Tag Archives: Temple Mount

It Takes a Child to Build the Temple

Yehuda Glick, head of the LIBA Movement for Freedom of Movement on the Temple Mount, expressed his satisfaction that “for the first time in three years the Temple Mount has been opened to Jews on Tisha b’Av.”

“300 Jews have already come, including MK Shuli Muallem-Refaeli (Jewish Home). Afterward, we went to Commander of the Old City, David Avi Biton, and expressed our appreciation of the wonderful work the police were doing today,” Glick added.

Earlier this morning, masked Arabs arrived at the Temple Mount throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the security forces. Police entered the area and dispersed the rioters. There were no casualties, and the police have remained in place to maintain order.

Last night the Jerusalem District Police arrested 27 Arabs suspected participating in the rioting in East Jerusalem.

Thus far, 457 suspects have been arrested for rioting, of which 160 have been served indictments. Additional arrests are anticipated.

“Temple Mount Open to Jews on 9th Av for First Time in 3 Years”
-found at VirtualJerusalem.com

I hadn’t planned to write on Tisha B’Av but the above-quoted article plus something else inspired me. To understand why, read this:

Tisha B’Av night we sit on the floor and read from the Book of Lamentations. In a mournful voice we chant “Alas, she sits in solitude! The city that was great with people has become like a widow. She weeps bitterly in the night and her tear is on her cheek.”

We grieve for our Temple that was destroyed. We recall a once golden Jerusalem that now sits in darkness, abandoned. The streets of the city run red with rivers of blood. Lamentations describes a glorious nation being led out in chains as the fires of destruction fill the air. We cry “for Mount Zion which lies desolate, foxes prowled over it.”

-Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
“Making Tisha B’Av Relevant”

Tisha B'Av
photo credit: Alex Levin http://www.artlevin.com

Observant Jews mourn the loss of both Solomon’s and Herod’s Temples on this date as well as commemorate many other tragedies that have occurred in Jewish history employing very specific practices. Personally, I’ve decided to fast but not to employ all of the traditions involved in Jewish observance to avoid giving the impression that I’m fulfilling the mitzvah. I fast, pray, and study in solidarity with the Jewish people, but I must consider their losses as theirs, not mine.

But while Tisha B’Av is a day of mourning, it is also a day of hope. The very fact that the Temple Mount was opened to Jews on Tisha B’Av for the first time in three years makes me want to smile, even though that is inconsistent with a state of mourning.

I did have to smile at the following, though:

My son was on the lookout the minute the plane touched down in Israel. I could see the ignited light in his little four-year-old eyes on the entire car ride from the airport as he viewed the Holy Land for the first time. He was a tiny man on a mission, to see the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Jewish Temple, he was always hearing about.

He learned in school the common Jewish notion that each mitzvah (good deed) a Jew performs adds a “brick” to rebuild the destroyed Temple. And he was expecting to see the third Temple in the process of being rebuilt, brick by brick, mitzvah by mitzvah. You can imagine how his face fell and heart was broken when we arrived at the site of the Kotel, the Western Wall.

-Beth Perkel (as told to her by R.S.)
“Searching for the Third Temple”

Some among Israeli Jews believe the Third Temple should be rebuilt right now, while others (including me) think when the Messiah comes (returns), he will build it.

But the wonderfully innocent audacity of a four-year old little boy expecting the bricks of the Temple to miraculously appear one by one as Jews all over the world perform mitzvot is an obviously literal interpretation of midrash and also the perfect faith only a child could have.

“Mommy, this is it?”

“What do you mean this is it?”

“Where is the Beit Hamikdash? All I see is a wall Mommy, where are the bricks we have been working for, where are all the extra bricks?”

“They are coming precious child, someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, they are coming.”

But my answer wasn’t enough. He stood transfixed, woefully unsatisfied, hoping somehow that the bricks would miraculously appear. When they didn’t, he wandered around, the only one moping at the Kotel during the precious moments of our short visit there.

Ultimately, this searching Jewish child actually did find the bricks to the Temple at the Yad La-shiryon tank museum at Latrun, or more specifically, in the memorial wall, in which each brick is a representation of the mesirat nefesh or the self-sacrifice of the soldiers who died defending Israel.

“Mommy, this is it! We found the bricks! These are the bricks for the Beit Hamikdash!”

