Thursday, July 29, 2010

Siting the Temple in Jerusalem

The following was sent to as a comment.

Is it true that the Temple cannot be placed on ground that was used for a pagan high place or for pagan sacrifices?

If that is the case, there is an outstanding allegation made by architect Tuvia Sagiv that the site of the Dome of the Rock is a former pagan high place, and in addition to this it's known that the Al Aqsa mosque was built over the Roman Temple of Jupiter. Sagiv's study of the geology of the area suggests that locating any remnant of either the First or Second Temples at the Dome or anywhere north of it would be very unlikely because the bedrock itself breaks through to the surface inside the Dome edifice. Historically, he argues that the wall surrounding the Temple grounds had to be raised to stop a nosy evil king from peering from his palace into the grounds; the sightlines required to substantiate this would have been broken by siting the Temple at the Dome or north of it, regardless of the height of the wall. In the southern location in the garden between the Dome and Al Aqsa, a low wall allows a sightline from that former ancient palace into the area, and a high wall prevents it, according to Sagiv.

So he suggests the likelihood of the Temple having been located in the garden of Al-Kas midway between the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa. Now, when I looked at the aerial photo and mapped diagram you have on the Bird's Eye Guide, I noticed a strikingly similar outline of a rectangular area in the garden, to the southwest of the Bird's Eye Temple diagram, matching the outline of the Temple, Inner Court and Women's Court, and it looks like it would fit very neatly right between the two Muslim structures. This also puts the Holy of Holies much closer to the Western Wall, where it would lie on the other side just to the northeast.

Sagiv himself suggests the Fountain of Al-Kas is centered right about where the Holy of Holies once stood, but I think that if it were located there, it would make it more difficult to ensure access to a clean water supply for the whole Temple; only the high priest would have been able to get to it, and how would it get channeled to the laver of cleansing in the inner court? I think it's more likely that it was on the south side of the inner court where regular priests could get the water to the laver and the altar. The Holy of Holies from what I understand received the blood tokens of sacrifice, so it would have been unsuitable to have the spring feed right under it because of sanitation issues. (Think about where the well of a house usually is. Not under the kitchen or bathroom! Near an outside wall or outside of the house entirely.)

However, it seems to me that the broad points of Sagiv's hypothesis would solve some vexing problems, most notably with having to demolish all or parts of the Dome mosque and with siting the Temple on any former pagan temple or worship site. I was also impressed by his scientific evidence of massive foundations right underneath the garden, as shown in nocturnal infrared imagery of the site. You can view a synopsis of his theory included with the other two major theories of siting in the following link:

And another analysis here:

So with qualifications, that's my two cents... what do you think?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Michael Savage still banned in Britain?

I sent the following to the Hon. Madam Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:

"I'd like to know what the State Department is doing to lift the travel ban the United Kingdom has unfairly and possibly illegally imposed on radio talk show host Dr. Michael Savage, Ph.D. I'm told that under the new government of Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK still maintains a list on which this man, who has done nothing but exercise his freedom of speech, a right recognized both by the British unwritten Constitution and the US Bill of Rights, remains lumped in with terrorists and war criminals. Is speech that is controversial and disagreeable to be considered terrorism now? If that's so, how can anyone respect the rule of law under a Constitution in either country that specifies freedom of speech as a right? How can anyone even work for a government in either country that is so blatantly ignoring a law abiding citizen's right to speak his conscience directly to a nation and to the world? What is the United States' answer to this breach of a private citizen's freedoms by an ostensible allied nation that supposedly shares the values of liberty and fair play?"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Temple Mount may be in danger on Tisha B'Av 5770

The following was sent to the office of the Prime Minister of Israel:

It is my deep concern that there may be a lack of preparation for a possible total disaster on the Temple Mount and around the Western Wall. It seems to me there need to be systems in place to evacuate people rapidly in the event that the Mount really is unstable, and some precipitating event like an earthquake or careless or malevolent human activity causes it to collapse, God forbid during a holiday like Tisha B'Av or a Muslim feast day where many people are attracted to the Mount area.

I can't speak to expertise because I'm not an archaeologist or an engineer, I just see certain patterns in the way things are going. Ninth of Av in particular appears to be a very dangerous time historically to be around the Mount. A source called points to the numerous instances in Jewish history where this particular date has figured in some disaster involving this site. Given that repetition of events, I should think it would be a very good time, if not to convince people to stay home, to at least be absolutely and fully prepared for the unimaginably worst to happen. My concern is tripled this year because of other circumstances such as increased threat of earthquakes connected to solar eclipses (such as the one coming up July 11, just 8 days before 9th of Av commences this year), continued reports of excavation, legal and not, and of rumors of impending war with Iran over its intentions of destroying Israel and acquiring nuclear weapons.

It should be noted that the Shiite sectarians very likely hold a grudge against the Sunni Muslims for their guerrillas having repeatedly and savagely attacked the third holiest shrine in all of Shia Islam -- the Mosque in the holy city of Najaf, Iraq. It is not out of the question that Shiite terrorists may try to avenge Najaf with an attack on the third holiest shrine in SUNNI Islam -- the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa, in other words, the Temple Mount. Shiite-ruled Iran may indeed be looking for a pretext to destroy the Mount by air attack or clandestine means in the event of a war with Israel.

Anyway, please forward this message to the appropriate authorities and may G-d bless the nation of Israel and its people. Shalom.