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1. CORNERSTONE BLOCKED BY POLICE
I arrived at the Western Wall Plaza at 9:20 am this morning just in time to see the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement's procession arrive within yards of the Temple Mount entrance. About 50-75 of the movement's supporters were singing and waving flags and placards while waiting for the cue from the rally's organizer, Gershon Salomon to ascend up the narrow path that leads to the entrance of the Temple Mount. It was clear that even before the marchers attempted their ascent that they
would not be permitted by police who had previously barricaded the entrance to prevent any disturbances. Surprisingly, the actual cornerstone was nowhere near the group's procession and remained
relatively unnoticed on a flatbed truck outside the Dung Gate in an Arab parking lot covered by an Israeli flag. The group did approach the Mugrabi Gate's entrance but was immediately halted by security police and told to leave. The marchers soon after turned back and quietly dispersed.
In contrast just a short distance away, the Western Wall was packed with thousands of Israelis who came to the Wall in order to hear the annual Aaronic benediction from (Numbers 6:24-26). This ancient blessing is recited by a Cohen (priest) during the fourth day of The Feast of Tabernacles over the people and nation of Israel. Ironically, most people at the Wall seemed unaware or unconcerned of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement's attempt at bring the cornerstone of the Third Temple up to the Temple Mount.
Gershon Saloman, the leader of the Temple Mount Faithful told reporters, "We know that we are living in a special and exciting time of the redemption of the people an the land of Israel, the Temple Mount and
Jerusalem. We are doing and shall continue to do everything that the Third Temple will soon be built in our lifetime for the honor of the God of Israel". (Bradley Antolovich-NRFJ)
October 7, 1998 ~ Tishrei 17, 5759
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NO AUTHENTIC THEOLOGICAL REASON WHY MOSLEMS SHOULD NOT RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL OF THE JEWISH STATE OF ISRAEL
by Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
JERUSALEM, July 10, 1998, Root & Branch: From an Islamic point of view, is there any fundamental reason which prohibits Moslems from recognizing Jerusalem both as an Islamic Holy Place and as the capital of the State of Israel?
I realize that a negative answer to the above question is taken for granted by popular opinion. My approach, however, is not based on popular opinion or the current political situation, but on a theological analysis of authentic Islamic sources.
JERUSALEM IN THE KORAN
The most common argument against Moslem acknowledgment of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem is that, since al-Quds [Jerusalem] (1) is a Holy Place for Moslems, Moslems cannot accept that it is ruled by non-Moslems, because such acceptance amounts to a betrayal of Islam.
Before expressing our point of view on this question, we must reflect upon the reason for which Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa [the Al Aksa mosque] hold such a sacred position in Islamic faith.
As is well known, the inclusion of Jerusalem among Islamic holy places derives from al-Mi'raj, the Ascension of the Prophet Muhammad to heaven. The Ascension began at the Rock, usually identified by Moslem scholars as the Foundation Stone of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem referred to in Jewish sources.
Recalling this link requires us to admit that there is no connection between al-Miraj [the Ascension] and Moslem sovereign rights over Jerusalem since, in the time that al-Miraj took place, the City was not under Islamic, but under Byzantine administration. Moreover, the Koran expressly recognizes that Jerusalem plays for Jews the same role that Mecca does for Moslems.
"...They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other's direction of prayer..." (2)
All Koranic commentators explain that "thy qiblah" [direction of prayer for Moslems] is clearly the Ka'bah of Mecca, while "their qiblah" [direction of prayer for Jews] refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
To quote only one of the most important Moslem commentators, we read in Qadn Baydawn's Commentary:
"Verily, in their prayers Jews orientate themselves toward the Rock (sakhrah), while Christians orientate themselves eastwards..." (3)
In complete opposition to what "Islamic" fundamentalists continuously claim, the Book of Islam [the Koran] - as we have just now seen - recognizes Jerusalem as the Jewish direction of prayer.
Some Moslem commentators also quote the Book of Daniel (4) as a proof for this.
After reviewing the relevant Koranic passages concerning this matter, I conclude that, as no one denies Moslems complete sovereignty over Mecca, from an Islamic point of view - despite opposing, groundless claims - there is no reason for Moslems to deny the State of Israel - which is a JEWISH state - complete sovereignty over Jerusalem.
Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi
1. Arabic name of Jerusalem, from the root q-d-s, meaning "holiness." It is an abridged form of Bayt al-maqdis, "the sanctified House" or "the House of the Sanctuary", an exact equivalent of the Hebrew Beth ha-mikdash. The name originally referred only to the Temple Mount, and was afterward extended to the City as a whole. This extension of meaning became common among Arabs from the tenth century C.E. onwards. Earlier Islamic sources use the name Iliyia, an adaptation to Arabic pronunciation of the Roman name Aelia.
2. Koran 2:145.
3. M. Shaykh Zadeh Hashiyyah 'ali Tafsir al-Qadn al-Baydawn (Istanbul 1979), Vol. 1, p. 456.
4. Daniel 6:10
Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi, of Rome, Italy, is Moslem Co-Chairman of the Root & Branch Association's Islam-Israel Fellowship, which encourages a positive Moslem attitude towards Jews and Israel based on a re-examination of the authentic teachings of Mohammed as revealed by the Koran and Hadith (Islamic oral tradition). Dr. Asher Eder of Jerusalem, Israel, is the Jewish Co-Chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship.
Prof. Palazzi is also Secretary General of the Italian Muslim Association, an Imam (spiritual teacher) of the Italian Islamic Community, and holds a Ph.D in Islamic Sciences by decreee of the Grand Mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
THE TEMPLE AS AN ECONOMIC CENTER
by Rav Elitzur Segal
(translated by Aharon Halamish, email@example.com)
[first article in a series]
We principally think of the Temple as a spiritual center.
However, there is another side, which we normally disregard, that the Temple was also a very powerful economic center, through which a tremendous amount of money passed. As an economic center, it bought and sold agricultural produce - plants, spices, wine, metals, woven materials and also animals. The center also dealt with problems of employing workers, including strikes, medical insurance, the devotion of workers and their good name, and also put out tenders for suppliers, transferred money and expensive materials in guarded caravans, was damaged by thieves and all kinds of robbers, and employed many means of collecting debts applied against those who refused to pay.
a) Constant income - the half shekel
The financial year of the Temple commenced on the first of the month of Nissan. According to the Mishna, in the Shkalim tractate, on this date they started using income from the new year and financial surpluses from the previous year were transferred for other uses.
Which income arrived on the first of Nissan?
Every Jewish male from the age of thirteen years and one day and above was obligated to pay half a shekel to the Temple. The value of this coin is about between seven and ten grams of pure silver. At today's prices - about ten NIS. In the year 1984, the government company for medallions and coins issued, with the blessing of the Chief Rabbis of that time, the Rav Shlomo Goren and the Rav Ovadia Yosef, a coin, a remembrance of the half shekel, which compared with the ancient coin of half a shekel. This coin is made from ten grams of pure silver and about two additional grams of another metal, and its price is 75 NIS, not because of the value of the metal, but because of its neumistic value in following years.
Women and minors are not obligated to pay the half shekel. However, if they gave it, it is received from them. A minor, whose father began giving the half shekel on his behalf for one year, is not permitted to stop giving, and must continue to give on his behalf.
Gentiles are not permitted to participate in the half shekel. Even if they gave voluntarily, it is not received from them, because this money is dedicated to public sacrifices for the whole of Israel.
However, a gentile is permitted to give a sacrifice in the Temple of the type "Olat Nedava" (a voluntary sacrifice). He can also make a sacrifice even today to the Almighty anywhere where he builds a platform, this being, however, forbidden for Jews. This is because Jews are only permitted to make sacrifices in the Temple, as I explained in a previous articles in "Yibane Hamikdash" and in "Tchumin".
This amount is, of course, relatively small and it was sufficient only when the organization for collection was very extensive, or when other incomes flowed to the temple. At the beginning of the period of the second temple, this amount was in fact not enough and therefore, for the purpose of the half shekel, a Persian coin was given. This was the "drachon", whose values was four times that of the value of the shekel appearing in the Torah. Over a period of time, the sum was gradually reduced, until the half shekel returned to its original value. For the purpose of the half shekel, all members of Israel are equal. That is to say, no one can say "I shall give a whole shekel or more". He can only give the amount which he is obligated to give. Even during the period when all Israel gave more than half a shekel, an equal amount was given even by women and minors, for whom the giving of half a shekel was voluntary. They are not permitted to add to or to reduce from this amount.
This is because these moneys are dedicated to obligatory sacrifices in which every man from Israel is equal, and no one has a greater privilege than another in the sacrifices.