It brought tears to my eyes. Somehow, his soul had understood something so deep on this very spot where soldiers throughout Jewish history, from the time of the Tanach onward, had died glorifying God’s name, defending the Jewish homeland and helping us take steps towards our destiny. I could see the radiance on his face. He had found it – the bricks that showed him that God’s promise of redemption was on its way.

photo credit: Chabad.org

What will bring (back) the Messiah, what will rebuild the Temple, is hope, even during the darkest periods of life. That’s what Tisha B’Av is, hope in the darkness. Even as Jews study Lamentations by candlelight sitting on short stools (as is the custom), with some eyes welling with tears, there is always hope.

Hope is what has enabled the Jewish people to endure as a people for so long. Hope is what recreated the modern state of Israel from the sand and ashes of “Palestine”. Hope is what keeps the prophesy of Messiah alive and all that he will do to return the exiles, redeem God’s people, and restore the nation to its former glory.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 (NASB)

Our hope is in the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth. That is the Jewish hope but it must be the hope for the rest of us, otherwise we have nothing, for “Salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

Hope is a four-year old boy who sees the “extra” bricks for building the Temple in the memorial of Israel’s honored fallen heroes.

May you have an easy fast.

Messiah and the Temple of God

tallit_templeThe re-building will begin when the Messiah comes. This Third Temple will be on the Temple Mount, exactly where it previously stood. In fact, Maimonides writes that one sign that the Messiah is the real Messiah (and not an imposter) will be when he re-builds the Temple on the Temple Mount.

“Rebuilding the Temple”
Commentary on Tisha B’ Av

Belief in the coming of the Messiah has always been a fundamental part of both Judaism and Christianity. The Hebrew word for Messiah, Mashiach or Moshiach, means anointed, as does the Greek word, christos. Thus in Christianity, Christ is just another word for the Messiah. Much has been written about Jesus as the Messiah within the Christian realm, but little information has been publicized to the uninformed Jewish community concerning the coming of a Messiah, whom all we know about is that he will be a direct descendant of king David. Although Jesus has been proposed by Christianity to be such a descendant, Judaism does not accept Christ as their savior or king. Because the Messiah cannot be separated from God’s Third Temple and because God’s Third Temple is destined for all people…

“Coming of the Messiah”

“For thus says the Lord: David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, and the Levitical priests shall never lack a man in my presence to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings, and to make sacrifices forever.”

Jeremiah 33:17-18 (ESV)

In some parts of religious Judaism, one of the very strongly held beliefs is that when the Messiah comes, he will rebuild the Temple on its original site in Jerusalem. In fact, Jewish “anti-missionaries” use the current lack of the Jerusalem Temple as “proof” that Jesus couldn’t have been the Messiah (since if he was, he would have rebuilt it 2,000 years ago).

More than that, according to the Judaism 101 website, the Messiah will do many important things.

The mashiach will bring about the political and spiritual redemption of the Jewish people by bringing us back to Israel and restoring Jerusalem (Isaiah 11:11-12; Jeremiah 23:8; 30:3; Hosea 3:4-5). He will establish a government in Israel that will be the center of all world government, both for Jews and gentiles (Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:10; 42:1). He will rebuild the Temple and re-establish its worship (Jeremiah 33:18). He will restore the religious court system of Israel and establish Jewish law as the law of the land (Jeremiah 33:15).

Also, according to AskNoah.org, Gentiles will be able to worship in the rebuilt Temple.

Torah Law holds that Gentiles are allowed to bring burnt offerings to G-d in the Temple when it is standing in Jerusalem. There is a specific commandment to let us know that an animal (sheep, goat or bullock) offered in the Temple by a Gentile must be unblemished, to the same degree as the offering of a Jew. (Leviticus 22:25)

The same website citing the prophet Isaiah, declares that in the days of the Third Temple, Gentiles will be able to take on a greater role than in previous eras.

“And it will come to pass at the end of days that the mountain of G-d’s House will be firmly established, even higher than the peaks, and all the peoples will flow toward it as a river. And many nations will go and will cry, ‘Let us go up toward the mountain of G-d’s House, to the House of the L-rd of Jacob, and we will learn from His ways and walk in His paths, for out of Zion goes forth Torah and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.’ ”

Isaiah 2:2-3

But why am I writing about this?

It’s come up on more than one occasion at the church I attend, that certain things have changed because of Jesus. Since I’m kind of sensitive to the spectre of supersessionism (also called “replacement theology” or “fulfillment theology”), what has and hasn’t changed always gets my attention. Both in the Pastor’s message and in Sunday school, one piece of information I’ve heard is that before Jesus came, worship of God was confined to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, worship of God was no longer confined to a specific, geographic location.

