MIKDASH-BUILD2 Iyar 5757
Today is day 17, which is 2 weeks and 3 days, of the Omer
Volume I, Number 26
Table of Contents
- 1. MAAMAR OF THE WEEK
- 2. NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
- 3. ENTERING THE HAR HABAYIT AND REBUILDING THE BEIT HAMIKDASH ACCORDING TO RAV KOOK'S TEACHINGS, part II
- 4. IN THE NEWS
MAAMAR OF THE WEEK
"And Hashem spoke to Moshe, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When you come to the land which I give to you, and shall reap the harvest, then you shall bring an "omer" of firstfruits of your harvest to the Kohen: and he shall wave the "omer" before Hashem, to be accepted for you: on the morrow of the Shabbat the Kohen shall waive it ... And you shall eat neither bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears, UNTIL THAT DAY, until you have brought an offering to your G-d: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings." (Vayikra 22:9-11,14)
The Mishnah states, "Raban Yochanan Beb Zakai enacted ... that the entire Day of the Waving (the 16th of Nisan when the "omer" (new barley harvest offering) would be waived and offered) should be completely forbidden (in eating the new grain harvest, which, when the Beit HaMikdash was standing was permited as soon as the "omer" was offered)."
What is the reason? The Beit HaMikdash will be quickly build, and people will say, "Last year, didn't we eat (from the new grain harvest) once the sunlight shined in the East? Let us now also eat then, and they will not realize that last year, when there was no "omer", the morning sunlight permitted (the new grain), but once there is an "omer", the "omer" permits (the new grain).
When would (the Beit HaMikdash) be built (for this problem to arise)? If it were to be built on the 16th, the morning sunlight would already permit (the new grain), so it must be built on the 15th. (In that case the new grain) should be permitted already at mid-day, as the Mishnah states, (Menachot 10:5) "Those distant (from the Beit HaMikdash) are permitted (to eat new grain) from mid-day, since the Bet Din (court) would never delay." The enactment is only necessary because the Beit HaMikdash could be built on the 15th close to sunset or at night.
Rav Nachman Bar Yitzchak said, Raban Yochanan Ben Zakai (established the Halacha (Jewish Law)) according to Rabbi Yehuda's opinion, which states, (Vayikra 22:14) "until that day", and he holds that "until" is inclusive ...
Talmud Rosh HaShana 30a-b
Table of Contents
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
Greetings to my fellow builders of the Beit HaMikdash.
I hope this long edition (in three emails) makes up for my hiatus.
At HaTenu'ah LeChinun HaMikdash, we would like to know who our fellow Mikdash builders are and how to reach them, so if those of you who have not already done so would be kind enough to send me your name, address, and telephone number, it would be appreciated.
Table of Contents
ENTERING THE HAR HABAYIT AND REBUILDING THE BEIT HAMIKDASH ACCORDING TO RAV KOOK'S TEACHINGS
Part II -- RAV KOOK'S TESTIMONY BEFORE THE BRITISH INQUIRY COMMISSION
by Rav Elitzur Segal
(originally published in Yibane HaMikdash, issues 92-93)
What Rav Kook said in front of the British inquiry commission in Eretz Yisrael (The Land of Israel) after the occurrences of 5689 (1929 ce) naturally drew much publicity, and to this day there are many who hold that this testimony represents his true halachic (Jewish Legal) opinion. Therefore, a precise clarification of his words there is of extremely importance.
I. THE PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY COMMISSION
The parliamentary inquiry commission came to Eretz Yisrael in order to investigate the reasons for the illegal mishaps and acts of violence that broke out in Palestine, according to the wording of the British government. The mandate of the commission was just to investigate who was guilty in the direct occurrences and to present recommendations on how to prevent recurrences of this situation. The commission was not given authority to evaluate the basic principals of the Mandate in and of itself or the Balfour Declaration. The Jews claimed that the uprising was organized by Arab leaders with at least passive support by the British Mandate. The Arabs claimed that the uproar broke out because of Jewish provocations, especially the desire of the Jews to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash on "Hiram El Sharif" -- Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount). The Mandate claimed that the uproar broke out spontaneously, without previous development, and it was impossible to anticipate in advance, and that it lacked the resource to to more than it did. When the uproar did break out, both sides, especially the Jews, asked the government to stop them at maximal speed.