From this, we learn that the equality of the giving has the meaning that we, Israel, when coming before the Almighty, are all equal in His eyes, with no distinction between a rich or a poor person. Everyone is desirable to the same extent.
It is worthwhile adding, that the individual can not bring, on his own behalf, the permanent sacrifice which is sacrificed every day, for the same reason: everyone from Israel has the same part in the constant sacrifice and no one has preference over anyone else.
On the first of Adar, the announcements were made regarding the obligation to give half a shekel to the Temple for the new year. Even in our period, we read in the Torah, on the Sabbath preceding the new moon of Adar, the portion concerning the half shekel in the Torah, as a remembrance of the Temple. On the 15th of Adar, the money changers in the Temple began setting up their tables - the collection points - in many places. Even in our time, we have the custom of giving charity on the eve of Purim, and this is called "half a shekel", as a remembrance of the Temple.
On the 25th of Adar, the central treasury in the Temple was opened and from this date it began to employ collection methods against those who had not yet paid. The collectors came to the house of the person who had not paid, and took articles as a pledge, in order to guarantee the payment on time of the half shekel. However, the messengers were not permitted to enter the house. The owner of the house would select an article and give it to them as a pledge. If the owner of the house refused to give a pledge to the representatives of the court, they were required to return to the court in order to obtain explicit permission to remove a pledge.
Means of collection were not employed against Cohanim, because of reasons of peace, despite the fact that they were also obligated to give half a shekel, since they themselves were sacrificing the sacrifices. It was enough to apply moral pressure on them.
In general, there was a lack of coins of half a shekel. As a result, the treasurers collected a payment for changing larger coins into the smaller coins of half a shekel. One who gave a coin of a whole shekel and received from the treasury two coins of half a shekel in exchange, was obligated to pay for the exchange process. He paid with a small coin called a "colbon". Even in the case where two people gave a whole shekel for both of them, they were obligated to give a "colbon" to the Temple in addition to the shekel that they gave. However, if someone gave a shekel for himself and for another person who was not obligated by law, he was not charged an extra "colbon". If a man gave a shekel for himself and for his wife, or for himself and for his small child, he did not have to give a "colbon" to the Temple.
After the treasurers collected all the amount that the inhabitants of a particular region were obligated to pay, they sent the money to the Temple in Jerusalem. At this stage, the coins of half a shekel were exchanged for coins of greater value to facilitate transporting them. The messengers carrying the shekels to Jerusalem were considered to be "paid guards". It seems, that the economic center of the Temple had a security company - therefore, as paid guards, they were obligated to report cases of theft and loss and were free of responsibility in the case where it was not their fault. A ship that sank in the sea, for example, or an armed robber, were considered cases of duress. The "security company" whose employees were paid watchmen, were required to take an oath. However, the question arose, to whom were they required to swear, to the treasurers or to the inhabitants of the town, who had contributed the money?
In addition, there was a question of under which conditions would the economic office of the Temple be required to bear the loss and under which conditions would the inhabitants of the region, that had sent the half shekel, have to pay for the loss?
"Three times in a year, the economic office were contributing". In other words, the economic office issued money to the treasurers for current expenses, such as the purchase of animals for sacrifices, Levona, incense, wood, wine, oil, flower, woven material, etc., required by the Temple. How did they take out money for the treasurers?
Three times in a year, money was removed for the office: on the first of Nissan, on the 24th of Iyar and on the 29th of Elul (always 15 days before a festival). They put three boxes into the office, each box having a volume of three "Se'in" (about 9 liters), and they filled it with coins. If the money provided by those who gave half a shekel had been transported by a ship, for example, from Zor to Jerusalem, and unfortunately the ship was sunk or was robbed on the 2nd of Nissan, the "security company" was obligated to swear to the treasurers, since on the first of Nissan, money had already been removed from the office. In other words, those who had sent the money had calculated that the money would arrive for the first transfer (on the first of Nissan) and that all the money would have arrived as a contribution to the office before money was transferred from the office to the treasurers. The money that had already arrived and the money that had not yet arrived despite the fact that those who had given it thought that it would arrive on time, are already considered to be money belonging to the office. This is the principle. Therefore, the loss was caused to the Temple, and the security company had to swear to the treasurers.
However, if the ship had sunk or had been robbed before the first of Nissan, it was considered as if it had not yet been sent to the Temple and had not yet entered the treasury of the Temple, even if it was on its way there. According to this principle, the security company had caused damage to the inhabitants of the town because it had not brought their money to the Temple on the correct date. They therefore had to swear to the inhabitants of the town that they had not carried out a crime, and the inhabitant of the town were obligated to bear the damage and send alternative money to the treasury of the Temple.
