Thursday, April 21, 2011

Prayer and Politics

Thousands of Jews gather at the Western Wall plaza, on the second of the Intermediate Days of Passover (the first such day for Jews abroad), for special holiday prayers - especially the Birkat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:23-27). It has become traditional since the Six Day War in 1967 when the Temple Mount and the Old City was recaptured, occupied or liberated, depending on where you stand. It commemorates the Biblical obligation to visit the Temple on the three festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot. In particular, the descendants or Aaron – the Kohanim – fulfil their obligation to bless the nation and for non-Kohanim also to be blessed. The holiday prayers emphasise the goal of not just returning to the Wall – the outer perimeter - but to the Mount itself.

Forty-seven Jewish intellectuals yesterday signed a petition calling for a unilateral settlement involving autonomy for Judea, Samaria, the West Bank, and, of course, East Jerusalem. The UN will in all probability vote for unilateral declaration as requested by Mahmoud Abbas in the summer. If such happens, Jewish settlers will doubtless be driven out, including those in the City.
In Rabbinic literature: ‘Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, Jerusalem took nine
The final Pesach toast is: “L'Shana Haba'a B'yerushalayim”. (next year in Jerusalem) Oh, yes.

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