Friday, May 06, 2005
Visiting the Temple Mount (click here for the whole thing)...
So, on Thursday morning, I went to a mikveh and dunked with a b'racha (this is the only occasion for which a male dunks in the mikveh with a b'racha). Dressed in non-leather shoes, the group of 15 or so Jews gathered at the bottom of the ramp near the women's side of the Kotel.
After an extensive security check by police, the head policeman carefully examined our ID cards and wrote down our details. Apparently, the police often photograph those going up, for their records, but in our case, this did not happen.
We were then gathered in a group where the police lectured us as to what was permitted on the Mount: no praying, no moving your lips in prayer, no bowing down, nothing that looks like prayer. No singing, dancing or holding signs. No shouting. The police ended their speech by saying that "anyone seen praying will be immediately arrested, while the rest of the group will be thrown off the Mount."
The words seemed more appropriate for the Vatican in the Middle Ages; one had to pinch oneself to believe that this speech was being given by a Jewish policeman, in the Jewish state, regarding the holiest site in Judaism.
Nonetheless, we all nodded our agreement and began our short ascent. It is difficult to describe the overwhelming feeling that came over me and my group as we approached the actual platform of the Mount. I felt like I was walking into the Palace of the King, similar to the final moments of Yom Kippur. A guy next to me was actually trembling and I thought that he may faint.
Click here for the whole thing.