Letters to the Editor October 29, 2021: Unholy Struggle

Unholy fight

As for the cover story for “Holy Tug-of-War” (October 22): A picture is worth a thousand words. The photo on page 9 tells the whole story. Hundreds and hundreds of devout Muslims pray on the last Friday of Ramadan, facing Mecca and with their backs (excuse the lack of delicacy) to the Dome of the Rock. Millions of faithful Jews face Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in their daily prayers, but those who wish to visit the holy site cannot move their lips to lament.

There is nothing holy in this war.


Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount on Wednesday. (credit: TEMPLE MOUNT ADMINISTRATION)

Jeremy Sharon’s excellent overview of the Temple Mount situation today should have recalled four essential background information for a more complete understanding of the subject.

First of all, the Jewish sanctified area of ​​the “Temple Mount” is smaller than the Muslim al-Haram al-Sharif, and Jews do not seek to enter Muslim buildings. There is enough space for Muslims, Jews and Christians to pray without “invading” someone else’s territory.

The second is that Jewish prayer is recognized as a basic right by decisions of the Superior Court of Justice based on the 1967 Law for the Preservation of Holy Places. Prayer is not illegal.

Third, the 1967 status quo is not supported by the Muslim Wakf, which has built three new mosques within the complex, destroyed historical and archaeological artifacts, and changed administrative customs.

Fourth, Jordan, which is responsible for and finances the Wakf (Jerusalem) Islamic religious trust, refuses to fulfill its obligations under the 1994 Peace Treaty with Israel. Article 9 reads: “Each Party shall provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical importance … The Parties shall act together to promote interreligious relations between the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment. and freedom of religious worship, tolerance and peace. ”Even the positioning of surveillance cameras that could help prevent violence on the Temple Mount was sabotaged by Jordan.



Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo (“The Mystery of the Lost Verse”, October 22) sided with Maimonides over other commentators in interpreting the verse in Proverbs 16: 4 “The Lord made all lema’anehu.” According to Maimonides, this means that God made everything for himself, while other commentators interpret the verse that God made everything for man. It seems to me that God made a universe that the more we learn about it, the more we discover the material benefits that this knowledge brings. We may not be able to see, at present, the application of all our discoveries, but this does not mean that one day we will not find a use for them. I can give many examples. The rabbi cites the existence of millions of stars and black holes as having no relevance to man. Maimonides, who followed Aristotle’s theories, had great difficulty with Aristotle’s idea that the universe had always existed, whereas we now know that there was a big bang, an initial act of creation, consistent with Jewish belief.

Aristotle’s theory was mere speculation. The modern Big Bang theory is based on data and is proven by mathematical equations. Modern science often tests intuitive notions. The existence of black holes shows that light is deflected by gravity to such an extent that with the high gravity that exists in a black hole, light cannot escape. This information contributes to our understanding of the universe. There are a number of mathematical constants in physics that, if they were slightly different, the universe would not have existed and neither would the human race. Some see this as an indication that such a precise design must be the work of a divine creator.

Einstein looked at the universe and came up with explanations that most people couldn’t understand and that included concepts that seemed incredible. Black holes could be explained, so it could be said that they served a role for us in helping us understand the universe. Einstein, describing the universe with his two theories of relativity (special and general), showed that all clocks set for exactly the same time, but all traveling at very different speeds, would show different times. When we developed GPS (Global Positioning System), where clocks were placed on satellites that traveled at high speeds but had to show the same time as clocks on Earth, Einstein’s equations had to be used to adjust the clocks to order. to calculate one’s position. on Earth with sufficient precision. Unless this is taken into account, GPS would not work.

Chemical developments have shown, for many years, that natural products are for direct use or lead us to produce related chemicals. Examples of plant-derived medications are aspirin (from willow bark), digoxin (from the flower, Digitalis lanata), and morphine (from opium). Up to 50% of the drugs approved in the last 30 years come directly or indirectly from natural products.

Geckos are tiny lizards that can climb on a wide variety of surfaces that can be in the shape of walls and ceilings. By understanding how this is possible, scientists have been able to develop adhesives with useful properties.
The barnacles that stick underwater to the hulls of boats are a considerable nuisance. Using lessons learned from how barnacles stick together underwater, scientists are making glues that they can use to stop the bleeding.

Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral invented the first tactile closure (Velcro) in 1941 when he went for a walk in the Alps and wondered why burdock seeds were sticking to his woolen socks. He found that it could be turned into something useful.

The list is endless and continues to grow day by day. In short, I would say that just because we cannot see, at present, why something has a use for man does not mean that an application will not be found in the future, and this leads me to conclude that commenters who believed that The meaning of the verse in Proverbs that God did everything for the benefit of man was correct.


While Rabbi Cardozo’s article was intriguing, leaving some with an unanswerable question, I find its premise, imagining that the Torah is incomplete, is itself a mystery.

It is an accepted concept that ‘Torah min hashamayim’, meaning the Torah came from heaven. As such, the man chained to the earth can no longer wait for a heavenly voice or the prophets to decide matters of Jewish law, because the Torah is no longer in heaven. (Deuteronomy 30:12)

Isaiah (55: 8-9) puts the whole matter in perspective when he says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways, says God.”

Everything is a matter of faith, nothing is missing.



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