been so comprehensive and public. 

There is the 1928 White Paper "status quo".  Here it is as reported by the JTA:

British Government Issues White Paper on Wailing Wall 
London (Nov. 27) 
–Asserting that the status quo, as established under the Turkish regime, was infringed by the Jewish worshippers at the Jewish Holy Site on September 24, the Day of Atonement, the White Paper of the British Government concerning the Wailing Wall incident, made public today, contains a statement of the facts and a declaration that the administration of Palestine intends to maintain the established Jewish right of access to the Holy Site.
 The White Paper, written by Col. Leopold H. Amery, Secretary of State for the Colonies, refers to the communique of the Palestine Government dated the 26th of September and explains that the intervention of the police was caused, as the Jewish action constituted an infraction of the status quo of the Wall. The paper further explains the Jewish rights to the Wall during the Turkish regime, underlining the ruling of 1912 prohibiting Jews to erect a screen on the wall pavement*. The White Paper emphasizes this year’s innovations at the Wall on Yom Kippur were made the cause of the complaints of the Mufti in charge of the Wakf (Moslem religious property) to the Palestine Government necessitating immediate action, according to the practice not to create precedent contradictory to the status quo the Palestine government is obliged to maintain under the terms of the mandate.
 Concerning the complaint that no Jew was among the police executing the order, this happened because, upon the urgent request of the Chief Rabbinate, all Jewish policemen had been released from service for the Yom Kippur holiday. In future, steps will be taken insuring a Jewish officer’s presence at the Wall on all such occasions. The further complaint that the Palestine government should have consulted Jewish authorities before taking action, is not substantiated, because if the infringement of the status quo was committed with the knowledge of these authorities, they were aware of the possible consequences from the experience on Yom Kippur, 1925 [As the Shaw Report noted, page 29, As a result of an incident, which occurred in September 1925, a ruling was made which forbade the Jews to bring seats and benches to the Wall even though these were intended for worshippers who were aged and infirm]. If, however, the Jewish authorities were ignorant of the innovations introduced, they cannot reasonably expect the Palestine government’s countenancing the unauthorized act of subordinates.
The British Government regards it as their duty and have the intention to maintain the established Jewish right of access to the pavement in front of the Wall for the purposes of devotion.

___________

*

As Seth Franztman notes:


In 1912, chief rabbi of the Ottoman Empire Haim Nahoum appealed to the sultan to permit the Jewish community to bring benches and chairs to the Wall to aid the elderly...The Ashkenazi religious court judge Mendel Hacohen Pakover noted that in 1900, on certain major holidays, he encouraged religious Jews to bring a screen to separate men and women. The Muslim community regarded all of these activities as changes to the status quo, and part of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the rights of Muslims in the city – one that should be opposed violently if need be.
___________


Now, let's outline the 1931 "status quo", decided upon by an International Inquiry Commission, quite a demeaning document, actually:

SCHEDULE I.

A. To the Moslems belong the sole ownership of, and the sole proprietary right to, the Western Wall, seeing that it forms an integral part of the Haram-esh-Sherif area, which is a Waqf property.  To the Moslems there also belongs the ownership of the Pavement in front of the Wall and of the adjacent so-called Moghrabi (Moroccan) Quarter opposite the Wall, inasmuch as the last-mentioned property was made Waqf under Moslem Sharia Law, it being dedicated to charitable purposes. Such appurtenances of worship and/or such other objects as the Jews may be entitled to place near the Wall...shall under no circumstances be considered as, or have the effect of, establishing for them any sort of proprietary right to the Wall or to the adjacent Pavement...

B. The Jews shall have free access to the Western Wall for the purpose of devotions at all times--subject to the explicit stipulations hereinafter to be mentioned...it shall be permissible to place near the Wall the Cabinet or Ark containing the Scroll or Scrolls of the Law and the Table on which the Ark stands and the table on which the Scroll is laid when being read from, but only on the following occasions, viz.:--

