I don’t know if you recall a post of mine from way back … but in July, 2014, I noted that the (Third) Temple Institute took to Indiegogo to solicit crowdfunding for the building of the Third Temple. They met their goal, but, alas, they have not started construction. BOO!
Well, the Third Temple folks have been busy this Pessah season. Under a different banner, this time, a Headstart campaign, they raised 30,011 NIS to fund a practice run of near-offering the paschal lamb, or korban pessah.
Here’s the two minute pitch. Alas, it is in Hebrew.
My favourite line, spoken by the Dad to his curious son: “Together, we’ll practice. Together, we’ll get used to it. We’ll see and we’ll learn how we’re supposed to near-offer the korban pessah.”
According to reporting from Elhanan Miller at the Forward, the near-offering of the korban pessah went off without a hitch. This event, it should be emphasized, did not take place on the Temple Mount but at an overlook on the Mount of Olives. However, it is part of a larger and disturbing trend to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
In April, 2016, an unidentified couple conducted their Jewish marriage ritual on the Temple Mount. According to the report from YNet, which quotes a post on the Temple Institute’s Facebook page, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the Temple Institute’s manager of international activity, married the couple. While a member of the group distracted the police and Waqf officials, the vows were quickly made.
Also, in April, Israeli police removed 13 Jews who were trying to pray on the Temple Mount.
Although our unbroken connection with the Temple Mount is age old, spanning centuries and two sacred edifices, and serves as the the locus of the prayers of the devout, this kind of behaviour is nothing more than naked provocation. And though the Israeli High Court of Justice, in its 2012 rejection of a Temple Mount Faithful petition, upheld the theoretical right of Jews to pray on the Mount – it also ruled that this right is not absolute and may be limited where human life is at risk.
These activities are designed to incite and put human lives, many human lives, at risk. How can any rabbi sanction them?
But then I remembered my Jewish history and earlier days and other activities centred on Jerusalem and the Temple Mount… and shuddered.