We see here an interesting method of solving the problem of claims of negligence. An oath - placing a person against his conscience. Had he been negligent in his guarding. Even today, under suitable conditions, this method of investigating claims of negligence is preferable to the methods employed in law courts, which cause prolongation of cases and blocking of the legal system.
When the moneys arrived at the Temple, they were reconverted into coins of half a shekel and deposited in the central treasury.
It is interesting to note, that according to the New Testament, when Jesus the Christian went up to Jerusalem and saw the money changers in the Temple court, who exchanged the money of the pilgrims for the money required for purchase of the various types of the sacrifices, and the sellers of pigeons who sold pigeons to women who had given birth and were obligated to bring them as a sacrifice, he saw this as profanation of holiness and caused a great commotion in the Temple court. Here we see the tremendous difference between us and Christianity. What he saw as a profanation of holiness, we consider to be greater holiness. Making money and materialism subservient to holiness is the greatest form of holiness.
The half shekel was intended for public sacrifices and money was not deducted from it for other purposes, such as building the walls or making repairs to the Temple. Only at the end of the financial year were the surplus amounts transferred for other purposes.
b) Varying incomes
In addition to the half shekel, the Temple received other amounts on a non-permanent basis. If there was not enough money in the boxes of the half shekel, the other amounts were re-allocated for the purpose of purchasing sacrifices.
What were these moneys?
In the central collection point in the Temple, there were 13 trumpets. These were boxes built in the form of a trumpet, broad at the bottom and narrow at the top. Each box was intended for a different payment of the Temple expenses. The boxes were constructed in this shape so that it would be impossible to steal from them. A person would be unable to put his hand into the box in order to give money, as it were, and at the same time remove a coin of a larger value than that he had given. There were 13 trumpets of this type at all the collection points, that were set up at various places (the tables).
One of the trumpets was for the half shekels of the current year and another for the half shekels of the previous year.
One trumpet was intended for the use of women who had given birth. Such a woman was obligated to bring a pair of doves as a sacrifice, one as an "olah" and the second as a sin offering. The sages referred to this pair of doves as a "nest". Some of the women who had given birth used to come to the Temple in order to see how their sacrifice was being made. However, not all the women who had given birth, even if they lived in Jerusalem, were able to do so. Therefore, a woman who had given birth, who had placed the price of a pair of doves into the box in the Temple - i.e., into the appropriate trumpet - could be sure that by the evening her sacrifice would have been made. In other regions of the country, women who had given birth gave the appropriate amount of money to the Temple treasurers, who made sure that the money was transferred to Jerusalem and used for making sacrifices on behalf of the women.
Another trumpet was used for providing a gold coating in the Temple. Those who had contributed gold for coating the house of the Holy of Holies with gold, gave the gold in the appropriate box. There was no need for daily work using this gold. It was not stored in the treasury, but instead a golden vine was made for it, having leaves, berries, and bunches. This was placed on the entrance to the Temple, apparently because David compared the people of Israel to a vine, in the book of Psalms. When there was need, some of this gold was taken for maintenance work in the Temple.
This vine greatly impressed visitors to the Temple. A Roman historian relates, that he did not know what the Jews worshipped and there were those who believed that they worshipped the God of wine, because of the vine which was placed on the entrance to the Temple. However, he did not believe this, since the ritual to the wine god was accompanied by rejoicing, but the Jews were always very sad - presumably since drunkenness amongst Jews was considered by him to be sadness.
There were other trumpets into which contributions were given for additional purposes, such as wood, incense, etc.
Families who had the franchise for the supply of wood to the Temple, made those days when they went up to Jerusalem to give the wood, into special rejoicing days, which were called "the days of the sacrifice of the wood".
There were also contributions, not made through the trumpets. Contributions were made to the Temple even of such things as building materials. It is related of Rabi Hanina, that all the inhabitants of his town brought sacrifices to the Temple and he did not have anything to give. He took a stone, engraved it, and wished to take it up to Jerusalem, but did not succeed in hiring workers at a price which he could afford. The Almighty arranged five angels for him in human shape, who only requested five "Sla'im", whose value today is about 20 NIS, and they took his stone up to Jerusalem. When he wished to pay their wages, they vanished. They told him in the hewn stone chamber: it appears that the serving angels brought your stone to Jerusalem. He gave to the sages the money that he had wished to pay to the angels.
