Wednesday, August 22, 2012

מחאת בני עקיבא למען הר הבית (עם המשטרה אדישה) • Bene ‘Aqiva’ Temple Mount protest (with the police apathetic)

תאריך יהודי:  ה׳ אלול תשע״ב (פרשת שופטים).

Jewish date:  5 ’Elul 5772 (evening) (Parashath Shofeṭim).

החגים של היום:  מלכהות של מרים (הקתוליות הרומית), יום החג של סנט איגנציוס ריילי (כנסיית תת־הגאון).

Today’s holidays:  Queenship of Mary (Roman Catholicism), Feast Day of St. Ignatius Reilly (Church of the SubGenius).



הייתי בהפגנת הר בית ביום שני. (המשטרה עדיין גרועה כשזה בחופש דת ליהודים בהר הבית.) המחאה הזאת הייתה יוצאת דופן בכך שהיא אורגנה על ידי קבוצת נוער בני עקיבא. היו גם הרבה מצלמות שם, של צוותות חדשות ושל משתתפים.

I was at a Temple Mount protest on Monday.  (The police still suck when it comes to freedom of religion for Jews on the Temple Mount.)  This protest was unusual in that it was organized by a youth group, Bene ‘Aqiva’.  There were also a lot of cameras there, both of news crews and by participants.

אולי שמעתם שהמשטרה, עובדת קשה למען למחוק את כל התקדמות שאולי הם עשו, מתייגת כל מחאה בסיסמה: ״הר הבית בידינו״ (במקור נאמר על ידי מוטה גור בהתאחדות ירושלים בשנת 1967), שוקלת את זה ״הסתה״.  (כאילו שהמוסלמים צריכים הסתה להתנהג רע.  כשהם ממציאים דברים שלא קיימים להתלונן עליהם, ״הסתה״ היא רק אמתלה ולא סיבה.)  המשטרה הגידה לילדים לא להשתמש בסיסמה.  כמה שלטים הובאו שלא היה נוחים למשטרה, והוויכוח היה קולני, יותר מדי.  תודה לה׳, המשטרה לא עשתה דבר בתגובה ל״הסתה״ הזאת.  מצד השני, אף על פי שהיו כמה שוטרים בקרבת מקום, לא ראיתי אותם שמים לב למחאה בכלל.

You may have heard that the police, working hard to erase any progress they may have made, have taken to labeling protesting with the slogan “The Temple Mount is in our hands” (originally said by Moṭah Gur when Yerushalayim was reunited in 1967), considering it “incitement”.  (As if the Muslims needed any incitement to behave badly.  When they invent nonexistent things to complain about, “incitement” is just an an excuse, not a cause.)  The children were told by the police not to use the slogan.  A few signs were brought which disagreed with the police, and the disagreement was vocal, too.  Thankfully the police did nothing in response to this “incitement”.  On the other hand, even though there were a few police nearby, I did not notice them paying any attention to the protest whatsoever.

המחאה התקיימה בסוג פרק, הטיילת.  תמונות אלו, שעבורן שימשתי ברמות שונות של פונקצית הזום, יתנו מושג כלשהו על מקומו ביחס להר הבית.
The protest took place at a sort of park known as the Ṭayyeleth.  These pictures, for which I made use of various levels of the zoom function, should give some idea of its position to the Temple Mount.

פסל ליד הטיילת.  אני רק צלמתי אותו.  אני לא יכול להסביר את זה.
A sculpture near the Ṭayyeleth.  I just photographed it.  I cannot explain it.

בניין ארגון הפיקוח על הפסקת אש של האומות המאוחדות הקרוב.
The United Nations Truce Supervision Organization building nearby.

כמה מהילדים עם שלטי מחאה:  ״אבן השתייה הוא לא הפקר!״ ו״לא מקילים ראש במקום קדוש!״
Some of the kids with protest signs:  “The Foundation Stone is not ownerless property!” and “Do not belittle a holy place!” 

גרפיטי בערבית באנגלית.
Graffiti in Arabic and English.

מפגין עם שלט שואל ״הר הבית לא בידינו?!״  המשטרה לא עשתה שום דבר לעצור אותו.
A protester with a sign asking “Is not the Temple Mount in our hands?!”  The police did nothing to stop him.

עוד סטודנטים מפגינים.
More student protesters.

השלט החדה הוא ״שומרים מפקד לירך!״
The new sign is “Maintain control of your city!”

השלטים החדשי הם ״לא עוד לביזוי מקדשנו!״, ״מדינה יהודית?!״, ודבר מה שאני לא יכול לקרוא די ממנו בתמונה הזאת.
The new signs are “No more demeaning our Temple!”, “A Jewish state?!”, and something I cannot read enough of in this picture.

השלטים החדשים הם ״די לביזוי באבן השתיה״, ״ואין פוקד את הר הבית בעיר העתיקה!״ (ציטוט מ״ירושלים של זהב״), ו״מדינה בלי עבר—היא ללא עתיד!״

The signs are “Enough demeaning the Foundation Stone”, “And there is no visitor of the Temple Mount  in the Old City” (a quote from “Jerusalem of Gold”), and “A state without a past is without a future!”

שלט שהוזכר לעיל שונה ל״הר הבית בידינו!״  המשטרה עדיין לא עשתה שום דבר.
A sign mentioned above was modified to read “The Temple Mount is in our hands!”  The police still did nothing.

