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THE HIDDEN VESSELS OF THE TEMPLE

by Moshe Notzar, (Yibane HaMikdash 108, originally published: "Yom HaShishi" 8 Av 5756)

"When the Beit HaMikdash will be rebuilt" is the source of vitality for Jews throughout the generations.

The first task for the Jews of Israel, upon hearing the Shofar of Mashiach, will be how to find the Vessels of the Temple ASAP. According to our information, the first probable place to look is...

The National Museum in Akkaba, Jordan.

The lost Temple Vessels are not there, but the treasurer of the museum can point the seekers to the scroll that refers to the "Secret Tunnel", that according to Sefer HaHashmonaim, the prophet Yirmiyahu hid the Vessels of the First Beit Mikdash including the Ark, the Alter, and many more Vessels.

Before the first Israeli diplomats arrived at the hotel in Akkaba for the secret meetings with King Hussein, American Jews tried to reach agreements with the National Museum's management that would enable the treasurer of the museum to open the Copper Scroll secretly brought to their treasures by two Bedouin shepherds. They found them on one of the mountainous valleys near Akkaba.

This ties one mountain in Jordan with the lost Temple Vessels. Rav Menachem Borstein, one of the great experts in the subject, reveals that the discussions with the Hashemite Kingdom regarding the Temple Vessels were until now so extensive , that he himself, as well as all involved, are amazed that nothing leaked to the media all those years.

This was another type of "secrecy" regarding the hiding place of the Vessels. "It appears that it was just not meant for this to leak outside," say Rav Borstein.

One of the less known sources about the Temple Vessels is the Sefer HaHashmonaim. There it is written explicitly that the prophet Yirmiyahu hid the First Temple Vessels, the Ark, and the Alter "on the mountain that Moshe Rabeinu saw." This definition has been the subject of investigation for hundreds of years, since Moshe Rabeinu, who saw the mountain, did not write or hint it in the Torah.

Many researchers identify the mountain to be Mount Nevo, and even now one mountain thought to be Mount Nevo has a beautiful entrance with floors that have descriptions and pictures of the Temple Vessels. It appears, according to Rav Borstein, that the heads of this church considered this to be the mountain that Yirmiyahu hid the Temple Vessels.

A HIGHLY PRESSURED JOURNEY

Over the generations, many great Jewish researchers have unsuccessfully searched for the Temple Vessels in Jordan. The first sign of life came twenty-five years ago when two Bedouin shepherds came to the National Museum in Akkaba and told the treasurer about the scroll they found in one of the mountainous caves. The treasurers of the museum received a copper scroll and were afraid to open it and tear up its contents, lest they open it and it would completely disintegrate.

Since the scroll was copper, it was possible to read its lines from its back side. The then manager almost fell from his chair when he read the text. Only two years later had the scroll reached his hands, and he was privileged to announce that in the few lines he was able to read, he had a detailed description of how to get to the.. Jewish Temple Vessels, and that the author gives a detailed design of the Vessels themselves.

Once the scroll was discovered by Jewish scholars, tremendous pressure fell on the Hashemite Kingdom, especially on the management of the National Museum in Akkaba., to open the scroll to Jewish scholars and to allow them, possibly, to go up to the end of the last thread leading to the secret tunnel.

A delegation of Jewish scholars secretly arrived in Akkaba and tried to speak heart to heart to the Jordanians and show them the importance the Jewish People places on the lost Vessels. The Jordanians got the message; they need no explanation. They were aware of the rare treasure that they happened to have, but they tried to convince the Jewish scholars that if they tried to open the scroll, it would crumble in their hands, and no one would benefit.

Jews are Jews, and regarding the Beit HaMikdash, they certainly will forgo no effort to find a solution. Prof. Kandi, an expert for decades in decoding hidden and ancient scrolls, was hired, and he suggest the Jordanians slice it systematically, and he waged his honor in the method's success. In the end, the managers of the Jordanian National Museum entrusted the scrolls to Prof. Kandi. Using a special device, he succeeded to slice the scroll and identify 90% of the text.

DIFFERING OPINIONS

The scroll is 2.40 meters long and 28 cm wide. The letters resembled Ancient Hebrew, and every line guides the readers to the density of the cave with precise description of the Vessels hidden there. The only thing the author did not reveal was ... where the tunnel was.

"Everything was written there, except the exact place of the tunnel," Rav Borstein wrings his hands and testifies, that before the scroll was opened, the Jewish scholars were hoping to find the path to the Temple Vessels. This hope was ended.