You can see that this might present a problem if you also believed the Messiah was supposed to rebuild the Temple upon his return. Would that mean a step backward? Would our “freedom” to worship anywhere be revoked and Jerusalem once again become the locus for religious control and sacrifice to God?

old-city-jerusalemWell, yes and no. Frankly, it’s not that clear cut. We know that even during the Second Temple era, synagogues and centers for prayer (not always the same things) were available for Jews. After all, Jewish people were scattered not only all over Israel in those days, but across the civilized portions of the Earth. Recall the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40) who likely was a Jew on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It would have been difficult for most of world’s Jewish population to travel to the Jerusalem Temple every time they wanted an encounter with God. It was very likely that there was provision for both individual and communal prayer for Jews, so the Temple wasn’t literally the only place of worship.

Of course to obey the mitzvot, Jews were obligated to travel to Jerusalem on certain occasions including the moadim and particularly for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but while extremely important, it wouldn’t have been possible for all Jews because it would require leaving home and undertaking lengthy journeys several times a year. While we don’t have much information on him, it’s likely that the Jewish Ethiopian had made only one 1,200 mile long trip between his country to Jerusalem when Philip encountered him. In those days, a trip of such length over land could have taken up to two months, so it wasn’t the “quick dash” it would be by car or plane in our day and age.

Also, looking forward, we have this.

Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain; there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.

Zechariah 14:16-19 (ESV)

It would be very difficult for the representatives of all of the nations of the world to observe Shavuot (Feast of Booths) in Jerusalem if there were no existing Temple.

It is true that John writes in Revelation 21:22 that he saw no Temple in the city, presumably New Jerusalem, but there are vast periods of time being described in his recording of his vision, so we can’t use that one verse as evidence that the Third Temple will never be built by Messiah after his coming (return).

So what’s the big deal?

Only that the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus the Messiah may not have (permanently) changed as much as we might think it did. The church may ultimately have to integrate a more Jewish perspective of Messiah than we previously have. Yes, many of us think we’ve done a pretty good job at “rediscovering the Jewish Jesus,” but I don’t think the majority of us have truly engaged the reality of what that actually means.

I’m not criticizing Pastor Randy or anyone at the church I attend (and I know Pastor Randy sometimes reads my blog), but I am suggesting that at least in this one area, Christ may not have changed what we think he changed. Unfortunately, many Christians take the idea of what Jesus did to Judaism a little too dogmatically and treat Jews, Judaism, and Jewish Holy sites quite poorly, as this commentary I received on Facebook attests.

I have been at the Wall, Jews Holiest Place, and seen bus loads of tourist arrive. Even I cringed at the sight of shorts, halter tops, men with out shirts, cameras and water bottles in tow. I have seen the garbage left behind. I have heard the ‘chatter’ at the Face of the Wall and observed the frivolity of trying to place a paper prayer ‘for a friend’ in the highest unreachable crack. (a paradise for rock climbers). I have heard prayers for ‘the Jews to be saved”….I have stood by women ‘claiming the place in the name of Jesus”.

Jerusalem, to include the Wall, is not an International place of holiness. Once the sacredness of the place is removed it becomes one more place to be trashed. The fact that the Reform movement, Women at the Wall and other such groups are irritated that ‘they’ can not make the rules and regulations simply indicates their dislike for the Ultra-Orthodox. One side may be Extreme but the otherside opens the door to Liberal attitudes and the slippery slope to “so what, this is just another wall!”

christian-at-the-kotelThe analysis seems kind of harsh but then again, it’s probably justified given how casually and callously some people treat this Jewish Holy place.

To you and me, the Kotel may not have the same meaning, but for most religious Jews (and Jesus and all his apostles were and are religious Jews), it is all that’s left of where once the Divine Presence of God dwelt among His people Israel. It is also a symbol of hope in the coming of Messiah, the redemption of Israel (which doesn’t mean quite the same thing in Judaism as it does in Christianity), and the return of hope, life, and peace for the Jewish people and in fact, for all the nations of the Earth.

If it also happens to be the site of where the Christ will rebuild the Temple and establish his reign as our King, shouldn’t we at least try to respect it’s holiness? I know that in Christianity, we consider each believer to be a “Temple” containing the Holy Spirit, and we tend to look at ourselves as replacements for the physical Temple, but this “human Temple” imagery doesn’t preclude the future existence of a Third Temple. We tend to think that something is either this or that, left or right, one or the other, as if we are computers communicating in binary language, but since we’re dealing with God here, is it too difficult to believe we can be (metaphorically) a “Temple” and the physical Temple will one day be rebuilt by Messiah? Is it too much to ask for both?

