I Have A Dream

 

And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established at the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all of the nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come. And let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. And he will teach us of his ways, and we shall walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth Torah, and the word of God from Jerusalem — Isaiah 2:2:3

Something shifted in me this past October, after learning about the assassination-attempt on Rabbi Yehuda Glick. The Temple Mount — where Jewish access is restricted — had represented an ache in my heart, but stayed there, as elusive as a dream. Every time I visited the The Western Wall, I would feel sadness and loss, knowing that I was so close, yet so far away, but somehow I had accepted the status quo and settled for this state of silent complacency.

Then someone drove up on a motorcycle and tried cutting down a man who had kept the dream alive for all of us, and I knew in my heart that this could not stand.

A few months later, I went to the Limmud conference in England to give lectures and to learn. Between planning my own sessions and giving them, I went to listen to a British orthodox Rabbi talk about Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount. I knew it was a liberal crowd, and perhaps I should have stayed away. I didn’t, however, and — 45 minutes later — I found my stomach turning.

In the middle of the lecture, the Rabbi showed a short clip of Rabbi Glick speaking about our right to pray on the Temple Mount, and why there should be consequences for the denial of this right. The audience murmured, and — as the video faded to black — the Rabbi asked:

“What is it he is really saying? “

In my opinion, Yehuda Glick is to the Jewish world what Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was to the Civil Rights movement. Mr Glick is putting the Temple Mount in the context where it belongs: as an issue of human rights, making the injustice of it all so blatantly clear. Much like King in his day, Glick is being criticized for challenging what is now the status quo and putting the issue on the top of the agenda; as with King, the critiques against him come from the police, politicians, and religious leaders.

As I sat there in London, I heard a predominantly Jewish audience call Glick a troublemaker and the inciter of a 3rd Intifada, I felt like I was losing my footing. I was heartbroken, but I couldn’t really pinpoint why.

I ended up arguing with the Rabbi after the session, louder and more angrily than I had ever expected. I felt betrayal, disappointment, and rage. Within me the decision formed, slowly: I have to ascend the mountain. I have to find out for myself.

As the days drew closer, I felt the trepidation, swinging like a pendulum inside of me. I had read about the violence, the riots, and the threats and I feared that I would not be able to reach the places I wanted to inhabit. Not merely physically, but more importantly, spiritually.

I met my guide by the Kotel plaza early one Sunday morning, and — within minutes — we were there, at the place I had painted pictures of in my mind. I’m not sure what I had expected, but I know that was not what I saw. Yes, there were the expected criers, yelling “Allahu Akbar!” as we passed. There were strangers and neighbors, friends and foes, but none of it mattered because I had arrived and I stood in the sun wondering why I had not always been there.

I asked my guide why he kept coming and he told me it was in order to keep the dream alive. I knew what he meant, immediately, and as we walked up the steps I also knew what had broken my heart in that session in London weeks earlier.

The voices I heard in that room had given up on the dream. The Rabbi, the audience, all the people calling to indict the man whose blood was spilled for holding on to a dream we cried out for over centuries; they had resigned to living in yesterday, whereas my soul cried out for tomorrow.

They say that the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. What I felt before I went up on Har Habayit, the fear that dwelled in me, it was the dream being silenced by the criers on the mountain. That is terror, at its core, to make fear so prevalent that we end up thinking that we chose to stay away.

I did not know until I got there how right it was to go. But I know now, and I will keep returning, until the dream becomes reality, speedily and in our days.

We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

There are 141 comments.

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  1. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Amen.

    I’m glad you’ve found your home at last, Annika.

    • #1
  2. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @AnnikaHernrothRothstein

    Thank you, Aaron, Shabbat Shalom!

    • #2
  3. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Can I ask an ignorant question? What is there on top of the Temple mount for Jews? I thought the only part of the old temple that was left was the Western Wall? Was/is the goal to try to build a new Temple? Is it just challenging an arbitrary law/rule?

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @AnnikaHernrothRothstein

    Dear Valiuth, the foundation stone is there, at the heart of the dome of the rock. The whole world was created from here, and it is also here where the binding of Isaak took place. The rebuilding of our 3rd temple will, Beezrat HaShem, coincide with the Messianic age.

    Hope that answers your question!

    • #4
  5. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    I’m glad you got there Annika.  I hope you get to go many more times.  The connections of place are so powerful.  I  felt this repeatedly in Israel too.

    • #5
  6. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Valiuth:Can I ask an ignorant question? What is there on top of the Temple mount for Jews? I thought the only part of the old temple that was left was the Western Wall? Was/is the goal to try to build a new Temple? Is it just challenging an arbitrary law/rule?

