Today began with tragedy. Another tragedy, in which four people were killed. It is reported that 26 children lost their fathers today. Today is a day of tears, as well as prayers.
Why Har Nof? Why a synagogue? Why these men? Why at all? No doubt some learned individuals will tell us about injustice towards a Palestinian people, and violence being the only outlet available, but even when we accept this moral vacuousness, specifically going to an ordinary synagogue in an ordinary, uncontroversial place is senseless. It is evil.
All these men were doing were praying. All Yehuda Glick wanted to do was to be able to pray where he wanted – he too was attacked. All the propaganda circulating on Arabic-language news channels hysterically warns about the possibility of what? Jews praying on the Temple Mount.
For as long as I can remember, we’ve been told that the primary obstacle to peace was the Jewish house being in the wrong place. If only Jews would get their houses back onto their own land, everything would be ok. As if Gush Etzion belongs to someone else. As if the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem is exclusively non-Jewish land.
Now we see that it is not just Jewish homes, but Jewish prayers that are in the wrong place. Jews may not pray in our holiest site – but we’ve already given that up!
This summer, Europe saw protests and attacks on Synagogues, swastikas spray-painted on houses of prayer, services interrupted by baying mobs.
Today, did Jewish prayer become the new primary obstacle to peace? Are we supposed to change our practice? To pretend that the Temple Mount is of no significance? To abandon our religion, our tradition, our God to silence?
Today is not a day to tell us what we need to do to make peace. Let that burden of making peace fall on those who always have something new to demand – they demand that we stop building houses, that we stop praying, now let them demand peace.
For my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.
If we are to keep one thing in mind at this time of sorrow, let it be this: It is a primary article of our faith – a doctrine declared thousands of years ago – that we will ascend the Temple Mount, and on it we will build a home and we will pray. And because of the events of this morning, and a thousand mornings like it, we will also cry.
Yet though the gate of prayer is locked, the gate of tears is not.
Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 32a