Saturday evening May 12th through Sunset on Sunday the 13th was the holiday of Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) which is the anniversary of the day, during the Six-Day-War in 1967 when the IDF re-took Jerusalem. On that day for the first time since 1948, the holy city of Jerusalem was united, and Jews were once again permitted to go to Mount Moriah. The top of Mount Moriah, known as the Temple Mount is the holiest site in the Jewish faith.
For over a thousand years a Jewish Temple to God stood atop the Temple Mount (Solomon’s Temple stood from approximately 966-586 BCE and rebuilt about 70 years after the army of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the Temple of Solomon. The Second Temple rose around 516 BCE, and the Roman’s destroyed it in 70 CE. Ninety years before the destruction of the Second Temple, King Herod upgraded the building and expanded the Temple Mount grounds.
The wall or the Kotel (which is Hebrew for wall) which is also known as the Wailing Wall or Western Wall is not part of Holy Temple. It is part of the retaining wall built by Herod to prevent the collapse of the expanded Temple Mound grounds.
Today the Muslims claim the Temple Mount is theirs, and there was never a Jewish temple on top of Mount Moriah. Even the United Nations denies the Temple Mount’s Jewish heritage. But any claim the Temple Mount is anything but Jewish merely is propaganda that ignores the fact that the ancient Greeks, Romans, Christians, and even the ancient Muslims reported Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were the property of the Jewish people.
But I am not going to argue historical fact here today. Nor will I point to the fact that Christians across the world believe that Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers on Mount Moriah. I am not here to argue history or tradition, nor is I going to make jokes about the fact that when Muslims in Israel face Mecca to pray, they are mooning the Temple Mount (but it is true).
The reason I don’t have to argue about what was atop Mount Moriah is that I’ve been there. And as corny as it may sound to anyone who has never been there, I felt the presence of God at the Temple Mount. I didn’t get to go to the top of the mount (Jews aren’t allowed to pray there–long story), but I did get to pray at the Kotel,
All my life I had this overwhelming desire to go to Jerusalem and especially the Temple Mount. I never understand why I had that urge until I stood in its presence a few years ago. It was my first trip to Israel.
Before we went to Jerusalem, our guide took us north to Haifa, to Tzvat, to the borders with Lebanon and Syria where I had the opportunity to take pictures of the demarkation line between Israel and her enemies and emailed them to my long-suffering mom of blessed memory who got extremely frightened.
When we finally approached Jerusalem, it was from the north. I remember that as soon as we drove through the hills and I got a peek at Jerusalem (from very far away) and for the first time in my life, I felt strangely comfortable in my surroundings.
Jerusalem felt like home to me, despite the fact that I had never been there. Strangely I knew where to go and how to get around this holy city without looking at a map. There were times that I would tell my family that I had a shortcut to get to where we needed to go, and my wife who had been there before would say to me I was crazy (which is entirely true but entirely irrelevant). My directions/shortcuts were always correct–perhaps because I had read so much about the city, maybe it was something else.. Everywhere we went in the holy city, I knew where we were, and it’s relation to the Temple Mount. And the closer we got to Mount Moriah, the lure of the Temple site was stronger than ever before…