The chairman of the commission was Sir Walter Sue, the President of the Supreme Court of Singapore, then a British colony. Each party represented in the British Parliament also sent a representative. These representatives were Hofkin Morris (Liberal Party), Harry Sneel (Labor Party), and Sir Henry Beterton (Conservative Party), They also brought a secretary, a translator, and a stenographer, all employees of the Ministry of Colonization.
The Zionist leadership employed the services of the lawyers Sir Frank Boyd Marimian and Lord Erly, and they brought an assistant lawyer. Marimian was then one of the most respectable lawyers in England, and for a period he served as Attorney General in London. Lord Erly was the son of the Viceroy of India and the son in law of Lord Melchet, one of the most important members of the House of Lords of that time.
The British Mandate was represented by Mr. Kinleam Fready, a lawyer from England, and Mr. Driton, the General Prosecutor of the British Mandate. The Arabs were represented by the lawyers Henry Stocker from England, Bei Abdul Haadi from Jerusalem, and Seali from Alexandria.
In the first meeting, the commission considered the request of news reporters to cover its work, and they decided that only four reporters could cover the commission's meetings -- one for Arabic newspapers, one for Hebrew newspapers, one for English newspapers, and one for papers of other languages. The commission explained that this decision was due to lack of space.
II. RAV KOOK'S TESTIMONY
Rav Kook testified on behalf of the Jews and appeared for two meetings of the commission. In the first meeting, the lawyers of the Zionist Union questioned him, and in the second he was cross examined by the lawyers of the Arabs and Mandate government. The first testimony was given at meeting 65 of the commission, which took place on Friday, 13 December 1929 (11 Tevet 5690), and Marimian, the lawyer of the Zionist leadership, questioned him. This testimony lasted from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM. The chairman of the commission, Sir Walter Sue, said to Rav Kook that because Shabbat was coming soon, he exempted him from appearing at the meeting in the afternoon, and that he will continue his testimony on Monday of next week. Rav Kook thanked him. The second testimony, which was the cross examination by the lawyers of the Arabs and Mandate government, was held on Monday, 16 December (19 Tevet) in the afternoon meeting, number 69.
I have three versions of Rav Kook's words. One is printed in "Maamarei HaReiyah", p. 458, reprinted from the "HaHod" newspaper Tevet 5690 (year 5), issue 4, on three pages. The second version is found in the pamphlet "Mishpat Ve'Edut", reprinted from the "Netiva" newspaper 5690, on seven pages. The third version is found in the inquiry commission's record, the "Full Report" of the work of "The Parliamentary Inquiry Commission in Jerusalem", starting from 24 October 1929. This book was published by Tel Aviv Publishers, P.O. Box 373 Tel Aviv (no date is printed on the book). This version was printed on 21 pages.
The difference in the length of the testimony in each source is a result of the fact that only one reporter from the Jewish newspapers was present at the deliberations of the commission. He wrote the deliberations for all of them and passed his transcript to all the newspapers. Every editor publicized the content he preferred. It is obvious that what one editor likes, another editor may disregard.
It should also be noted that the "Complete Report" is not really complete. It is based on the publicity in the newspapers "Davar", "Doar Hayom", "Haaretz", and "Palestine Bulletin", and in every case it brings down the most detailed version, so it is clear there is still much that was omitted. Here are some examples:
On page 73 of the "complete report", the following is written:
Answering one of many of the Arabs' lawyer Stocker's questions, if the opinions expressed in the declaration are a true expression of Rav Kook's outlook, Rav Kook answers that when three people write a joint statement, it is obvious that they agree to the expressions and words that they use. However, if you ask me about how these people feel, it is difficult do say that they are 100% in agreement.
The newspaper does not bother bringing down Stocker's many questions and Rav Kook's answers.
Another example is written on page 74.
Rav Kook gives long answers on Stocker's questions to the point that he says I am so tired from these long answers that I would stop for a minute or two, and I will not ask the questions I would like to ask.