Vayeitzei: Entering the Sacred Space

Jacob left Beer-sheba, and set out for Haran. He came upon a certain place and stopped there for the night, for the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. He had a dream; a stairway was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky, and angels of God were going up and down on it. And the Lord was standing beside him and He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac: the ground on which you are lying I will assign to you and to your offspring. Your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All the families of the earth shall bless themselves by you and your descendants. Remember, I am with you: I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is present in this place, and I did not know it!” Shaken, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.” Early in the morning, Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He named that site Bethel; but previously the name of the city had been Luz.

Genesis 28:10-19 (JPS Tanakh)

Jacob leaves his hometown of Beersheba and journeys to Charan. On the way, he encounters “the place” and sleeps there, dreaming of a ladder connecting heaven and earth, with angels climbing and descending on it; G‑d appears and promises that the land upon which he lies will be given to his descendants. In the morning, Jacob raises the stone on which he laid his head as an altar and monument, pledging that it will be made the house of G‑d.

“Vayeitzei in a Nutshell”
Commentary on Torah Portion Vayeitzei
Genesis 28:10-32:3

According to Rashi’s commentary on Genesis 28:11:

“The place” is Mount Moriah (the “Temple Mount” in Jerusalem, where Abraham had bound Isaac upon the altar and where King Solomon would erect the Holy Temple).

Whether that is literally true that Jacob chose to spend that night on the Temple Mount or not, there’s no way to know, but it is correct according to Jewish tradition. It’s also fitting that my commentary for this week’s Torah portion should be on the site of the Temple, given the sermon I heard at church last week. I’m not so certain that Christians can grasp what the Temple (and its current lack of existence) means to the Jewish people, since the center of our religious lives is the Messiah and not Jerusalem.

Why do we call G-d Hamakom, “The Place”? Said Rabbi Jose ben Chalafta: We do not know whether G-d is the place of His world or whether His world is His place. But when the verse (Exodus 33:21) states, “Behold, there is a place with Me,” it follows that G-d is the place of His world, but His world is not His place.

-Midrash Rabbah

Tisha b'Av at the Kotel 2007While Christianity too has its own rich mystic tradition, Protestantism tends to shy away from any such thing, so how Jews, and particularly the Chassidic tradition tends to view God, Moses, the Torah, and the Temple, seem not just mysterious, but almost completely silly. It’s probably why one fellow in the last Sunday’s Bible study class referred to Orthodox Jews adopting a certain manner of dress and Jewish dedication to praying at the Kotel as “putting God in a box.” Tradition, ritual, and looking outside the literal (English) language of the Bible (ironically) seem to Christians as if Jews are restricting God rather than letting “God be God.”

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman wrote a commentary on Vayeitzei and the Temple called The Temple Mount as Sacred Space. Sacred space? Not a “sacred place?”

Torah generally talks in terms of dual systems: Heaven and Earth; G-d and Man; Creator and created; Nothingness and something. So if we want to get into fascinating territory, we can ask: Where do they meet and what happens there?

The first description of such a place was given by Jacob, the third of the three fathers of the Jewish people. On his way leaving the land of Canaan he slept at a place and dreamt of a ladder with messengers of G-d ascending and descending. When he awoke, he exclaimed, “Y-H-V-H (–we pronounce that ‘Havayeh,’ as the Torah instructs us not to pronounce the four letter name of G-d the way it is written; more about this name later–) is in this place, and I didn’t realize!” Once this realization had hit him, he trembled and said, “This place is awesome!” (The classic Aramaic translation reads, “This is not a normal place.”) And then, “This could only be the house of Elokim, and this is the gateway of heaven!”

According to the sermon I heard last Sunday, “Israel’s history has been characterized by limiting worship to a sacred place, rather than a sacred person.” This is worded as if Israel had made a mistake and venerated the Temple as an act of faithlessness somehow, but that ignores how some religious Jews view the Temple Mount as “sacred space.” Even a plain-text reading of  Genesis 28:10-19 seems to suggest that God wasn’t there with Jacob just because God is everywhere, but because the place where Jacob slept was somehow special, as if the geographic location held some sort of supernatural and mystic significance. Small wonder that Jerusalem has been the object of strife and envy for thousands of years.

