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Saturday, August 09, 2003

Shavua tov

Foundation stones for the Third Temple: past, present and future are One
I recently read a teaching about Tisha B'Av that conveyed the paradox of that holy day. Why do we Jews still mourn the loss of the Temples, after thousands of years? It was explained that when someone dies, and you know for certain that they are dead, then the laws of mourning structure your way through grief, and back to life. Mourning observance becomes less and less strictured over time, and eventually ends.

When one is not absolutely sure, however, if a loved one is dead or not, then there is no end to the mourning, and no one can console you. So it was with Jacob, when his son Joseph disappeared. The father wasn't absolutely certain of his son's death, and so he mourned for years and years, and no one could console him. He continued to mourn, instead of returning to life, because he held hope that his son still lived. This, then, is why we continue to mourn the loss of the Temples -- we have not lost hope for their recovery.

A very important teacher in my life kept repeating to me that I mustn't think like the Greeks or Romans, but learn to think in Talmudic fashion, like a Jew. I would ask is it this or that? either/or? And he would tell me, again and again, that the answer can be both. This story from Arutz Sheva, illustrates that paradox is alive and well in the thoughts and lives of today's Jews.

Do we mourn or do we hope? We do both.
Two giant stones - 6.5 tons each - were transported yesterday morning, in honor of Tisha B'Av, in a large parade around downtown Jerusalem, accompanied by dozens of cars draped with flags of Israel and the Temple. The stones are fit to be used as the cornerstones of the Temple, says Gershon Solomon of the Temple Mount Loyalists, as they are made of white marble cut by diamonds, and not by metal. In addition, they were mined in the Negev desert, just as were the Second Temple stones, and are the same light blue color.

The parade made its way from northern Jerusalem, around the Old City and Mt. Zion, along King George St., and back again. It set out from the Givat HaMivtar neighborhood from where the stones are kept year-round - in the burial cave discovered 22 years ago of King Antigonos of Judea, the last of the Hasmonean kings.

In 40 BCE, Antigonos rebelled against Rome and announced the independence of his kingdom. The Romans promptly invaded Jerusalem, and thus began the era of Roman rule. Gershon Solomon told Arutz-7's Leah Rabinowitz that the Romans crucified Antigonos, and made sure to bury him in Syria, so as not to arouse nationalistic feelings among the Jews. A certain priest could not make peace with this travesty, and expended major efforts to recover the body and bring it for burial outside Jerusalem, overlooking the Temple Mount [in today's Givat HaMivtar]. That priest, together with a tablet telling this story, was also found buried in the same burial chamber.