Again, neither Stocker's questions nor Rav Kook's answers are brought down.
Again, in page 76, Stocker says, "I want to continue to question the witness, but because of the long answers I cannot continue." The chairman: "Do not be verbose on this." Hofkin Morris: "You are free to ask as many questions as you wish."
Apparently, this was the chairman and councilman's responses to the Arabs' lawyer's unspecified claims that Rav Kook gave exceedingly long and irrelevant answers. Here too, Rav Kook's long answers are not brought down.
It is safe to assume that in the commission, there was an atmosphere of a "war of nerves", and the reporters understood that the Rav Kook's long answers were only to make fun of the opponent and to pluck the bones of the Arabs' representative, and they therefore did not bring them down.
Therefore, it is understood that answers said in such a setting have limited value for those who seek the Torah's truth. Additionally, it is important to pay attention to Rav Kook's position of being interrogated before an inquiry commission of a foreign government and the resulting pressure. There is probably a full protocol of Rav Kook's words in the archives of the Ministry of Colonies in England, but it can be assumed that its reliability is less than the writings of the Hebrew newspapers because Rav Kook spoke in Hebrew. At the beginning of the cross-examination, Stocker, the Arabs' lawyer, is surprised that Rav Kook, who lived in England for three years, is not an English speaker, and that his words are translated to English by the commission's translator, Mr. Kissilb. He was a clerk of the imperial system, and the extent of his knowledge of Hebrew is questionable, and he certainly did not understand halachic precision. The translator's words were transcribed by a stenographer, also a clerk of the Ministry of Colonies, and it is safe to assume that the intricacies of Jewish Law was not among her expertise.
III. DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF RAV KOOK'S WORDS
The first relevant portion is found in the beginning of his first testimony, when he was questioned by Marimian. We will bring his words from the sources we have in front of us and deal with the differences between versions.
The "Complete Report of the Inquiry Commission" (part II, p. 28-29) states:
Marimian: It was told that the Jews are attempting a conspiracy against the Islamic holy places in Haram Al Sharif (Har HaBayit) Would you please explain the religious feelings of the Jews regarding rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem?
In order to understand the question, note that one of the main claims by the Arabs was that the pogroms broke out as a response to Jewish attempts to disrupt the mosques. The defense line of the lawyer for the Zionist leadership was that Jews could have no such intention. In order to prove his point, he invited Rav Kook. Rav Kook understood the defense line of the Zionist leadership, and he as certainly not interested in damaging it, and he tried to cooperate, even though it was against his opinion and desire.
Rav Kook: The matters tied to the Jewish People's awaiting the redemption of the land, as was promised by our Holy Prophets, can be divided into two categories. The first type includes matters in G-d's hands, similar to the miracles and wonders that G-d did when He took our forefathers out of Egypt. Man has no control over these matters. This promised redemption will be in this respect like the days of creation.
Marimian: Will the Day of Redemption come only for the Jewish People or for others as well?
The lawyer is trying to get the sympathy of the commission for the idea of the Redemption of the Jews by showing its universality.
Rav Kook: The main principal is that the salvation of Mashiach (Messianic king and redeemer) will bring blessing and peace to the entire world via the redemption of the Hebrew People. Marimian: Is it necessary that Mashiach will come for this day of redemption?
The lawyer is trying to show that building the Beit HaMikdash is not a practical matter.
Rav Kook: We of course believe that Hashem will send His Mashiach, who will be accepted by the whole world, and that from his hand will come all salvation and condolence. As I said, this is a matter of faith. We believe that in the End of Days the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt, and it will be a house of prayer for all nations.
Rav Kook's ambiguity is obvious. He refuses to say that Mashiach will build the Beit HaMikdash and tries to blur this by saying general things about faith.
Marimian: Before the day of redemption, is it permissible for the Hebrew People to do any actual activity to build the Beit HaMikdash?
Rav Kook: Until that day, we are forbidden to even enter the place of the Beit HaMikdash. On the holidays, when many Jews come to visit Jerusalem, I have a practice to publicize warnings not to enter, G-d forbid, into this holy place, as we are not fit until the redeemer comes. That it will be a divine action, without human intervention, that will achieve this goal.
