Sharona Margolin Halickman

Theater of the Absurd

The first word in the Torah is “Breisheet”, “In the beginning.” Rashi asks why the Torah begins with the depiction of the creation of the world rather than with Rosh Chodesh (the new moon), the first mitzvah that the Jewish people were commanded as a nation.

Rashi’s answer is that the description of the creation is necessary as it proves the Jewish people’s claim to the Land of Israel. If the nations one day say to the Jewish people, “You are robbers, you have taken by force the land of the seven nations”, then Israel can reply “All the earth belongs to God. He created it and gave it to whomever he saw fit. It was His will to give it to them and it was His will to take it from them and give it to us.”

How fitting that this portion coincides with the week that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization) denies the Jewish claim to Jerusalem’s holy sites, a stolen papyrus that mentions Jerusalem was reclaimed and ten years of excavations on the Temple Mount produced proof of the First Temple.

In a comment on the fact that UNESCO refuses to acknowledge the Temple Mount as a Jewish holy site, solely calling it by its Muslim names, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon said: “The absurdity continues, and UNESCO has adopted yet another ridiculous decision that is completely disconnected from reality.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented, “This is the continuation of the theater of the absurd. Who is really deserving of condemnation is UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, not Israel. Extremist Muslim forces are destroying mosques and churches. Israel is the only country in the region that protects them and allows freedom of worship.”

The stolen papyrus which has been recovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority was originally found in a cave in the Judean Desert. It is a part of a wine shipping order that dates back to the 7th century BCE and is the oldest non-Biblical document to mention Jerusalem.

Yesterday, Israeli archeologists announced that they unearthed artifacts including olive pits, animal bones and pottery from the First Temple, over 2600 years ago.

What is unique is that these artifacts were found on the Temple Mount itself, not through the Temple Mount Sifting Project.

According to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the historic ties of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and Jerusalem are clear.

Even the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Kokova stated, “In the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant.”

We now understand why the Torah needed to start from the creation and tell us the whole story as our enemies are stealing and destroying our artifacts which tell the story of our claim to the Land of Israel, the City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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