Rav Borstein continues and says that the scholars also disagree as to when the scroll was written. Some claimed that the Temple Vessels described there were the Vessels prepared by Bar Kochba for the Third Temple, still to be built. Bar Kochba, who many claimed was the Mashiach, prepared all the Temple Vessels. After he realized that the Beit HaMikdash would not be built in his lifetime, he hid the Vessels and saw fit to document their location in a special scroll that he also hid in a cave, until the Bedouin shepherds found it.

Many scholars attribute the scroll to the Temple Vessels that the prophet Yirmiyahu buried, and the subject is thus the original Temple Vessels. If they succeed in the end to decode from the scroll the location of the tunnel, it will be possible to reach the actual Vessels.

BAGHDAD'S INPUT

Rav Borstein him self has tried his own ways to reveal the Vessels. His system of connections is secretive, but the letter he pulls out shows that they must be extensive.

The letter that he receive 13 years ago is sign by the heads of the National Museum in ... Baghdad. Yes, this is in the Baghdad of Saddam Hussein. According to sources that Rav Borstein found in Cabalistic literature, the First Temple Vessels are hidden in Baghdad. "The most natural thing was that I directly contact the Iraqi National Museum and try to clarify if they know any details of this subject."

To his Rav Borstein's surprise, within a few days he received an important letter which included ... an invitation to visit the museum in Iraq. The treasurer informed him that he has many objects and Vessels for the First Jewish Temple Period, "and I will be very happy if you honor me with a visit to Baghdad to identify the objects," writes the Iraqi treasurer.

When we asked Rav Borstein if he accepted the invitation, he requested to leave the question in "no comment". (from MIKDASH-BUILD, , 4 Kislev 5757 Volume I, Number 10.

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MINISTER HASSAN TAHBOUB & HUSSEINI ON TEMPLE MOUNT

Aaron Lerner, 20 October 1996

IMRA interviewed Adnan Al Husseini, the Executive Director of the Waqf, in English, on October 20, 1996.

IMRA: How do you see Jewish activity at the Western Wall when an agreement is finally reached about Jerusalem?

Husseini: We do not want to talk of details but there is something very important: we have to insist that East Jerusalem is part of the Palestinian state. If you want real peace you need a strong Palestinian state beside Israel.

IMRA: Do you think that the Jews will be permitted to disturb the Al Aksa services by blowing shofars at the Western Wall like they do today during certain holidays?

Husseini: I do not think so. I think that the governments will have to take care of the extreme people.

The Jews should understand that the Moslems are there at Al Aksa due to God's decision and this is written in the holy book and it is very important to understand the famous visit of Mohammed there. Since then it is God's decision and after that the Prophet. This is from God from the holy book.

Islam respects all the religions and took care of all the holy books and safeguarded the lives of all non-Moslems. We have to respect the factor of time and the new understanding which took place and not look backwards two thousand years. Otherwise there will be no peace forever. The Moslems are there and it is a mosque and they must understand it.

_____________________

IMRA interviewed the Palestinian Authority Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs, Hassan Tahboob, in English, on October 20, 1996.

IMRA: When will the new mosque be open in Solomon's Stables in Jerusalem?

Tahboob: It is not a new mosque, it is a prayer space within the Aksa Mosque area. We consider the entire area of the Aksa Mosque to be a mosque. We expect it to open for prayers by the end of the week.

IMRA: How large is the facility?

Tahboob: Very large. It can hold more than 4,000 people.

IMRA: Jerusalem is cold in the winter, will there be heating?

Tahboob: It will be all right. We have carpets on the floor.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director 
IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
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ISRAELI ARABS RAISE HALF MILLION SHEKEL FOR AL AKSA

30,000 Israeli Arabs attended a rally "to save the Al Aksa Mosque" at the Um Al Fachem stadium and raised NIS 500,000 to continue renovations of the Al Aksa area. ("Haaretz" 13 October, 1996)

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FROM THE WRITINGS OF THE RAMBAM

On Tuesday, 4 Heshvan 5026, we left Acre to ascend to Jerusalem midst danger, and I entered the Great Holy Place and prayed there on hursday, 6 Heshvan. These two days... I vowed would be holy days of prayer and joy in G-d and of drinking and drinking. May G-d help me in all these endures and may I be able to fulfill my vow to G-d. Amen. And just as I merited to pray there in its ruins, so may I and all Israel see it consoled speedily. Amen. (Sefer HaCharedim Mitzvat Tshuva Chapter 3)

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SPECIAL REPORT: 
THE BATTLE FOR THE TEMPLE MOUNT

(Jerusalem Report Cover Story October 3, 1996)


by: Yossi Klein Halevi

For nearly 30 years, an uneasy status quo prevailed on the Temple Mount--- Jordan effectively controlling the site, Palestinians aspiring to it, and most Orthodox Jews considering it too holy to walk upon. Now, though, Yasser Arafat is doing his best to edge out the Jordanians, and an increasing number of Jews are asserting their own historical right. The conflicting claims are threatening to turn what is already the region's most sensitive ground into a real flash point.

