Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Kotel's Allure

What is Obama requesting from G-d?

There isn't a single visiting American politician and hopeful candidate that doesn't stop at the Western Wall to offer a prayer and photo-op in Jerusalem.

One could cynically look at this picture (or of any candidate) ...but there's a flip side.

The Navi/Prophet Zecharia (Chapter 14: 16) says:
והיה, כל-הנותר מכל-הגוים, הבאים, על-ירושלם; ועלו מדי שנה בשנה, להשתחות למלך יהוה צבאות, ולחג, את-חג הסכות.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the G-d of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles (sukkot).

And it's going to get even better -- the nations of the world won't just be showing up for photo ops at the Kotel, but bringing korbanot at the Beit HaMikdash as well.

And while I'm on the topic of the kotel, Lurker suggested I recount the story of my friend, Ahmed.

Yes, I have a friend who's real name is Ahmed (as opposed to my name, Jameel).

He's Muslim, lives in London, and we're work colleagues. I first met him in London and we worked together on many projects, and he was most hospitable to me.

When he had to come for work to Israel, I returned the hospitality and took him around the Old City of Jerusalem. As this was in the days of the "new" intifada around 2002, I took my M16 with me as I showed him the different sections of the Old City.

He expressed a desire to pray on the mosque on the Temple Mount, so I took him as far as I was willing to walk -- and then told him he had to walk the rest from there by himself -- we would meet up again in 30 minutes.
He walked up the entrance, and was quickly stopped by the Waqf guards.

"What do you want?" they asked him.

Cheerfully, he replied, "I'm here to pray"

Suspiciously, pointing in my direction, they asked, "Who is that guy that brought you here?"

Ahmed laughed and replied, "Him? That's my good friend Jameel!"

Astonished, they asked, "Your good friend? He's carrying an M16!?"

He answered proudly, "Of course he has an M16, he's an IDF reserve soldier, he's part of his settlement's counter terror unit, and he lives in the Shomron."

The Waqf guards were so horrified and disgusted by my friend's reply that they sent him away, without letting him pray at all!

Dejected, he walked back to meet me, and I told him I would take him to the Kotel instead. Approaching the Kotel, he was instructed to put on one of those cardboard kippot, which he did.

Walking closer to the wall, the Chabad people jumped up to put tefillin on him.

I tried holding them back -- "No, No, Don't put tefillin on him!"

They didn't understand...."It's a mitzva!" they yelled back at me.

"He isn't JEWISH!" I interjected.

They stopped. "He certainly looks Jewish," they replied...
I have many more Ahmed and Jameel stories...maybe next week.

Shabbat Shalom!

hat-tip to Amshi for the pic.

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד


The back of the hill said...

I too have Muslim friends. One or two points we of course do not disagree on. But.

I've tutored their children, and helped them with official paperwork. We've shared meals.

One of them, Monzer from 'Aza, was the only person from the old Broadway crowd to attend Marvin's funeral (the majority having drifted away since the heady days of the 60s and 70s). He was the only Arab there.

They had been friends since the sixties. So of course he would be there.

I have no doubt that when Monzer passes on, Marvin's kin will attend. And will be the only Jews.

Anonymous said...

Vat Nusach you tink hes davening?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Anonymous: Nusach HaDemocratim.

(though I bet it's not the Ethiopian eidot hamizrach)

Lion of Zion said...

"I took him as far as I was willing to walk"

because of halakahic considerations or out of fear?

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

Jameel, you are such a tease.

Is this going to turn into the same, I have plenty of Philipines stories, but ...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

LoZ: Hello?! I was carrying my M16! Fear? From the Waqf?

It was purely halachik consideration.

Soul Window: Wow - you even remember the Philippines story? I should finish those for posterity.

Anonymous said...

Is it against halacha for a Jew to visit the Temple Mount? I'm confused.

I am Jewish and have visited the Temple Mount.

Thanks - Mara

Anonymous said...

Hayeh'hapech Kushi Oro.....

Lion of Zion said...


just checking

Ezzie said...

Great story. :)

Anonymous said...

Did you read his note?

Anonymous said...

I still think that he should've worn a turban. The Jews anciently also wore those. What, exactly, did the high priest wear?

Although eco-suede, made from recycled cardboard, is a fine modern equivalent.

---Grant Patel

Lady-Light said...

I second Ezzie: great story. Jameel, you've got the best, and the finger on the pulse.
Looks Jewish, indeed!

Anonymous said...

"Is it against halacha for a Jew to visit the Temple Mount? I'm confused."

It is against halacha unless you have gone to a mikva first, and even then, it's not allowed to go to certain parts of the Temple Mount.

Consult your rabbi for practical details.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Mara: Is it against halacha for a Jew to visit the Temple Mount? I'm confused.

Hi Mara - There are halachik issues about visitng the Temple Mount. While I personally have not yet visited there, I support those who go ascend the mount having first gone to the mikva, and avoid walking in the areas which are off limits to due halachik limitations. As Shlomo wrote - consult with your local rabbi for more details.

Shmilda: Could you please repost the link? I think (thought Im not sure) you're referring to a report that someone published the contents of the note that Obama put into the Kotel. Whoever did that is lower than low.

Shavua tov!

Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

Uh... guys? For a woman to go up to the har is a bit more complicated than just dipping in a mikva...

I'm chalashing to go up. My husband and older son have been many times. Jameel - you could join them erev Yom Kippur. They daven vatikin in Hevron, tovel in a ma'ayan there (well, my son doesn't - it's too cold) and then go up to the har at about 7 am. But I asked Rav Rabinovitz, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Ma'aleh Adumim hesder yeshiva (who takes the guys up at least once a month) and he said that it's "not kdai" for me to go up. :(

As our friend Ze'ev says, "sheyibane!"

Anonymous said...

Maariv obtained the note Obama left at the Western Wall in Jerusalem and put a photograph of it on its front page.

Beneath the letterhead of the King David Hotel, the note says:


Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins and help me guard against pride and despair.

Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just.

And make me an instrument of your will.

Rachel said...

My best friend is Muslim and Libyan, and for a time in college was living with my mom. I would call home before Shabbos, and of course speak to my friend as well. Once, we were talkinb and she said, "I have to go, it's time to light!" ;)

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