The lawyer is stubbornly pushing Rav Kook to say that we do not want to build the Beit HaMikdash. Rav Kook, however, who understands his intention, out of public responsibility, answers that he has publicized a warning not to enter that holy place, and the lawyer is satisfied, and the wise will still understand.
Marimian: These are the divine actions. Is there another type?
Rav Kook: It is an eternal commandment that the Jewish People will be connected with this Holy Land. Our obligation is to make our greatest effort to show compassion for the soil and rebuild the ruins of this Holy Land, and to rightfully settle the barren land. Our obligation is to help this Holy Land, from which truth will come to the entire human race, in order that it should once again become the center of culture and a source of glory. It is upon us to do all that we can to realize this, for our sake and for our neighbors.
Rav Kook emphasizes that his actual activities are returning to Eretz Yisrael in a peaceful manner and refutes the Arabs' claim of Jewish provocation.
Marimian: You said that you customarily publicize warnings to Jerusalem's visitors not to walk to the Al Haram area. Because of its sanctity?
Rav Kook: I ONLY spoke of the are of the PLACE OF THE BEIT HAMIKDASH.
It is obvious here that Rav Kook cannot completely agree with the defense position of the Zionist leadership. He emphasizes here that it is permissible to enter the Har HaBayit, and only the area that the Beit HaMikdash stood is forbidden.
Marimian: Yes, but it is because of its sanctity. As I understood, it is because the people's defilement.
The advocate is trying to cover up the impression of Rav Kook's answer and continue with his planned position, not to differentiate between the place of the Beit HaMikdash and the entire Har HaBayit.
Rav Kook: Because the place is holy. We therefore need a special purification, AND THIS CAN ONLY COME IN THE HANDS OF HEAVEN.
Rav Kook is trying to help in another manner, which is more acceptable to the defense position.
Marimian: Is it the commandment of the Israelite religion that until the redeemer comes it is forbidden for a Jew to enter this holy place?
Marimian, in order to convince the members of the commission that there is no basis for the Mufti's claim that the Jews are plotting against the mosques on the Har HaBayit, he again covers up the difference between the place of the Beit HaMikdash and the entire Har HaBayit.
Rav Kook: This is OUR CUSTOM, especially by Jews who are careful in keeping the mitzvot.
(Again Rav Kook assists the defense to the best of his ability.)
To sum things up, it appears that the defense position of the Zionist leadership on this subject is not in sync with Rav Kook. The Zionist leadership took a position of denying any desire to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash. Rav Kook of course opposed this stance, and thought that we should say to gentiles that we do wish to build the Beit HaMikdash, but he tries to soften his words in other ways. But when he stood before the investigative commission, he apparently was concerned not to arouse the internal controversy with the representative of the Jews in front of the commission, out of fear of harsh consequences for the Jewish settlement, so he cooperated with Marimian on one hand, and tried not to be drawn after him on the other hand.
In the "Mishpat Ve'edut" pamphlet, collected from the "Netiva" newspaper, published by HaPoel HaMizrachi, these words are brought down in a slightly different manner. It is important to pay attention to the differences in significant halachic implications between the two versions. The editors of "Netiva" of HaPoel HaMizrachi, who were observant Jews, apparently understood better the subtleties of Rav Kook's style, and past it on to their readers.
It says here that the Jews have aspirations regarding the Islamic holy places in Haram Al Sharif. I would like that his honor would explain to the commission the relationship of the Jewish religion to erecting the Beit HaMikdash in Jerusalem.
The things tied to the hope of Israel for the redemption of the land, which was promised by our holy prophets, can be divided into two types. The first type deals MAINLY with heavenly matters. These things FUNDAMENTALLY resemble all the miracles that Hashem did to the Jews when He took them out of Egypt, and these matters are not in human control. This redemption, which was promised to us, resembles the actual days of creation.
The words "mainly" ("be'ikar") and "fundamentally" ("biysodam") were omitted from the "Full Report", apparently because their significance was not understood, that there is an opening in them for reservation. The words "mainly" and "fundamentally" explain, of course, that according to Rav Kook it is possible that rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash would be done not directly by Hashem.