THEY WERE BACK AGAIN ON. Tisha Be'av, the summer fast day commemorating the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple. As in previous years, a handful of members of the Temple Mount Faithful fringe group gathered near the Western Wall plaza to protest Muslim control of the Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest site, shouting into TV cameras about Jewish pride and Arab perfidy and government appeasement. Then, just as predictably, another handful of zealots from the far-right Hai Vekayam group---whose leader, Yehudah Etzion, was jailed in the mid 80s for plotting to blow up the Muslim Dome of the Rock as a prelude to the rebuilding of the Temple were carried off by police after trying to illegally pray on the Mount. Both events received the requisite media coverage, confirming for much of the public that the demand for a formal Jewish presence on theTemple Mount remains a marginal issue even within the Orthodox community, championed only by fanatics and cranks.

And yet later that same day---unreported by the media---a thousand religious Zionists, including rabbis and students from mainstream yeshivahs, silently gathered in the vaulted, tunnel-like entrance to the Temple Mount's "Cotton Gate," intending to pray on the Mount. They were blocked by a tight row of police. And so the mostly young men and women prayed where they stood, asking God to undo Israel's "shame" and restore the Temple: "Just as we've seen it in ruins, let us merit seeing its rebuilding." One man blew into a silver, thin-stemmed sort of trumpet---a replica of an instrument played in the ancient Temple---filling the dark tunnel with piercing, brassy sounds.

In the past, the Temple Mount was indeed a marginal, almost untouchable issue in the religious Zionist community. Preoccupied with settlement-building, and fearful of violating the rabbinical precept against treading on the ground that once held the Temple's inner sanctum, the Holy of Holies, religious Zionists simply avoided the issue, implicitly leaving the resolution of the Temple Mount conflict to messianic times. That passivity suited the Mount's Muslim guardians, who object to all worshipers from other faiths praying there.

BUT NOW THE ORTHODOX Jewish attitude is beginning to change. Partly it's the result of years of educational outreach. Tens of thousands of religious Zionists---including students in state-sponsored religious high schools---have attended lectures and slide presentations by organizations like the Temple Institute, a group funded partially by the government whose Jerusalem museum houses gold and silver replicas of Temple implements (ready for use in a rebuilt Temple), and which sponsored the Tisha Be'av gathering at the Cotton Gate.

The Netanyahu victory has raised expectations of a change in the so-called "status quo"---which grants Jews the right to visit but not pray on the Mount, and which gives Israeli police authority at its gates but Muslim officials control within. Netanyahu's government is the first to include in its coalition guidelines implicit support for Jewish prayer on the Mount, promising to "guarantee the rights of the Jews to pray in all the places holy to them." Already under pressure not to exacerbate tensions with the Palestinians, Netanyahu is unlikely to initiate any changes on the Mount for now. "The government has no intention of altering the status quo," promises Jerusalem mayor and Netanyahu confidant Ehud Olmert. And Temple Mount activists lost a major potential ally in August when justice minister Yaakov Neeman was forced to resign following allegations of wrongdoing. Neeman was the first serving minister ever to participate in prayers on the Mount---joining a small and private afternoon prayer group this past Tisha Be'av in the Makhkema, a building at the southern entrance to the Mount that serves as Border Police headquarters.

But the activists have begun an unprecedented dialogue with the new government. In mid July, Netanyahu adviser David Bar-Illan told them he sympathized with their position, on civil liberties grounds. "People used to smile when they'd mention us," says veteran activist Yisrael Medad. "Now we're taken seriously, and in some religious Zionist circles, very seriously." Activists have presented the government with a list of demands, including establishing a tourist center overlooking the Mount, which would explain the site's significance for Jews; turning part of the Makhkema into asynagogue; and ending the veto power of the waqf, the Muslim Religious Trust, over Jewish prayer. And though none of those demands is likely to be met at this stage, Netanyahu is apparently receptive to allowing Jewish "study groups" onto the Mount, according to Nadav Shragai, a Ha'aretz reporter and author of a recent book on the Temple Mount conflict. "But he wants to be sure the study groups don't turn into prayer groups," says Shragai, adding that Netanyahu intends to include the prayer issue in final-status talks with the Palestinians.