There was also an office for vessels in the Temple, where vessels contributed to the Temple were stored. Every 30 days, the treasurer entered and examined the vessels. Vessels that were needed for the Temple, were put into current use. Vessels that were not needed, were auctioned every month - the person who offered the greatest amount bought it.
In general, the Temple operated in a way that today we would call correct administration. Everything that had been dedicated but was not required immediately, was auctioned - the person who made the greatest offer bought it.
It should be emphasized, that the Temple itself was also obligated to participate in these auctions and it would make the first offer. The minimum price that it was permitted to offer was four Prutot - at today's prices a coin of ten Agorot. The reason was, that if the owners themselves redeemed the article, they had to give an additional fifth. Therefore, in order that there would be significance to the fifth, they had to offer a price for which the additional amount was one Pruta.
This is the place to point out that the Halachic fifth was an overall fifth, which included the amount paid. That is to say, a quarter. For example: the fifth of a shekel is 25 agorot and not 20 agorot. This is because the fifth is calculated as a fifth of 125 agorot, that is to say, a fifth of 125%. In the language of the sages, "a Malbar fifth", from outside.
All the amounts, apart of course from those that were dedicated to voluntary sacrifices, were used for renovation of the Temple - that is, for the maintenance work of the Temple. Surpluses were used for improving the appearance of Jerusalem, and repairing and renovating roads, used by the pilgrims when going up to Jerusalem.
The obligatory sacrifices were financed only from the half shekels - no one from Israel was able to say that his contribution to the obligatory sacrifices was greater than anyone else's.
In addition, the Temple also dealt with social security. It had a special office, where money was contributed for charity. The treasurers from this office looked after poor people of a good background, secretly. In the following articles, we shall see the deep involvement of the Temple in the social welfare policy of the entire country. (MIKDASH-BUILD, 8 Adar 5758, Volume II, Number 9).
THE TEMPLE AS AN ECONOMIC CENTER
Second Article: The Temple Treasury as a Political Factor
by Rav Elitzur Segal
(translated by Aharon Halamish, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The treasury of the Temple was used not only for the direct purposes for which it was intended - for current expenses and renovations of the Temple - but was also indirectly a form of national saving fund used by the government in times of emergency. The enemies of Israel attempted to gain control of this treasury, from time to time, as part of their attempt to gain control of Yehuda.
A. The treasury of the Temple during the period of the first Temple
During the whole period of the first Temple, the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries appear as one unit. It is always written that in peaceful periods, the kings deposited money and the equivalent of money in the Temple treasury and in periods of emergency used it.
Three conquests of Jerusalem took place in the period of the first Temple and during all three of them the treasuries of the Temple of G-d and the royal treasuries are referred to as a single unit, as part of the loot of the conquerors.
During the period of Rechav'am, the son of Solomon, Shishak, the king of Egypt, conquered Jerusalem for a short period, and amongst the loot that he took, it is stated that he removed the treasuries of the Temple of G-d and also the treasuries of the royal house.
Yo'ash, the king of Israel took all the silver and gold and all the vessels which were found in the Temple and in the royal treasuries.
Nebuchadnezzar took the treasuries of the Temple and the royal treasuries, both after the first conquest in the period of Yehoyachin, and also after the destruction in the days of Zidkiyahu.
It is related that four kings used the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries, in order to bribe foreign kings and to get out of danger.
Assa removed silver and gold from the Temple treasury and from the royal treasuries and sent them to Ben Hadad from Damascus, in order that he would fight against Ba'asha, the king of Israel, and would save him. This bribe succeeded in removing the threat of the king of Israel from Yehuda.
Yo'ash, the king of Yehuda, used the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries in order to bribe Haza'el, the king of Aram, who conquered Gat, in the land of the Philistines, and wanted to also go up to Jerusalem. Haza'el changed his plans and returned to Aram and left Jerusalem alone.
Achaz sent the silver and gold in the Temple and the royal treasuries to Tiglat Pil'eser, the king of Ashur, in order that he would save him from the siege placed upon him by the king of Aram and the king of Israel. In this case also, the bribe succeeded and the king of Ashur went up to Damascus and Shomron and conquered them.