Does the redemption just apply to the Jewish people, or does it spread to all other nations?
The main fundamental is that the redemption by the Mashiach will bring blessing and peace to the whole world via the liberation of the Jewish People.
Is nothing necessary, as only the Mashiach will bring the redemption?
We believe that when Hashem sends the Mashiach, the entire world will recognize him, and the world will be filled with blessing from him. All these things are matters of faith, and the higher goal of the REVITALIZATION will be rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash, which will be a sanctuary of peace for all nations.
Again, the word "revitalization" ("hatechiya") is missing in the "Full Report", and in the next peace here, it is implied that the national revitalization, which is the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash, is a natural, necessary continuation of the national awakening.
Is it permissible for the Jewish People, before the coming of Mashiach, to do any physical steps for the erection of the Beit HaMikdash?
The commandment of the Torah is, until the day of REVITALIZATION (the national revitalization mentioned previously) we are not allowed even to enter THE COURTYARD OF THE BEIT HAMIKDASH.
This emphasis is also missing in the "Full Report", and this explains Rav Kook's emphasis in his next words, that he just referred to the territory of the Beit HaMikdash, to imply that entrance to the Har HaBayit is permitted.
I customarily, on Jewish holidays, when many Jews come to the city, send them a warning not to enter this holy place, since we are not fit for this until the day of redemption comes, and then it will come about by the Hand of Hashem, without any action to push the end.
Have you said all you intended to say on the spiritual aspect? What can you say now about the physical aspect?
It is a complete commandment to Israel to be tied with a constant connection with the Holy Land. It is the obligation of the Jewish people to make an effort within our power that, if there are barren and destitute parts of the Holy Land, and it can be done justly, to settle the barren land. There is an obligation upon us to help this Holy Land, from which the truth will come forth to the whole world, to turn it into a center of culture and a source of praise. It is upon us to do all we can at every opportunity, with peaceful efforts, in order to realize this in peace and dignity for us and for our neighbors.
Honorable Rabbi, is this all you wish to say?
I could say more, if you ask me, but I wish to only answer the questions presented to me.
This question and answer is, too, omitted in the "Full Report". The bitterness of Rav Kook towards the defense line of the Zionist Union is obvious, as it was not coordinated in advance, and he is forces against his will to cooperate with them. This is especially obvious when the Arabs' representative complains about Rav Kook being to verbose.
You said that you publicized a warning to Jewish visitors not to go to the El Harem area.
I meant ONLY the old Beit HaMikdash area.
As emphasized previously, Rav Kook insists on saying to those who understand that entrance to the Har HaBayit is permissible, and only the Beit HaMikdash area is forbidden.
Because of its sanctity?
Yes, because of its sanctity.
And as I understand, because of personal defilement.
Since the place is holy, there is a need for a special purification, which can only come with ASSISTANCE of Divine Providence.
In the "Full Report", it is stated that the purification can only come in the hands of heaven, but the word "assistance" ("siyu'a") implies assistance of Divine Providence, not actually done directly by Hashem.
Doesn't the mitzvah of the Jewish religion forbid until the day of redemption any Jew from entering the place of the Beit HaMikdash? This is our CUSTOM, especially meticulously religious Jews.
In "Maamarei HaReiyah", vol. 2 page 458, taken from the newspaper "HaHod" Tevet 5690, Rav Kook's words are cited with this version:
The matter tied to the anticipation of Israel for the redemption of the land, as was promised by the holy prophets, can be divided into two types. One type includes things in the Hands of Heaven, similar to the miracles and wonders that Hashem performed when He took our forefathers out of Egypt. This things are OUT OF HUMAN CONTROL. This redemption promised to us will resemble in this regard the creation of the world and will bring blessing and peace to the entire world. We believe that Hashem will send His Mashiach, who the entire world will recognize, and from his hands all the salvations and consolations will come. This redemption is tied to the setting for the rebuilding of the Beit HaMikdash. But then the entire land will be filled with understanding of Hashem like water covers the sea, and all of humanity will recognize the great fortune of the Divine Presence returning to Zion, and our Beit HaMikdash will be a house of prayer and peace for all nations. Nevertheless, until we merit such a fortunate time, we are forbidden to enter the place of the Beit HaMikdash because before entering the place of the Beit HaMikdash WE REQUIRE A SPECIAL PURIFICATION THAT CAN COME ONLY IN THE HANDS OF HEAVEN. I
Customarily, before every holiday and festival, when many fellow Jews come up to our Holy City, publicize warnings about THE PROHIBITION TO ENTER THE HAR HABAYIT. Regarding the second type of redemption, it is an eternal command that the Jewish People will be tied to this holy land, from which truth will emanate to the entire human race, in order that it should be a center of Torah and culture, a source of glory. It is upon us to do all we can for our dignity and for a blessing to our neighbors.