(a) At any special fast and assembly for public prayer that the Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem may order to be held in the consequence of some public distress or calamity, provided due notice shall have been given by them to the Administration;(b) on New Year's Day and on the Day of Atonement,and also on any other special "holy days" that are recognised by the Government as such days on which it has been customary...(2) No objection or obstacle shall be raised to the Jews, in their individual capacity, carrying with them to the Wall hand-books or other articles customarily used at their devotions either as a general thing or upon special occasions, nor to their wearing such garments as were of old used at their devotions.(3) The temporarily enacted prohibitions against the bringing to the Wall of benches, carpets or mattings, chairs, curtains and screens, etc., and against the driving of animals at certain hours along the Pavement are to be made absolute, as is also the injunction as to keeping the door at the southern end of the Wall locked during certain hours. The right, however, for Moslems to go to and fro in an ordinary way along the Pavement shall be respected and remain inviolable as hitherto.(4) It shall be prohibited to bring to the Wall any tent or a curtain or any similar object with a view to placing it there--even though for a limited space of time.(5) The Jews shall not be permitted to blow the ram's horn (Shofar) near the Wall nor cause any other disturbance to the Moslems that is avoidable; the Moslems on the other hand shall not be permitted to carry out the Zikr ceremony close to the Pavement during the progress of the Jewish devotions or to cause annoyance to the Jews in any other way.(6) It is to be understood that the Administration shall be entitled to give such instructions as they may think fit respecting the dimensions of each of the objects that it is permissible for the Jews to bring to the Wall, respecting the particular days and hours above referred to...(7) It shall be prohibited for any person or persons to make use of the place in front of the Wall or its surroundings for all political speeches or utterances or demonstrations of any kind whatever.(8) It shall be held to be a matter of common interest to Moslems and Jews alike that the Western Wall should not be disfigured by having any engravings or inscriptions placed upon it or by having nails or similar objects driven into it, and also that the Pavement in front of the Wall should be kept clean and be properly respected by Moslems and Jews alike; it is herewith declared to be the Moslems' right and duty to have the Pavement cleaned and repaired, if and when that is necessary, upon due notice being given to the Administration. (9) Owing to the Wall's character as an historical monument its fitting maintenance shall be entrusted to the Palestine Administration, so that any repairs to it that may be necessary shall be carried out by them and under their supervision though only after consultation with the Supreme Moslem Council and the Rabbinical Council for Palestine.(10) If any repairs to the Pavement that are necessary are not attended to by the Moslems in due time, the Palestine Administration shall take the necessary steps to have the work done.(11) The Chief Rabbis of Jerusalem shall be required to nominate one or more officials to be their authorised representative or representatives for receiving the instructions and other communications that will be issued from time to time by the Palestine Administration regarding the Western Wall, the Pavement in front of it and the formalities to be observed with regard to the Jewish devotions near the Wall. 

SCHEDULE II.2.--(a) The Jews may bring daily to the Pavement before the Wall a stand containing ritual lamps, and may place on the stand a zinc case with glass doors in which such lamps are lighted. They may bring also a portable wash-basin and a water container on a stand. None of the objects above mentioned shall be affixed to the Wall or to any wall of the adjoining Waqf buildings.(b) From sunset on Friday evening to sunset on Saturday, and from sunset on the eve of any Jewish holy day recognised by the Government to sunset of that holy day the Jews may place at the Northern end of the Wall a stand containing prayer books, and at the Southern end of the Wall a table on which to stand a cabinet or ark containing Scrolls of the Law and another table on which the Scrolls are laid for reading. The tables and cabinet or ark and the stand shall be removed at the end of the Sabbath or holy day as the case may be.(c) On the two holy days of the New Year Festival and on the Day of Atonement each Jewish worshipper may bring a prayer-mat which may be placed on the Pavement before the Wall but so as not to obstruct the right of passage along the Pavement.3. No benches, chairs or stools shall be brought to or placed on the Pavement before the Wailing Wall. No screen or curtain shall be placed on the Wall or on the Pavement, for the purpose of separating men and women or for any other purpose.4. Between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Sabbath days and Jewish holy days recognised by the Government, and between the hours of 5 and 8 p.m. on the eve of such days, and throughout the eve and Day of Atonement, save between the hours of dawn and 7 a.m., no animal shall be driven along the Pavement before the Wall.5. The wooden door giving access from the Pavement to the Zawieh at the Southern end of the Wall shall remain locked on the eve of the Sabbath and Jewish holy days recognised by the Government from 5 p.m. and throughout such days until after sunset.

So, what we have is a degrading status quo that denies historical truth and Jewish rights. 

One more element is required for understanding what is wrong here: knowing that Jordan ignores its requirements according to a peace treaty.

The Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty:


ARTICLE 9PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE

  1. Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
  1. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
  1. The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

and

ARTICLE 11MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AND GOOD NEIGHBOURLY RELATIONS
  1. The Parties will seek to foster mutual understanding and tolerance based on shared historic values, and accordingly undertake:
  1. to abstain from hostile or discriminatory propaganda against each other, and to take all possible legal and administrative measures to prevent the dissemination of such propaganda...

Today, the King declared that

Tampering with status quo in Jerusalem would impact region

But who is tampering with that status quo?

And without working with Israel
His Majesty, the Custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, reiterated that Jordan will continue to protect the holy sites in the city, through working with the international community.

And it seems this was discussed

a habitual encroachment by Israeli forces on the Al-Aqsa compound. 

There is no status quo and no fulfillment of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty.

And that is a shame.

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Sunday, August 06, 2017

The Kfar Etzion "Massacre" That 'Wasn't'

Kfar Etzion, the national-religious kibbutz established in 1943, on the third attempt to recreate Jewish life on the road between Jerusalem and Hebron, fell on May 13, 1948 and it has been accepted that there was a massacre of the surrendering fighters.