Hizkiyahu took all the silver and gold in the Temple treasury and the royal treasuries and gave it to Sancheriv, the king of Ashur, in order that he would not go up to Jerusalem. For this purpose he even chopped off the doors of the Temple, which were coated with gold, and sent them to the king of Ashur. We have not found such a thing in the case of any other king. Before his time, no king dared to make use of part of the Temple itself. Actually, the sages said that in this matter the sages did not agree with Hizkiyahu, even though he was a righteous king. This act, as opposed to what his predecessors had done, did not succeed. The king of Ashur took the treasures, but despite this went up to Jerusalem.
Perhaps these things are really interconnected. Since Hizkiyahu damaged the Temple itself, the Almighty influenced the heart of the king of Babylon so that he would not accept his present, and would go up to Jerusalem. This was in order to teach Hizkiyahu that despite all the importance of political international considerations, the Almighty is, however, the ruler of them all, and Jerusalem was saved from the threat of conquest not because of the statesmanship of Hizkiyahu but through a miracle.
However, we have not found criticism in the Bible or in the words of the sages regarding the use of the Temple treasures during times of emergency for the people and the country, or an allegation that this is embezzlement of holy things of the Temple. Perhaps the explanation is that the Temple treasury was a kind of national emergency treasury for use during periods of emergency and the holy treasury was originally intended for this purpose. This was so, even though parts of the Temple itself were apparently forbidden to be used.
b) The Temple treasury during the period of the Second Temple
We have no source in the Bible for use made of the Temple treasury for state purposes during the period of the Second Temple. We have to rely on evidence appearing in the external books - the books of Hashmonaim and the books of Josephus Flavius.
At the beginning of the period of the Second Temple, the money was used for current expenditures for the needs of the Temple and surpluses had not yet accumulated. Not only this, but the building of the Temple was only enabled as a result of massive support from the Persian government, when Coresh and afterwards Daryavesh and Artachshasta allocated tremendous amounts of money to the construction of the Temple and the safeguarding of the current work in it.
However, it appears, that immediately after the beginning of the period of the Greece government, the situation changed and the kings of Greece began collecting money from the Temple treasury. During the period of the rule of Yehonatan, the brother of Yehuda the Maccabi, one of the pretenders to the throne, Selvacius, attempted to draw the Hashmonaim to his side. Amongst other promises, he promised Yehonatan not to make further deductions from the Temple treasury of five thousand silver shekels, which from the first years had been deducted from the Temple income every year. (On a rough estimate, with today's values, we are talking of a sum of about 50,000 NIS). It appears, that this was a tax that was paid considerably earlier than the period of the evil Antiochus. However, we do not know when this tax was first deducted from the money of the Temple treasury. It is likely, that the tax was applied immediately after the beginning of the Greek period, and that they found a tax that had already existed since the end of the Persian period. In any case, we have not found a source which says that the application of a tax to the Temple treasury caused bad relations between the Jews and the Greeks.
However, the relations between the Jews and the Greeks became very bad during the period of the father of the evil Antiochus, Selevcus, who attempted to confiscate the Temple treasury.
The crisis arose from an internal conflict in the Jewish leadership and not as a result of external pressure. One of the important inhabitants of Jerusalem had an argument with the High Priest regarding the management of the market. It can be assumed that the subject of the dispute was so marginal that the people who made the account did not bother to describe it at all, or perhaps they did not know what it was about. After that particular person did not succeed in overcoming the High Priest, he applied to King Selevcus, and informed him that tremendous treasures were found in the Temple treasury, and it would be advisable that they be confiscated and sent to the royal treasury. Selevcus sent a representative called Heliodus, who announced that he had come to pay a routine visit.
After he had examined the Temple treasury, he announced to the High Priest that he had come for the purpose of confiscating all the money and transferring it to the king. After tremendous excitement was caused by this act in Jerusalem, Haliodus in the end left the treasures and did not take them with him. He informed the king thatif he had an enemy that he wanted to get rid off, it would be a good idea to send him to Jerusalem.
From this historical event we have learnt two principal things. The first is the tremendous treasures stored in the Temple treasury, and the second concerning sources of the treasure:
The Temple treasury at that time amounted to 400 cicars of silver and 200 cicars of gold.
The weight of a cicar is about 30 Kg. Therefore, in the Temple treasury there was at that time 12 tons of silver and 6 tons of gold. At today's values, this amounts to about 12 million NIS of silver and about 100 million NIS of gold. The sources of the silver of the treasury were generally from deposits, of orphans and widows, and the rest came from the deposits of a very rich person called Horkanus Ben Tuvia.