There’s a portion of Nehemiah that directs the Israelites to march around the boundaries of Jerusalem, and during his sermon, Pastor Randy said that when he takes his tour group to Israel next spring and they visit Jerusalem, the group will obey this “commandment” and literally walk around the Holy City. But in Nehemiah 12:27-47, it records that Nehemiah divided his choirs of Levites to march around the city to dedicate the wall of Jerusalem.

Maybe I’m thinking of a different part of the Tanakh.

It’s traditional during Sukkot for Jews and Christians to march around Jerusalem’s walls. Jews also march around Jerusalem to commemorate many Jewish tragedies on the 9th day of Av (Tisha B’Av).

While there are some Christians who have the drive and passion to position themselves to better understand Jews and Judaism, for most of us, it’s a bit of a stretch. That’s not because we can’t understand, but because we choose not to, or worse, because we choose to employ a totally maladaptive way of “understanding” Judaism that completely misses the point.

“Messianic Judaism”, or, “Evangelical Jewish Cosplay” is simply another attempt at awkward, text-based reconstructionism, except this awkward, text-based reconstructionism also poorly co-opts living Rabbinic Jewish traditions, creating a Frankenstein LARP that mocks both Jews and Christians.

If we, as Christians, cannot or will not enter “the sacred space” (and perhaps this is a space that only a Jew may enter) or even try to comprehend that it may well exist in our world, we shouldn’t deny the right of the Jews to enter there, nor should we denigrate them for wanting to enter with all of their hearts.

Although the world is generally a binary place, there is a third factor, that which binds and unites all opposites together–even space and non-space. And that, too, is the revelation exemplified by the Third Temple, may it be built very soon, sooner than we can imagine.

Good Shabbos.

Hope and Love

Canon White is not only concerned about the physical safety of the scrolls; he is also dedicated to what’s written on them.

“The thing that I really respect about how Jews live is that God is in everything. If you’re really Orthodox, God is not removed from anything. From the bathroom to the bracha [blessing] you make afterwards, you bless Him and you thank Him. Every time you say ‘Baruch ata Hashem,’ you are showing that you believe that He is the King of the Universe!”

He pauses. “Do I sound frum?”

Yes, he does. Canon White learned the lingo as the first non-Jewish student at the Karlin yeshiva in Jerusalem. A rabbi there permitted him to get a taste of Jewish learning.

He has grown from a student of Judaism into a teacher of it. He offers a weekly course about Judaism to Christians in Baghdad.

“The Iraqi Christians who come to my class are shocked,” says Canon White.

“They say that nobody has ever told them about Judaism before. It’s hard for them to accept that they’ve been told lies.

None of the young Iraqis have heard about the Holocaust. They don’t know how Christians have persecuted Jews.”

-by Ari Werth
“Struggle for the Scrolls”

Every once in a while, I’ll hear about an extraordinary person, an extraordinary Christian who really does love the Jewish people and Israel. In my circle of friends and acquaintances, I hear a lot about Christians loving Jews, but I don’t think the lot of us can hold a candle to the Vicar of Baghdad.

Andrew White is an Anglican priest risking his life helping Christians in Iraq. Even more dangerous, however, is what he volunteers to do – protecting the last few Iraqi Jews.

“I help Jews because the very heart of my own education, of my faith, is a love for Judaism,” says Canon White. “I don’t see how I can be a Christian without knowing my Jewish roots, and without loving them.”

Given the opportunity, I wonder how many of us would take the risks that White is taking to protect Iraqi Christians and Jews and to try to rescue the single largest collection of Torah scrolls in existence; 365 deteriorating Torah scrolls hidden away in a secret sub-basement in the Iraq Museum in Baghdad.

I said just the other day that no Christian would ever be admitted into a Yeshiva, but obviously I was wrong. As you read in the quote above, White is the first non-Jewish student ever admitted into the Karlin yeshiva in Jerusalem. His “reward” perhaps for truly dedicating his heart and his spirit to understanding the Jewish people and their closeness to God.

Ignorance, as Canon White calls it, prompted him to write a book about the Jewish roots of Christianity. He shared the newly finished manuscript . It describes several fundamental concepts and practices of Torah observance.

“There is nothing more inspiring than ‘Shema Yisrael,’” he writes in the upcoming book. “I say it every morning and every night. I taught my little boys to say ‘Shema’ before they go to sleep.” He’s planning on translating the book into Arabic. “The Muslims need to know that our faiths come out of Judaism and that therefore the Jews are our brothers, not our enemies. We need to learn from and love our older brother.”