In this version, the results of drastic editing are apparent. Rav Kook's words appear here in a most superficial media survey, and all intricacies definitely disappear. The entire atmosphere of interrogation disappears. One could think that Rav Kook is appearing before the inquiry commission as a lecturer on the subject of the Beit HaMikdash, and it is not so. Rav Kook was in the position of being interrogated and accused. Rav Kook's emphasis that he referred only to the actual territory of the Beit HaMikdash completely disappears. Rav Kook's "rebellion" in his unclear style of "help of Divine Providence", "the day or revitalization", "mainly in the hands of heaven", and "fundamentally" are completely erased. We see here how a newspaper short survey erases all intricacies and sensitivities and in actuality distorts Rav Kook's words, turning them from one extreme to the other.
IV. THE SPIRIT OF THE MACABEES
Another relevant piece is the dispute that came up in the commission regarding the term "Zealotry of the Macabees", which Rav Kook used. In this dispute, the subject of the Beit HaMikdash was brought up.
We find this in the "Full Report", part II, p. 34-45, and also in "Mishpat Ve'Edut", p. 12-13 with insignificant differences.
Marimian shows Rav Kook the sheet "Daily Mail" (Doar Hayom) from 18 August and asks him if he has any comments or if anything was left out when it went to print. Rav Kook: The first article is very short. I spoke for an hour about spiritual matters. If all my words were to be written, it would give the matter a more vigorous expression.
Since a dispute was aroused about the inference of the translation published in the "Daily Mail", the translator Mr. Kissilb retranslated the idea in front of the commission. It is stated there that Rav Kook expressed his heart felt gratitude to the youth on what they did (demonstrated for the Western Wall) since these actions testify to the sustained greatness of the nation and the zealotry of the Macabees (in "Mishpat Ve'Edut" self sacrifice of the Macabees) among them, and they are an expression of the holiness of the G-dly soul of Israel. This is also a proof that it is correct to sacrifice their lives to redeem our Holy Place (in "Mishpat Ve'Edut these holy places).
"We are sure," said Rav Kook, "that our hope will be realized by rightful and legal means. For the place behind the Western Wall -- for this we are expectantly standing for what is beyond human understanding. Still, regarding what stands on this side of the Western Wall -- we are obligated to make an effort and uphold things on a legal basis."
"It is unthinkable," continued Rav Kook, "that this Holy Place, revered in Judaism more than all synagogues together, will always remain surrounded by polluted houses and muddy trails. Nothing prevents expanding the plaza, except the secular Waqaf of the poor emptiness. Can't the thought of those knowledgeable of the law find a solution for this question?"
In "Mishpat Ve'Edut" it is added that when the translator read the English translation, Rav Kook wrote some notes on the newspaper in front of him.
Rav Kook: Let me add that I was more interested in the spirit of the youngsters than their demonstration.
Chairman: After hearing the new English translation, it appears to me that the translation of this idea, presented by Mr. Stocker, is a totally incorrect translation taken from an Arab newspaper.
Rav Kook: I also wanted to add that -- it says here that I was happy with what the youngster did. I said that I was happy with the spirit that inspired them to do what they did.
Marimian: Here your honorable is quoted as saying that the youth should self sacrifice. Is the intention that they should be martyrs in war.
Rav Kook: No, G-d forbid! It is understood that I did not mean that. I spoke of the self sacrifice needed to inspire them to dedicate their lives to the ideals of their People.