Therefore, it appears, that the Temple treasury acted as a kind of bank, which provided guarding services to people who deposited money there, even though it is not related whether this guarding was done for payment or not.
This conclusion, that internal disputes cause national crisis, continued throughout the entire period of the second Temple: the revolt of the Hashmonaim occurred during the period of the son of Selevcus, who attempted to rob the Temple treasury. This was Antiochus the fourth, Epiphanes, who is known to us as Antiochus the Evil. The revolt did not commence at once, but was proceeded by many provocative acts.
Antiochus appointed a High Priest called Menelaos, because the latter promised him 300 silver cicars. Menelaos returned his debts by means of robbery in general, and specifically the robbery of the Temple vessels. This act caused commotion in Yehuda. An open revolt against Menelaos took place while Antiochus was fighting in Egypt. After returning from there, he thought that the revolt was against him, and therefore put it down with great bloodshed. He conquered the Temple and robbed all its treasures and vessels, that came to a total of 1800 cicars. At today's values we are talking about 540 million NIS.
This robbery was the catalyst for the revolt of the Hashmonaim, which occurred a little later. Here also, we should remember that Antiochus was drawn into an anti-Jewish policy as a result of the internal disputes amongst the Jews. It should be assumed that were it not for Menelaos and his Helenized friends, the Jews could have worshipped the Lord quietly, without attracting the hostile attention of the evil king.
During the period of the revolt and the reconstruction period which followed it, the Temple treasury was emptied. According to the sages, we know that the Hashmonaim did not have the money to make a golden Menorah, and therefore made it from simple metal. When they became richer, they made it from silver, and only afterwards, from gold. However, as was the case before the revolt, after a lot of money had become accumulated at the Temple, the Temple treasury once again became a factor in the internal and external policy of the people of Israel.
After many years, and as a result of an internal dispute, the Temple treasury was once again damaged.
The sons of the queen Shlomzion, Horkanus and Aristoblus, fought one another for the kingdom. A war of this type invited a crisis. However, in this case, in addition to the internal crisis, an external one occurred. Pompius, the Roman, arrived with his legions in Asia. When he came to Antiochia (in modern times, Antakia in
Turkey), he informed the two brothers who were fighting one another that they should come to him and he would decide who would rule over Yehuda. Pompius decided in favor of Horkanus. The supporters of Aristoblus did not accept this decision and Pompius conquered Jerusalem by force. It is clear that Pompius and his legions did not come to the region in order to take a breath of fresh air, but without the extreme internal crises, perhaps they would have come to an arrangement with him, that would have been better for the Jews and their country.
When Pompius conquered Jerusalem, there were in the Temple treasury 2000 cicars of silver of the holy moneys, apart from the Temple vessels. At today's prices we are talking of about 600 million NIS. Pompius, as a careful statesman, avoided touching them, in order not to arouse unnecessary resistance. Flavius gives this as a fine example of righteousness, despite the fact that at the time of his reception, Pompius entered the house of the Holy of Holies.
However, the Temple treasury was not saved for a long time. One of the Roman leaders, Craseus, wished to go to war with the Partheans. In order to finance this war, he came to Yehuda and took the Temple treasury that Pompius had left there, amounting to 2000 cicars, and also took an ingot of gold of 300 mana (a mana is about half a kg). That is to say, the ingot weighed 150 Kg of gold, which are equivalent to about 2,000,000 NIS. In Flavius's words, the value of the rest of the Temple vessels was then 8000 cicars, which is almost 3 milliard NIS, apart from the treasury(!). They were saved after giving the gold ingot covered with wood which was used for supporting
the curtains of the Temple. After the robbery of the Temple, Craseus set off to the war with the Partheans and he and all his army were destroyed there.
The Temple treasury is mentioned again at the time of the destruction. Flavius relates, that at the time of the destruction itself, the Roman set fire to the offices where tremendous sums of silver, heaps of the Priest's robes, and many other valuables were deposited. This was a place where, in practice, all the riches of the Jews were accumulated, because the rich people transferred all their valuable property there.
One priest, who received from Titus a promise under oath that he would be saved on condition that he would remove the Holy valuables, gave two Menorot that were similar to those placed in the Temple, tables, chalices and bars, all made from pure gold and very heavy, and also the curtains and the robes of the High Priest, together with precious stones and many ancillary vessels, which were used for the work in the Temple. The treasurer of the Temple, Pinchas, was also taken prisoner and he gave to the Romans the cloths and the robes and much purple and scarlet cloth that was deposited there for safety for the purpose of repairing the curtains, together with a tremendous amount of other forms of incense, that the priests mixed together and offered as incense every day to the Lord, and many other valuable articles, including holy decorations. As a result, he was awarded an amnesty intended for those fleeing, despite the fact that he was forcibly captured.