    The Western Wall is what remains of Herod’s rebuilding of the Temple, something that archaeologists have likened, in terms of the labor, size, and materials, to the building of the great pyramids.  As Annika said, what had been the site of the Holy of Holies is now at the heart of the Dome, co-opted by Muslim conquerors as the supposed site of Mohammed’s ascension.  There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    • #6
  7. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Annika,

    Your photo is beautiful!

    Phantom of the Mount

    Here is a grisly old fellow dreamer. He snuck up on the mount all alone in 2008. What a wonderful feeling it was. I must go back.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    skipsul:

     There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    Well that makes things rather complicated.

    • #8
  9. Kay of MT Inactive
    Kay of MT
    @KayofMT

    Dearest Annika, when you write, I weep with hope and desire for Israel. You write so movingly.

    • #9
  10. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Annika & all,

    Yes there is complexity but on the other hand there is simplicity. It takes ten men to make a minyan for prayer. I hadn’t thought about it for a while but this post has reminded me.

    I would settle for a Minyan on the Mount.

    Considering just how huge the place is I can’t see how it couldn’t accommodate just ten men. Why from the air you wouldn’t even notice they were there. What possible objection could there be to ten Jews praying.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
  11. Ricochet Contributor
    Ricochet
    @AnnikaHernrothRothstein

    Dear Kay, thank you. Thank you so much!

    • #11
  12. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Valiuth:

    skipsul:

    There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    Well that makes things rather complicated.

    Impossibly complicated really.  Every prior temple, back to the Tabernacle, was on that same spot, Herod just expanded around it, but the anchor point is universal.

    For many Christians, the rebuilding of the Temple coincides with Christ’s return.  For many Jews the rebuilding heralds the Messiah (rather a win / win in those scenarios, even it means the end of the world as we know it).  Either way you’d have a breakout of a major war just to attempt it.

    • #12
  13. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    I noticed in your links that Jewish religious authorities are divided about restrictions because of the possibility of wandering into areas restricted by Jewish tradition.  So is it enough if the civil restriciton is abolished?

    • #13
  14. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    I don’t care much for religion. But the dome sure is an exquisite historical piece of architecture and as such belongs to all of mankind. Let us try to make room for everyone instead of excluding this or that side.

    • #14
  15. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Ross C:I noticed in your links that Jewish religious authorities are divided about restrictions because of the possibility of wandering into areas restricted by Jewish tradition. So is it enough if the civil restriciton is abolished?

    Ross,

    Where I am standing and where Annika is standing (on the perimeter around the site of the holy of holies) is not in dispute by 99% of Jewish religious authorities. There is plenty of space for a minyan. This would be a start. As of now Jews are not allowed to pray on the mount by civil restriction.

    When I was there I held my camera to my face (the international sign of a tourist) and said the schema.  I didn’t hang around long as it was expressly illegal. (No I didn’t see Brian Williams there. He must have gone up the next year.)

    We will overcome someday.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #15
  16. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    Marion Evans:I don’t care much for religion. But the dome sure is an exquisite historical piece of architecture and as such belongs to all of mankind. Let us try to make room for everyone instead of excluding this or that side.

    Unfortunately that isn’t really possible in this case.  You may as well suggest that Mecca move the Kaaba to make room for a church.  For Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the site is vital, it is non-negotiable.

    • #16
  17. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    skipsul:

    Valiuth:

    skipsul:

    There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    Well that makes things rather complicated.

    Impossibly complicated really. Every prior temple, back to the Tabernacle, was on that same spot, Herod just expanded around it, but the anchor point is universal.

    For many Christians, the rebuilding of the Temple coincides with Christ’s return. For many Jews the rebuilding heralds the Messiah (rather a win / win in those scenarios, even it means the end of the world as we know it). Either way you’d have a breakout of a major war just to attempt it.

    I thought for Christians Jesus was the Temple. Isn’t that what got him in hot water with the Pharisees that he said he could demolish the Temple down and rebuild it in three days (alluding to his own crucifixion and resurrection).

    It does seem like some sort of reasonable compromise should be manageable with respect to allowing everyone to use the public areas for prayer. I can understand not wanting to allow Jews to hold services in the Mosque, on the other hand the Dome itself isn’t a Mosque (right?) it just houses the spot Muslims believe Mohammad ascended to heaven from (if I recall the wikipedia article correctly).

    And then from what I gather Jews seem to think that the Tabernacle was housed in that same area more or less.

    Of course all these reasonableness talk is pointless because that just does not seem to be in the cards anytime soon.

    • #17
  18. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Valiuth:

    skipsul:

    Valiuth:

    skipsul:

    There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    Well that makes things rather complicated.

    Impossibly complicated really. Every prior temple, back to the Tabernacle, was on that same spot, Herod just expanded around it, but the anchor point is universal.

