Peace at the Temple Mount – a “koan”* to be solved by the Jews
Gottfried Hutter, Theologian, Psychotherapist, Author of this Peace Initiative, Founder and Chairman of the Temple-Project Association
Peace at the Temple Mount – how can it be attained? Muslims obviously mistrust the status quo, which does not allow Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. Thus there are more and more disturbances, especially on the occasion of the Jewish New Year, because of the ever-increasing numbers of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount, despite that prohibition.
Owing to their dogma of secularism, American politicians have been blind to the religious background. They can only insist on observing the status quo.
Israeli politicians, too, insist on the status quo. The Israeli Chief Rabbinate supports it unreservedly. The Chief Rabbis state clearly that only the Messiah will bring the New Temple – yet more and more people are already thinking about that now. Rabbi Glick is one of them. He urges that Jews be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. For that reason one Muslim terrorist tried to kill him. But, having recovered after that attack, he is now a candidate for the Knesset in the party of the Prime Minister.
The majority of Israelis still decisively reject the idea – but sentiments change. More and more people are asking what should be the design of a New Temple. What function should it fulfill? Should there be animal sacrifices? – But also, might not the entire world laugh at such an idea?
Reform Jews are quite clear about this: animal sacrifices are a thing of the past. Today’s culture is not a pastoral one. Today’s sacrifices must be different. Already immediately after the destruction of the Temple the Rabbis made it clear that all future sacrifices were to be immaterial; they would consist in living according to the spirit of the law.
But there is no-one in Judaism today who is able to decree that with divine authority, as did the prophets of old.
Consequently, the question of the [design of the] Temple remains unanswered, yet simultaneously more virulent than ever, as shown by the increasing level of disturbances at the Temple Mount.
Orthodox Jews point to the Messiah, but nobody knows when the Messiah may come – in a thousand years, or tomorrow? Does that mean that Orthodox Jews are not allowed to think about the question of the Temple? As a symbol of the spiritual connectedness of the People of God and God’s presence among them the Temple will retain its validity, even necessity, at least in thought, today, as yesterday, and tomorrow.
Could not the present disturbances at the Temple Mount be seen as a natural reminder urging Jews to resolve the questions relating to a New Temple today?
Whatever the case, the status quo cannot be a permanent solution, because it obscures the reality of the Jewish claim. It is thus a clear sign, visible to all: the solution is still missing. The status quo is certainly a sign that for many Jews today the chosen status of their people has become problematic –despite the fact that Jews occupy leading positions in many branches of our civilization. But do the Jews also hold such a position in regard to the spiritual-moral evolution of our species?
The disputes over the future shape of a New Temple might prove to be the catalyst they need if they are to clarify their calling.
*) In Zen a koan is an enigma that can be decoded only where spiritual mastery is present; in other words, the koan is given as a challenge in order to evoke spiritual mastery.
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