It is therefore not surprising, that after the conquest of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, the value of gold throughout Syria dropped to half its previous value.
Apparently, even after the destruction of the Temple, the Jews continued to collect money and valuable materials for the Temple treasury and hid them in many safe secret places. One of the Roman Ceasars even made a coin to commemorate his success in uncovering such hidden treasures, and it appears that their collection continued until after the period of the revolt of Bar Kochva.
This review of the history of the Temple treasury in the period of the first and second Temples, teaches us that the Temple treasury was not only a financial source for the current functioning of the Temple, but also formed a kind of national saving fund for periods of emergency for the kings, and also provided protection services for the general public.
The desire of enemies to rob the Temple treasury performed an important political function, and was the principle catalyst for the revolt of the Hashmonaim and the revolt of the destruction.
The conclusion arising from the history of the Temple treasury is, that it is impossible to be a rich and weak people. Without the capability of power to defend the treasure, it is impossible to be rich.
CHILDREN WANTED FOR THE FUTURE TEMPLE SERVICE
An ultra-orthodox Jewish sect is searching for parents willing to hand over newborn sons, to be raised in isolation and purity in preparation for the rebuilding of the Biblical Temple in Jerusalem.
Only members of the Jewish priestly caste (Kohanim) need apply,according to a report in the Haaretz newspaper, dated March 1st.
The Movement for Establishing the Temple wants to keep the children in a secluded compound in the hills of Jerusalem.
"The idea is to raise a child, who from the moment of birth will nottouch the dead, not be under the same roof with the dead, and will not even be in a hospital...where the dead are also found,'' Yosef Elboim, the rabbi assigned to finding willing parents, told Haaretz.
Once the boys turn 13 they will be able to slaughter and burn a sacred red heifer, literally a holy cow, and sprinkle its ashes on people, in a purification ritual last performed in Biblical times.
The ritual is meant to cleanse those who have come into contact with the dead and prepare them for the reconstruction of the Temple destroyed in 70 AD. "Today, when there is no one undefiled who can prepare the ashes in a state of purity, there is a problem, which we intend to solve with the help of priestly children," Elboim said.
Even if willing parents step forth, the sect will still face a majorproblem -- finding an unblemished red heifer. (Reuters)
IINS News Headlines <http://www.iinsnews.com> March 2, 1998.. 4 Adar 5758.. Volume III, Number 397
ARAFAT''S MUFTI CALLS FOR DESTRUCTION OF U.S.
For the second time in two months, a senior Palestinian Authority official, appointed by Yasser Arafat, has called for the destruction of the United States. The PA's Islamic mufti, Ikrama Sabri, made the remarks during his Friday (September 12) sermon delivered at the Al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem. The sermon was broadcast on the official PA radio station VOICE OF PALESTINE, immediately after the station carried a 10-minute address to Palestinians by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Excerpts follow: "Oh Muslims, we must raise our voices against America, its ally Britain and all the infidel nations and say that Israel is stealing our land and establishing illegal settlements ...Why does America support settlements in Israel? Are the settlements not terrorism? And therefore, America is the chief of the terrorists. Oh Allah, destroy America, her agents and her allies!
"Cast them into their own traps, and cover the White House with black! Oh Muslims, our brothers in faith everywhere, the purpose of the American Secretary of State's visit to Palestine is to support the Israeli position regarding deceitful security and fanatical settlements...The strategic covenant between Zionism and the Crusaders [Muslim reference to Christians] is a satanic alliance hostile to Islam and the Muslims and we expect no good from it. The Muslim masses in Palestine and the world over condemn Albright's declarations issued today and in the past two days. The masses condemn America's pro-Israeli stance, which demonstrates that global forces, the heretics, the terrorists and those filled with hate are forging an alliance against Islam and Muslims ... Oh Allah, destroy America, her agents and allies! Allah, raise the flag of Islam over the Al-Aksa mosque, Jerusalem and Palestine..."
According to the Israeli government press office, the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER (September 7 1997) has reported that the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation -- under whose auspices the VOICE OF PALESTINE operates -- has received US government funding.