ANY CHANGE IN THE STATUS QUO could result inviolence. The October 1990 Palestinian riot on the Mount, for example, which resulted in 17 Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers, began with a false rumor that members of the Temple Mount Faithful were coming up to pray. Muslim authorities do not recognize Jewish claims. "There's no mention at all in Islam that this was the original site of the Temple," says Adnan Husseini, director of the waqf. If Jews were allowed up to pray, warns Hassan Tahbub, the Palestinian Authority's minister of religion, "of course there'd be violence."

Since 1967, all Israeli governments have endorsed the status quo---implemented on June 17, 1967, a mere week after the Six-Day War. Then-defense minister Moshe Dayan removed his shoes and sat on a prayer rug in the silver-domed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and told Muslim officials they would retain control of the Mount. It was, in effect, the first instance of Palestinian autonomy. By offering exclusive Muslim rights over the Mount, Dayan hoped to prevent the Arab-Israeli conflict from degenerating into a Muslim-Jewish holy war over the region's most sensitive ground.

If the political ban has held all these years without being seriously challenged by Orthodox Jews, that is because it has enjoyed near-total rabbinic support. The conventional reason for the rabbis' ban on entering any part of the Mount was that it prevented Jews from accidentally treading on the Holy of Holies---where the Ark of the Covenant stood and which only the High Priest was permitted to enter, and only then on Yom Kippur. But there were other motives for the caution: the sense that all matters relating to the Temple are the messiah's prerogative; and the fear of bloodshed if Jews prayed on the Mount.

And yet, just as the political constraint against a Jewish presence there may be weakening, so too is the rabbinic taboo. There is a growing sense within the religious Zionist camp that the unqualified ban may be overly stringent. Rabbinic authorities through the centuries unanimously agreed that the Holy of Holies would have been located in what is today the Dome of the Rock---and so, argue activists, walking the parameters of the Mount, and especially the southern area around Al-Aqsa, is spiritually "safe." Privately, some of the most respected rabbinic authorities---including former chief rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu and Avraham Shapira---have allowed followers to go up to the Mount, provided they do so without provocation or demonstrations, and avoid the Dome of the Rock. "They've let it be known to people they consider responsible that they don't want the Mount to be left without Jews," says Medad. And while the current Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau won't endorse "going up," he won't condemn it, and merely cautions against entering forbidden areas---implicitly acknowledging that some parts of the Mount are halakhically accessible.

Though only a small minority of Orthodox Jews ascend the Mount, to do so is no longer considered a violation by many mainstream religious Zionists. In recent months, classes from half-a-dozen hesder, or military, yeshivahs, led by their rabbis (including Yehudah Amital, religious Zionism's leading dove), have quietly gone up. Every Tuesday, a small group led by a 45-year-old hasid named Yosef Elbaum meets outside the Mughrabi Gate, above the Western Wall plaza.After submitting identification to Border Police, who check their names against a list of banned Jewish "troublemakers," they enter the massive, green-painted wooden doors. They are immediately flanked by an Israeli policeman and a sulking waqf official, who watches the lips of Elbaum and his friends to ensure that no illicit prayers slip through. The group---bent on demonstrating a Jewish presence---traverses the perimeter of the Mount, attracting stares from picnicking Arab families under pine trees and boys playing soccer near the Dome of the Rock. A waqf official, recognizing Elbaum, greets him in Yiddish: "Vos macht ir?" he asks with a smile---How are you? Says Elbaum: "There doesn't have to be a war over the Mount. If 10,000 Jews go up, the waqf will appoint 10,000 guards to accompany them and make sure they don't pray. But it will become a part of life."

Winning the right to Jewish prayer is merely the activists' interim goal; the ultimate goal is a rebuilt Temple. For Orthodox Jews, who pray for its resurrection three times a day, the Temple embodies Judaism's attempt to sanctify the material world: Just as Shabbat and the holidays are intended to create sacred time, so was the Temple meant to create sacred space. According to tradition, the Temple was the place where God violated His remoteness and revealed Himself to human beings. "The yearning for the Temple is a longing for the renewal of the dialogue between God and Israel," says the NRP's Hanan Porat, who heads the Knesset's Temple Mount lobby and helped conquer the Mount, as a paratrooper, in 1967. I don't expect the rabbinic establishment to initiate Temple Mount activity, only not to interfere," Porat says. "The Jews will return to the Mount through grass-roots pressure, not through a meeting of rabbis deciding to go up. On this issue, the rabbis will follow the people."

