Our Jewish nation is 3,333 years old. A group of liberated slaves who left Egypt through great miracles, traveled through the Sinai Desert, received the holy Torah from G-d – and were transformed into a holy nation. But almost immediately that holiness was diminished. Some “progressive” groups, known as the erev rav, with many connections and little conscience, decided to deviate from the holy Torah and choose idol worship forbidden by Torah law: The sin of the Golden Calf.
“We will do as we want”, they said, forcing the entire nation to comply with their demands. Painfully, in the face of these first false words, we were doomed to the eventual destruction of our Temple.
More than three thousand years passed. Our nation had kings and queens, a holy Mishkan and two holy Temples, with direct and powerful communication with the Creator. We had the golden altar for burning incense and the copper altar for bringing sacrifices. We had rites and offerings. We had Kohanim at their service and Levites who accompanied all our wonderful tradition with sacred songs, hymns and spiritual melodies.
From all corners of the country, Bnei Israel would make a pilgrimage to the Temple, participating in this amazing communication with the Creator, and reaching the highest possible level of communication – one that involved all the senses, talking to G-d and hearing His voice – a dialog of love. With our sacrifices, wine offerings, through the ishei Yisrael, the fire of the Temple service, our sacred service was received with love. We could realize our destiny as a holy nation.
But as a result of our sins we were banished from our land and our Temple was destroyed. For two thousand years we have been in exile, praying the words that our Sages formulated for us with their G-dly-inspired spirit, and asking for the holy Temple to be rebuilt. These prayers unite us all, throughout all the places of our exile. Prayers for redemption. Prayers for our Messiah, who will be sent by G-d at the end of days, to redeem us and free us from all our distress. Prayers for the building of the Third Temple and its sacred service.
Two thousand years have passed. The State of Israel was established. The Temple Mount is in our hands and the Western Wall has once again become a place of prayer. But along with the return to the holy places, we also have the “progressive groups” of 2021. Just like 2,000 and 3,000 years ago, they still promote their own interests. And the sin of the Golden Calf rears its head once again.
Ninety-seven percent of the visitors to the Western Wall come with longing and with great love. But there is one small extreme group of women, who think that “everyone should do what they want at the Western Wall”. This group represents less than 2-3% of Israeli society – but it knows how to make a lot of noise, regardless of its actual size. Coming to the holiest place, just to say to G-d: “We do not want the service of the Temple. We do not want to serve You. We want to do what we want. G-d will not tell us what to do”. The sin of the Golden Calf – circa 2020.
This extreme group calls itself the “Women of the Wall” and comes and violates the sanctity of the Western Wall. They come and trample the feelings of the public who believe in the sanctity of the site and our ancient traditions, against the laws given by G-d.
Orthodox women suffer from their behavior. Incidents such as the removal of an Orthodox woman’s hair covering, pushing girls and women, cynical references to any attempt to reach a respectable dialogue, mocking older women or those with disabilities, mocking our holy faith…
Mocking the Temple service, while facing its remnant…
Why? “מי ביקש זאת מידכם רמוס חצרי”? Who asked you to trample My courtyards?
Every woman and every man can come to pray at the Western Wall. Everybody is invited with great love. No one is excluded. No one is discriminated against. The only request is to keep to the rules of this holy place.
But there is also some other sinister purpose for the monthly festival of mockery at the holy Western Wall. One that is threatening. This group’s real mission is to split the Western Wall, and in practice, split the Israeli people into two nations. As in King Solomon’s Trial (“Mishpat Shlomo”), they chose “cut the baby in half” – Some of us will continue living according to the same traditions which the Jewish people guarded for generations, but others are at risk of changing to another, new and foreign, religion. A religion without the sacred laws and without the holy hope. A religion which yields to the silent holocaust. And, to achieve this purpose, they use classical terrorist methods against the Jewish prayers, to force the government to split the holy wall and split the holy nation. “We will continue to agitate, we will continue to hurt, we will continue to provoke, until we receive a separate area of the wall for our new religion. We will continue to conduct terrorist incidents every Rosh Chodesh and hurt the feelings of the believing women, until we have our demands met.”
But this cannot happen. We are one holy nation, with one holy tradition. One holy Torah. One sacred Western Wall. There is no place for demonstrations at the Western Wall. There is no place for arguments. There is no place for mockery. There is no space for a split.
The Western Wall is a place to pray with faith. With humility. With innocence. With love. All of us are invited to come to our very own, one and only, Holy Wall.
Let us pray for redemption. Let us pray for hope. Let us pray for the rebuilding of the Temple, soon in our days. Amen. Let us all pray for everything that is important to all of us – but let us stop trying to violate the laws of this sacred place, or to use this holy place for hate speech and alien and forbidden actions. We have already suffered enough, for thousands of years, from the consequences of these type of events.
All of us are beloved and all are invited to come to our one ancient home – with joy, faith, modesty, connection to the sacred, and while respecting the holy laws of our beloved tradition. All of us are beloved, and all of us are invited to come and pray: with modesty, love, respect, and true faith.