At first glance, it appears that Rav Kook is saying here that he expects something miraculous, but it is not so. First of all, Rav Kook probably was concerned that his words would reach hostile ears, as it indeed turned out. He therefore was careful and used ambiguous expressions. Secondly, "beyond human understanding" does not necessarily mean something miraculous, but it could be an international development like the Balfour Declaration or the declaration of the League of Nations, as Rav Kook writes in his letter to the Zionist leadership, as brought previously. The main point is that Rav Kook, as I said, being a realistic activist, wanted to manage a struggle for something with chances of success, like expansion of the Western Wall Plaza and control of the Wall itself, and he did not see a need to waist energy on a struggle which had no chance on the Mount itself. It is then obvious that when the situation changes, so does the struggle.
The subject of "zealotry of the Macabees" came up again when the Arabs' lawyer, in his concluding statement in front of the Commission, justified the Arabs' suspicion of Jewish aggression.
Stocker says the following, according the "Full Report", page 155:
Shlomo's Beit HaMikdash was destroyed 400 years after it was built. The second Beit HaMikdash was taken from the Jews for 160 years until Yehuda the Macabee reconquered it. I assume that this is the man that Rav Kook intended when he referred to the spirit of the Macabees in the hearts of the Jewish young protesters. This fact says a lot. Afterwards, Herod's structure was destroyed by Titus. Omer's mosque was built 600 years later. In the generations of Eretz Yisrael, the League of Nations' question is but a footstep away. A few years could bring big changes, so the assumption that the Mufti could not believe in these inclinations of the Jews is a declaration that any intelligent person would answer well, "The Jews would if they could." If I were the Mufti, I would also say this, without a doubt. The Jews, as self respecting people, must hope that Shlomo's Beit HaMikdash will one day be rebuilt in the same place that Omer's mosque is presently. This idea is not as absurd as it sounds.
These words from the Arabs' representative demonstrates that the approach of the Zionist leadership to say that we have no immediate desire to rebuild the Beit HaMikdash was a failure, at least in regards to the relations with Arabs. On the contrary, it brought degradation, disgrace and distrust for the Jews. Specifically the approach that Rav Kook brought before the British, which he was unable to present before this commission, which is that we are interested in building the Beit HaMikdash, but we want to do so through peace and international consensus, would have been a more respectable and believable approach.
V. WHAT RAV KOOK SAID IN FRONT OF THE COMMISSION SHOULD BE TAKEN WITH A GRAIN OF SALT
One should keep in mind that even if we had a recording of Rav Kook's testimony, or a summery signed by him, and not just summaries of reporters, their value would be very limited. No doubt, Rav Kook, in the position of being accused of potentially causing bloody riots with encouraging words to the protesters, he could not really speak his mind.
Nevertheless, the Maharsha"l in his work "Yam Shel Shlomo" (Baba Kama ch.4, note 19) deduces from the Talmudic passage (Baba Kama 38a) that it is forbidden to distort the Torah, even in a case of danger, and that we are obligated to sacrifice our lives to sanctify G-d's Name. And if, G-d forbid, one does distort, he has the legal status of one who denies Moshe's Torah. For this reason, according to the Maharsha"l, when the evil kingdom sent two officers to the Wise Men of Israel to study Torah, the Wise Men did not hide the law that an ox of a Jew that gores an ox of a gentile is exempt from payment, and that an ox of a gentile that gores an ox of a Jew, whether simple or established as violent, pays full damages.
However, in a parallel telling in the "Sifri" in Devarim, it says that the government told the officers to act as they are converting to Judaism. Hence, this is no proof to the Maharsha"l's ruling, as the Wise Men of Israel considered the officers to be genuine converts.
Thus, the Giants of Israel, have always customarily told distortions when the peace of Israel was at stake. Therefore, when they would tell over halachot (Jewish Law) about discrimination against gentiles, they would always say that this is talking about ancient gentiles or people in a distant land.