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COURT REJECTS TEMPLE MOUNT PETITION
Three Supreme Court Justices---Tal, Heshin, and Bach---rejected late this morning an urgent petition on the part of the Temple Mount Faithful organization against the opening of the mosque in the Solomon's Stables area of the Mount. The appellants claimed that the construction of the mosque by the Waqf was carried out in blatant violation of the law, in total disregard of a court order, and was severely harmful to archaeological findings. The Temple Mount Faithful will hold a protest against the recent Temple Mount developments at 4:30 PM on Sunday, opposite the Mashbir in Jerusalem. (Arutz-7 News Brief: Friday, October 11, 1996)

ARABS THREATEN

Islamic officials stated this morning that the mosque will not open this coming Sunday, as originally planned, as "the continuation of the renovations will take up to a week." Head of Religious Affairs in the Palestinian Authority Hasan Tahboub said, "There will be massacres if there is any attempt to stop the opening of the mosque." (Arutz-7 News, Sunday, October 13, 1996)

COURT REJECTS ANOTHER TEMPLE MOUNT PETITION, 
BUT LEAVES DOOR OPEN

The Supreme Court rejected this morning a petition by the Chai Vekayam organization against the turning of Solomon's Stables into a mosque. The Court, headed by Chief Justice Aharon Barak, recommended that the petition be revamped and re-submitted within fifteen days. Another petition against the construction, on the grounds that it violated municipal building ordinances, was rejected by the Court on Friday. The current petition is based on a claim that the construction is harmful to antiquities at the site. The political cabinet will convene later this afternoon to discuss the Waqf's intentions to dedicate the new four-dunam mosque. The meeting follows a request by Minister of Absorption Yuli Edelstein that the government discuss the issue. Minister of Public Security Avigdor Kahalani said this morning that he recommended to the Prime Minister not to intercede with the construction of the Temple Mount mosque. (Arutz-7 News, Monday, October 14, 1996)



SYNAGOGUE ON TEMPLE MOUNT?
A program to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount was presented today by MK Rabbi Benny Elon and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, head of the Temple Institute in Jerusalem. They said that archaeologists and historians claim that there once was a synagogue situated on the site. (Arutz-7 News, Tuesday, October 15, 1996)


REVISED PETITION SUBMITTED AGAINST TEMPLE MOUNT MOSQUE
The Chai Vekayam movement submitted this morning the corrected version of its Supreme Court petition against the Waqf's construction of a mosque on the Temple Mount. Its original petition was rejected on Sunday, at which time the Court said that it would be willing to accept a revised version of the petition within fifteen days that better represented the oral claims that were made during Sunday's hearing. The attorney representing Chai Vekayam, Naftali Wurtzberger, claims that the construction is a violation of "Basic Law: Jerusalem" and affects the status quo on the Temple Mount.

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From the Newsletter Published by HaTenu'ah Lechinun HaMikdash
Midash Build Vol I, No 7
P.O. Box 31336
Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 011-972-2-537-1904 Returning the Jewish People to the Holy Temple

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From the editor:

Lema'an Beit Hashem Elokeinu
Brethren and Friends,

Now is the time to speak up about the Mountain ofthe Beit HaMikdash. Here are two recent items which I must speak up against and condemn.

1. Since Sukkot, Jews have been barred from entering the Temple Mount. Although the Kotel has been closed for short periods for security purposes, never has the Temple Mount been closed even for a minute to Moslems. It is a terrible injustice to bar Jews from entering the Temple Mount.

2. Recently, the restraining order against 13 Chai VeKayam activists has been renewed. Please note that although there have been Arabs who have committed violent actions on the Temple Mount, never has one Arab been barred from entering the Temple Mount. These restraining orders are inequitable and unjust and should be removed.

Although a minority of Rabbanim in Israel actually forbid entering the Temple Mount and others are against it (although admitting it is halachically permissible to enter certain areas if one dips in a mikva or ma'ayan first and is aware of the boundaries), the Temple Mount remains our Holiest sight, and barring Jews from entering and praying there is a crime against the Jewish People and against humanity.

If the fate of the place of our Holy Temple concerns you, you can email or fax the following government officials. (If you have additional numbers or email addresses, I would appreciate it.)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Fax: 011-972--2-566-4838
email: prime-minister@likud.org.il

Avigdor Kahalani (Internal Security Minister)
Fax: 011-972-2-628-9243

Yuri Eddelstein
Fax: 011-972-2-618-138



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