Most believers live in a world where we’ve been taught that the Jews have been marginalized and that Christianity has ascended over them. I know the church is changing, but change is slow. Sometimes change can get sidetracked and Jewish practice and tradition isn’t dismissed, but rather taken over by non-Jewish “Christians” and reinvented as a new type of Christian faith. But there’s a difference between practicing Christianity with a thin Jewish veneer and what White is doing. When he teaches his children to say the Shema, (Deut. 11:19) he isn’t doing so in a way that diminishes the Jewish people but rather, in a manner that honors them. Canon White is one of the few Christians who really “gets it” as far as comprehending what it actually means to honor his faith and recognize Judaism as its root.

Christianity isn’t evil, in spite of what you may have heard in certain corners of the blogosphere. God is opening our eyes and turning our hearts. Men like Canon White are living proof of this (my final article in my supersessionism series for Messiah Journal, which will be published this coming winter, will show how White is hardly alone).

There’s another way to look at Christianity within the current context as well.

On the one hand, it is very difficult for Jews to accept that something is built on the spot of the Holy Temple.

On the other hand, we can thank God for the kindness He has shown – since I imagine He could have allowed a much less flattering structure built on it – like a parking lot, or a sanctuary to an idol. In this case, the Muslims believe in one God and treat the Temple Mount with sanctity.

In fact, Maimonides explains that other monotheistic religions have flourished in order to help spread essential Jewish ideals, to better prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah.

from “Ask the Rabbi”
“Temple Mount”

A strange attitude for a Rabbi to take regarding Islam (or Christianity) but then, it’s just as strange for an Anglican priest to teach Arab Muslims and Christians that Jews aren’t the enemy. Jesus himself said that “salvation is from the Jews” (John 4:22) and from a Jewish point of view, salvation is about both national Israel and the individual human being. And it’s about hope.

Each day we hope for Your salvation. -Shemoneh Esrei

The Talmud states that one of the questions that will be posed to each person on his or her day of judgment is, “Did you look forward to salvation?” While the question refers to anticipating the ultimate Redemption, it can also refer to the salvation of the individual.

Positive attitudes beget positive results, and negative attitudes beget negative results. Books have been written about people who have recovered from hopeless illnesses because, contrary to medical opinion, they did not give up hope. On the contrary, they maintained a positive attitude. While this phenomenon may be controversial (for many people are skeptical that cheerful outlooks can cure), people certainly can and have killed themselves by depression. With a negative attitude, a person suffering from an illness may even abandon those practices that can give strength and prolong life, such as the treatment itself.

I have seen a poster that displays birds in flight. Its caption comments, “They fly because they think they can.” We could do much if we did not despair of our capacity to do it.

Looking forward to Divine salvation is one such positive attitude. The Talmud states that even when the blade of an enemy’s sword is at our throat, we have no right to abandon hope of help.

No one can ever take hope from us, but we can surrender it voluntarily. How foolish to do so.

Today I shall…

try to always maintain a positive attitude and to hope for Divine salvation.

-Rabbi Abraham J Twerski
“Growing Each Day, Elul 11”

Never abandon hope, even when “the blade of an enemy’s sword is at our throat.” Men like Canon White give me hope in Christianity and the church. He shows me that Christians and Jews can co-exist, work, live, and worship God side-by-side in unity. We don’t have to do away with the Jews so that Christians can thrive. We don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” by creating new “Christian” religions or denominations or sects that discard the church and the Jewish people while taking over Jewish worship practices.

In the modern world, it’s difficult for me to have heroes. So many of them are revealed to be flawed and damaged human beings. I don’t know who Andrew White is behind the article I just read, but today, he became one of my heroes; one of the few. If I needed a model for how to be a Christian in relation to the Jewish people, I wouldn’t have to look any further than men like Canon White.

I hope you read all of the Ari Werth’s article Struggle for the Scrolls. If you haven’t, please do so now. Read it all. Scroll all the way to the bottom. There, you’ll find a section in yellow with information and links that instruct us on how to “save the scrolls” that are being held in Iraq. Read the article. Spread the word. So much of Jewish history has been lost to oppressors. If even some of the scrolls are still undamaged, we can return them to their rightful owners, the Jewish people.

To achieve wonders takes a heart both humble and fearless.

Yes, two opposites. But also from two opposite directions:

The mind awakens the heart to its nothingness, and by this, the soul G‑d gave you is bared in all its brazen power.

-Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
“Fierce and Humble”
Based on letters and talks of the Rebbe
Rabbi M. M. Schneerson

If you love Israel, and I know many of you reading my words do, then you can do something with that love. You can give hope.