דובר מכנסת.
A speaker from the Keneseth.

העיתונות ״האמיתית״ הייתה שם באמת.
The “real” press was actually there.

ראו גם:  ״‪Bnei Akiva Rally on Behalf of the Temple Mount‬״.  לא הייתי יחיד שם עם מצלמה.

See also:  “‪Bnei Akiva Rally on Behalf of the Temple Mount‬”.  I was not the only one there with a camera.

האם אני מצפה להרבה בדרך של תוצאות מהמחאה הזאת?  לא.  זאת נערכת במקום מחוץ לדרך עם רק עוברי אורח אחדים.  אבל זוהי התחלה, במיוחד משום שהרבה בני נוער היו שם.  יהי רצון ה׳ שילכו מעורבות פוליטית גדולה יותר וטובה יותר ולעזור לשנות את המדינה לטובה יותר.

Am I expecting much in the way of results from this protest?  No.  It was held in an out-of-the-way place with few passersby.  But it is a start, especially since a lot of youth were involved.  May they go on to bigger and better political involvement and help change the country for the better.





Thursday, August 2, 2012

The mystery of 15 ’Av

Jewish date:  14 ’Av 5772 (Parashath Wa’Ethḥannan).

Today’s holidays:  Feast Day of Eusebius of Vercelli and Peter Julian Eymard (Roman Catholicism) Feast Day of St. Robert Goddard (Church of the SubGenius).


Tomorrow is 15 ’Av, commonly called Ṭu be’Av or Ḥagh ha’Ahavah (“the Festival of Love”).  My posting has three purposes:

1) As I posted two years ago for the same holiday, 15 ’Av has become something of the Israeli equivalent of Valentine’s Day.  Every Jewish man with a special woman in his life is hereby forewarned to prepare a romantic gesture for her.  The consequences for forgetting may be severe.

2) I find myself trying to understand the celebration of 15 ’Av.  The primary text of interest is Ta‘anith 26b for the Mishnah and Ta‘anith 30b-31a for the Gemara’.  In the old days, young unmarried women in Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) used to dress in borrowed white dresses and go out into the vineyards on 15 ’Av and Yom Kippur.  There they would dance and sing about why young men should marry them.  And the strange thing is that no one does this anymore.  There are matchmaking and romantic events scheduled, but the actual vineyard dancing is no longer practiced.  (Well, almost.  I have actually seen reference to a vineyard dancing event tomorrow—but it is for women only and thus completely misses the point of the ritual.)

The Mishnah and Gemara’ give no indication why the dancing is no longer practiced.  The Gemara’ concentrates on historical events that occurred on 15 ’Av:  permission for the 12 tribes to intermarry among themselves, permission for the tribe of Binyamin (Benjamin) to intermarry with the other tribes, cessation of deaths in the Desert, permission of Jews in the northern kingdom of Yisra’el to go into Yehudhah for Pesaḥ, Sukkoth, and Shavu‘oth (which is a very big deal in the days when there is a Temple where one is required to go to bring sacrifices), permission to bury those slain by the Romans at Bethar, and cessation of cutting wood for the altar for the year.  (See “The Meaning of Tu B'av” for an accessible summary.)  There is also some discussion of the garments the young women wore and what they would sing.  But there is nothing to indicate why the practice has ceased.  Rashi and Tosefoth, the standard commentaries, also are silent on this.

I asked a local rav about the possibility of resurrecting the practice.  (If the Talmudh acknowledges the practice as valid and lists not the slightest objection, it is easy to ask why we are not doing it.)  His answer was that people today would not react the same way to it and that Ḥaredhim would probably be outraged.  There is a lot of truth in this.  Women singing and dancing in public with the intent of getting the attention of men is unheard of among observant Jews today, and it is difficult to talk to other observant Jews about the idea of resuming the practice without them joking about modern secular dancing practices and (real or imagined) resultant improprieties.  What puzzles me is how something that used to be considered completely acceptable has come to be considered unthinkable, and I do not have a sufficient solution.  I suspect that at least in part this may be due to the influence of Christians and Muslims Jews have often lived—and still often live—among.  Christians have often had rather negative attitudes towards sexuality (thank you, Paul), and Muslims today periodically make the news over bizarre overreactions to real and imagined sexual offenses by women.  But a suspicion is not knowledge and may well be wrong.

If anyone has any information on this puzzle, please let me know.  (And, yes, I have read “Boy meets girl on Tu Be’av”, and it strikes me as rather speculative and does not really explain the cessation of vineyard dancing.)

3) Obviously I am not going to dance in a vineyard, first because I have been told not to resurrect the practice, second because I am a man, third because I do not have access to a vineyard, and fourth because I have not really learned how to dance.  However, the goal of finding a wife still remains for me, and it is the right time to be working towards this goal.  And since I have not accomplished this goal yet, I have to try new things until I am successful (at which point I will replace it with the goal of keeping said wife happy).  And so I am about to try something a bit unusual...

This is me standing under a grapevine.  (Actually, due to the heat and dryness of this summer, it is a raisinvine.)  And now for my singles ad:

39-year-old educated rationalist Dathi Le’umi nonconformist in Giv‘ath Shemu’el seeks intelligent, religious woman with compatible hashqafah and (preferably) a sense of humor. More details available upon request. Don't be shy; I don’t bite.  Referrals welcome.