Michael Boyden

Whose Kotel is it anyway?

Today we mark Rosh Chodesh Kislev and the Women of the Wall will once again gather at the Kotel to read Torah and assert their right to worship at the Western Wall in their way.

Rabbi Gilad Kariv may well use his parliamentary immunity once again to bring them a Torah scroll in defiance of the prohibition to bring in scrolls to the Kotel plaza.

Knesset Members of the charedi Shas party are threatening to turn out in force to resist what they see as a desecration of Israel’s holiest site.

There is something symbolic in the fact that all of this is taking place prior to the Sabbath on which we read parashat Toldot, which relates how the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac’s herdsmen for control of the two wells that Isaac’s servants had opened up. Only when a third well was dug, which he called Rechovot (literally “breadth”), was there sufficient space for everyone.

The 15th century Bible commentator, Rabbi Isaac Karo, compared the digging of the three wells to the two Temples that had been destroyed and the third one that has yet to be built. He wrote: “The 3rd Temple will be established without contention”.

The Kotel needs to be the big tent in which there will be room for everyone. Only then will the 3rd Temple be built.

About the Author
Made aliyah from the UK in 1985, am a former president of the Israel Council of Reform Rabbis and am currently rabbi of Kehilat Yonatan in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
Related Topics
Related Posts