This was Rav Kook's custom, and he would refrain from telling gentiles something which would endanger Jews' lives. For example, when an exemption for yeshiva students from fighting in World War I was being considered, Rav Kook wrote to the government of Great Britain (Igrot HaReiyah 800) that even for a great "milchemet mitzvah" (commanded war), like the war between Avraham and the kings, we do not take out Torah scholars. His son Rav Tzvi Yehuda ztl has publicized that this letter is no proof to exempt yeshiva students from fighting in a "milchemet mitzvah" of Israel, since this letter was only written to exempt yeshiva students from fighting in Great Britain's war ("Lehilchot Tzibbur, paragraph 1).
Also in his testimony here regarding settling Eretz Yisrael, Rav Kook took the position he took in England during World War I. He said that the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael is constituted such that if there are desolate and barren places, we are commanded to settle them in a peaceful and just manner?!!! He wrote in "Chazon HaGeula" (p. 222) that the principal law obligates us to fight over Eretz Yisrael despite the potential loss of life. This is not merely a theoretical statement. Rav Kook acted on this, as stated in "Lekutei HaReiyah" (p. 74), that after the riots of 5680 (1920 ce), he was asked to sign a statement that we do not wish to conquer the land, and its justification was potential loss of life. Rav Kook refused to sign, saying that with the merit of building and conquering Eretz Yisrael, we will be redeemed.
It is also told in "Mo'adei HaReiyah (p. 486), that after the riots of 5689 (1929 ce), when a delegation from the National Committee tried to convince Rav Kook to recognize the Arab ownership of the Western Wall, with the claim of potential loss of life, Rav Kook forcefully refuse to acknowledge this.
No doubt, Marimian understood Rav Kook correctly-- the youth should be prepared to sacrifice their lives for Eretz Yisrael. Rav Kook, however, for self evident reasons, did not see fit to acknowledge this.
This is also the case regarding rebuilding the Beit HaMikdash. Despite Rav Kook's opposition to the position that the defense attorney presented, he refrained from burdening the defense, and he certified apparently incorrect things, and he also tried, to the best of his ability, to use ambiguous expressions, and the reporters did not always understand their true meaning.
So far, we have presented what Rav Kook said in front of gentiles and laymen. The next article discusses what Rav Kook said in front of rabbis.
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IN THE NEWS
News and Observations from Israel 20.4.97 By: Aaron Lerner
ISRAEL DOESN'T CONTROL THE TEMPLE MOUNT
"In any case, Israel doesn't control the Temple Mount, and those who think otherwise are either stupid or are fooling themselves." Interior Minister Eliyahu Suissa (Shas).
("Haaretz" 17 April, 1997)
If you do not approve of such irresponsible statements, you can contact Minister Eliyahu Suissa at:
Ministry of the Interior
2 Kaplan St., P.O.B. 6158
Kiryat Ben-Gurion, Jerusalem 91061
THE MID-EAST DISPATCH, DAILY NEWS FROM ISRAEL - ISSUE 336 - 6th May 1997
"LITTLE WAILING WALL" PLANNED FOR JEWISH PRAYER
The Religion Ministry plans to discuss setting up a new prayer area, nicknamed the "Little Wailing Wall" in the Moslem quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, despite police warnings that prayer at the site will create "a high security risk."
The Little Wailing Wall is part of a small alleyway located near the Atirat Kohanim Yeshiva. Like the Wailing Wall, it is part of the western retaining wall built in 20BC by Herod around the Second Temple, but is located in an area that is now dirty and dilapidated.
In the past, the Little Wailing Wall has been suggested as a prayer site for women or for Reform Jews. The Women of the Kotel (Wall) organization which has fought for equal prayer rights for women at the Wailing Wall has always rejected the idea, saying it is too dangerous given its location in the heart of a hostile neighborhood.
When the suggestion first arose, the police gave its opinion that "prayer at the site would constitute a high security risk due to its location in the midst of a hostile population and across from the entrance to the Temple Mount."
The Religion Ministry plans to hold discussions today with officials from the ministries of Housing, Interior Security, Transportation, Tourism and Education and Culture on a general plan, costing about 15 million shekels, to improve facilities for prayer and tourism in the old city. Under the plan, more than 2.5 million shekels would be allocated for the Little Western Wall, half of it to widen the alleyway and the rest to clean and fortify the structure.
Religion Ministry Director General says the plan, mentioned in the ministry's internal newsletter, is not politically motivated.
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