    For many Christians, the rebuilding of the Temple coincides with Christ’s return. For many Jews the rebuilding heralds the Messiah (rather a win / win in those scenarios, even it means the end of the world as we know it). Either way you’d have a breakout of a major war just to attempt it.

    I thought for Christians Jesus was the Temple. Isn’t that what got him in hot water with the Pharisees that he said he could demolish the Temple down and rebuild it in three days (alluding to his own crucifixion and resurrection).

    It does seem like some sort of reasonable compromise should be manageable with respect to allowing everyone to use the public areas for prayer. I can understand not wanting to allow Jews to hold services in the Mosque, on the other hand the Dome itself isn’t a Mosque (right?) it just houses the spot Muslims believe Mohammad ascended to heaven from (if I recall the wikipedia article correctly).

    And then from what I gather Jews seem to think that the Tabernacle was housed in that same area more or less.

    Of course all these reasonableness talk is pointless because that just does not seem to be in the cards anytime soon.

    The mount as it appears in its massive form was described in detail by Josephus 600 years before Mohammed lived. Both 1st and 2nd Temples were built on the site and there is a huge amount of archaeological evidence to confirm it. I really don’t think Muslim claims will hold up to anything like scrutiny. There are no pilgrimages to the mount for Muslims. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran. When they are at the mosque built even later which takes up only a minor portion of the area they pray facing Mecca. Every Jew in the world prays facing the Holy of Holies and has for the last 2000 years.

    How could allowing a small number of Jews to pray upon the mount (they could be 500 yards away from the mosque) possibly be objectionable? It’s a rhetorical question.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
  19. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    skipsul:

    Marion Evans:I don’t care much for religion. But the dome sure is an exquisite historical piece of architecture and as such belongs to all of mankind. Let us try to make room for everyone instead of excluding this or that side.

    Unfortunately that isn’t really possible in this case. You may as well suggest that Mecca move the Kaaba to make room for a church. For Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the site is vital, it is non-negotiable.

    Not sure why it is not possible. We just have to decide to do it. We can start with the status quo and choose a course that would be the least damaging and cause the least harm. Not everyone will get 100% of what they want but we can get close, and save a lot of pain. Nothing is non-negotiable when it comes to human affairs.

    • #19
  20. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    James Gawron:

     I really don’t think Muslim claims will hold up to anything like scrutiny. There are no pilgrimages to the mount for Muslims. Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran.

    Even the Muslims know that the issue is phony.  It was developed by a local Muslim leader in the early 1900’s to counter Jewish migration (Zionism) to Israel.  Like in the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, when the legend doesn’t support the facts, print the legend.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @RobertMcReynolds

    May God bless Israel and all of her children.

    • #21
  22. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Annika & All of Ricochet,

    Time to turn our thoughts to Gd.

    Good Shabbos,

    Jim

    • #22
  23. user_131369 Inactive
    user_131369
    @SheltonEhrlich

    My wife and I visited the Mosque and the Rock 25 years ago and felt welcome.  But, in the mosque I took my wife’s hand and a minder told us it was not allowed.

    That evening my religious cousins told us that we should not have visited because we might have tread on the location of the Holy of Holies.  Live and learn.

    • #23
  24. user_385039 Inactive
    user_385039
    @donaldtodd

    Marion Evans:”I don’t care much for religion. But the dome sure is an exquisite historical piece of architecture and as such belongs to all of mankind. Let us try to make room for everyone instead of excluding this or that side.”

    Since you “don’t care much for religion” then you probably have no idea of how profoundly it can affect people.  That affect is expressed in Israel by the firing of rockets into residential neighborhoods by Arab terrorists.  It was expressed in Paris by the occupation of a kosher store and the killing of people therein.  Jews were the target of the rocket attacks and Jews were the targets in the kosher store.

    The Dome on the Rock is Islam’s third holiest site.  Should you offer to go there and mediate the consideration that it belongs to all of mankind, I’d like to be appraised of how well you are received.    Should you suggest that the building be opened for Jewish temple practices it won’t go over very well either.

    It seems that you might spend a bit more time becoming acquainted with what is happening before making the suggestion that we all include one another.  If you open the door to people who want to kill you, it makes it that much easier for them to do so.

    • #24
  25. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @CalvinCoolidg

    In the name of peace, Jews follow rules set by Muslims on their own holy grounds. They enforce those rules and honor Islam. Judaism precedes the birth of Islam by some 1000 years. Where is the logic here? Is it conquests throughout history that have claimed that land to Islam alone? Or is it the rational trying to contain the irrational.

    I’m claiming ignorance. If someone could educate me, I’d be grateful.

    • #25
  26. user_891102 Member
    user_891102
    @DannyAlexander

    Annika, certainly I agree with you in principle.