Here is from the Wikipedia entry:

The Kfar Etzion massacre refers to a massacre of Jews that took place after a two-day battle in which Jewish Kibbutz residents and Haganah militia defended Kfar Etzion from a combined force of the Arab Legion and local Arab men on May 13, 1948, the day before the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Of the 129 Haganah fighters and Jewish kibbutzniks who died during the defence of the settlement, Martin Gilbert states that fifteen were murdered on surrendering.

And further details:

...when the hopelessness of their position became undeniable on May 13, dozens of defenders, the haverim, of Kfar Etzion laid down their arms and assembled in the courtyard, where they suddenly began to be shot at. Those not slain in the first volleys of fire pushed past the Arabs, and either escaped to hide, or gathered their weapons, and were hunted down. The number of people killed and the perpetrators, the Arab legion or local village irregulars or both, are in dispute. According to one account, the main group of about 50 defenders were surrounded by a large number of Arab irregulars, who shouted "Deir Yassin!" and ordered the Jews to sit down, stand up, and sit down again, when suddenly someone opened fire on the Jews with a machine gun and others joined in the killing. Those Jews not immediately cut down tried to run away but were pursued...hand grenades were thrown into a cellar, killing a group of 50 who were hiding there. The building was blown up.
According to other sources, 20 women hiding in a cellar were killed. David Ohana writes that 127 Israeli fighters were killed on the last day.
...The figure of 127 massacred appears to include both those who surrendered only to be slain, and the defenders who had been killed in battle over 12–13 May.
In another account, after the 133 defenders had assembled, they were photographed by a man in a kaffiyeh, and then an armored car apparently belonging to the Arab Legion opened fire with its machine gun, and then Arab irregulars joined in. A group of defenders managed to crawl into the cellar of the monastery, where they defended themselves until a large number of grenades were thrown into the cellar. The building was then blown up and collapsed on them. 

Another version:

In all, about 128 defenders were massacred by the Palestinian Arab irregulars or the Jordan Legion, counting those who had escaped to the basement of the monastery. Some accounts do not count these people as "massacred" and estimate that fifty were massacred.

In the premier issue of Mechkarei Eretz Yehuda (Land of Judea Studies) published this year, edited by Yechiel Zelinger and Nadav Frankel, Yochanan Ben-Yaakov, whose father and uncle were killed in the fighting, and the recognized historian of the kibbutz and editor of "Gush Etzion: Fifty Years of Struggle and Endeavour [in Hebrew]. Kfar Etzion: Field School, 1978" and later studies, has summarized his findings.

His conclusions, in brief, are:

A. In actuality, the fighting had not ceased the whole day as the outlying positions were unaware that two attempts at arranging an orderly surrender had been made near the center of the kibbutz.

B. Most of the 131 defenders (82 kibbutz members and 49 Hish and Palmach fighters) were killed in their positions or in the connecting communication trenches as well as in the bunker. Those in the bunker (the injured, medical staff, command staff, communications staff and a few who did manage to flee there after the surrender attempt) shot at the approaching Arabs who threw grenades in and then blew up the building which collapsed on them all.

C. At most, perhaps 30 defenders were at the school where the Arabs had opened fire and of those, four survived.

D. Many had made heroic efforts to flee from the area in front of the school, scooping up their weapons which had been placed on the ground in preparation for the surrender ceremony and ran into wooded areas where they were hunted down and shot. Some females were raped. Some headed in the direction of Massuot Yitzchak. Almost all had their weapons with them.



E. When Rabbi Shlomo Goren and his team returned over a year later to bury the bodies which had been unattended all that time, his report indicated finding them in or near the original defensive positions at various locations around the kibbutz. Some were found facing inwards as if they were shooting at Arabs who were approaching them from within the kibbutz.

F. The photographer who asked those who surrendered to pose was Yisrael Netach, it seems, a Syrian Jew who was a Shai operative. He had served as Abd El-Khader Al-Husseini's personal photographer until El-Khader was killed on April 8 at the Kastel battle. (Incidentally, his pictures 



are amazing, as the one above taken at the Kastel). He crossed the lines the following evening at Ramat Rachel but the soldiers suspected him  of being an Arab agent and exposed the film in his camera.

G. Avraham Fischgrund (a relative of my wife's cousin's husband) was the commander of the Kibbutz and was the first shot when a surrender was being attempted as he emerged with a white flag in his hands.

Ben-Yaakov insists that there was not a massacre of large proportions, that between 15 and 30 were shot while posing for the surrender photograph and the rest during the clean-up operations with those fighters defending themselves with their weapons.  He cannot verify which Arab group opened fire first, the irregulars or the Arab Legion soldiers.

^