    That said, there is such a long list of matters requiring far higher-priority urgent sociopolitical attention in The Homeland — even just within Jerusalem itself.  (Little things like defending the sovereign indivisibility of Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish State, for instance.)

    I would respectfully ask that you focus your energies — in the sociopolitical realm — on matters that are concomitantly within your personal control to affect and characterized by being both urgent and important.

    For instance, if your klitah (immigrant absorption) status is such that you have the right to vote in the 17 March elections, I would strongly suggest you both join and vote Likud.

    There is simply no one else on the electoral slate with the seasoned skills and courageous temperament Bibi possesses and can capably deploy to steer the nation in a safe yet robust direction with regard to the existential-level Iranian nuclear threat along with the corollary threats emanating from Hizballah and Hamas/IS (which is stirring up ever-greater trouble in Yehuda and Shomron) — to say nothing of the niggling immoral idiocies perpetrated by Abu Mazen against Israel on the international stage.

    There is also simply no one else on the electoral slate with the instincts and subject-matter literacy Bibi has with regard to building up Israel’s economy as a vibrant, multifaceted, resilient, and globally attractive free-enterprise marketplace unsullied by rampant corruption. It is enough to drive one to despair to know how economically moronic and/or venal just about everyone else (beyond the Likud list) is who currently seeks a Knesset seat.

    Whether or not you have voting rights just yet, you do have the power to attack, expose, shame, and eradicate the malevolent Obama-throne-sniffers active in Israel right now in efforts to bring down Netanyahu and hand the reins of power to the cowardly, the treasonous, and the flagrantly socialist.

    If, with Hashem’s blessing and help, Israelis can choose wisely and well on 17 March;

    and if thereafter the nation can proceed safely through and up out of the present valley of the shadow of death;

    and if, with the existential threat thus neutralized, the nation can then proceed courageously to break up the power of the Oligarchical Families (http://myobiterdicta.blogspot.com/2006/03/read-em-and-weep.html), along with the power of the Histadrut and their ilk — thereby ushering in true economic dynamism enabling opportunity for the broadest possible array of Israelis;

    and if, with the shackles of cronyism and corruption thereby eliminated from the nation’s economic life, truly worthy Israeli leaders — rallying the citizenry from the indisputably sovereign unified capital of the Jewish State — can launch (and see through to success) an array of initiatives to restore righteousness, just conduct, and chesed/lovingkindness in all spheres of the national life;

    well, *then* at *that* point Israel can — as a matter of pragmatic prioritizing *and* ethical self-development — turn its attentions to the pinnacle achievement of restored sovereign access to Har HaBayit.

    Ch”V (Heaven forbid) that I should diminish Rav Glick’s heroism and the holy righteousness of his work. In the future, with Hashem’s help, he will have been vindicated by all Jews (and their non-Jewish brethren) who love truth and goodness.

    But there are other tasks and responsibilities to attend to on the way to that point. At *this* point, focus (and work to promote focus by others) on what is genuinely within your control and that truly demands immediate work in order to attain lasting benefit.

    Hashem willing, accomplishment of the work in front of you at each stage will lead to the opportunity to do the same at the next, in its appropriate and Hashem-appointed time. Each such stage and its fulfillment will, in the aggregate, be holy, even if the separate specific tasks within a given stage seem mundane.

    In the time(s) that it stood, the Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) was reached via steps. We are obligated to take the same route today.

    • #26
  27. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Valiuth:

    skipsul:

    There can be no true restoration of the Temple while the Dome stands, and the Muslims know this too.

    Well that makes things rather complicated.

    Shalom Spiegel’s The Last Trial brings many Jewish, Christian and pagan (including Arab) accounts of the binding of Isaac. In one of the Arab versions, it wasn’t Isaac who was bound on the altar, and it wasn’t Isaac who inherits Abraham’s material and spiritual legacy. It was Ishmael; by that version they wuz robbed. And it’s not exactly a negotiable difference of opinion.

    • #27
  28. user_124695 Inactive
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    Before we get on our high horse, we should remember that, by a strange quirk of fate, this was also the site where a certain someone ascended to heaven.

    • #28
  29. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    David Williamson:Before we get on our high horse, we should remember that, by a strange quirk of fate, this was also the site where a certain someone ascended to heaven.

    You’re welcome to dismiss my comment in #20, but you should do more research on your own to prove your point.  Good luck.

    • #29
  30. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    The particular theological issues at stake here are ones I am not arrogant enough to opine on, this is no area of expertise for myself.

    However what is indisputable is this,  whether one agrees with Yehuda Glick or not is immaterial. Some attempted to assassinate this man simply for voicing his opinion and seeking to persuade others, that is unmitigated evil and it cannot be disputed by any man of conscience.

    • #30
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