Sir, – Your article “Seeking a real prayer experience” (Cover, January 24) is highlighted on the cover with the words, “The problem with prayer.” Both titles are somewhat misleading and inaccurate.

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Sir, – Your article “Seeking a real prayer experience” (Cover, January 24) is highlighted on the cover with the words, “The problem with prayer.” Both titles are somewhat misleading and inaccurate.
There is no problem with prayer on the Temple Mount.
The problem exists because our police are more concerned with not angering the Wakf Muslim religious trust than they are with fulfilling the decree of the rights of prayer by the Supreme Court. The police are concerned that they will have to deal with hundreds if not thousands of Arab rioters if they allow Jews the same rights that are given the Arabs to pray on the Mount.
Deal with it. If they must, let them prevent all Arabs from entering the Mount if they cause rioting. They would do the same to Jews if we were the ones rioting against Arabs praying on the Mount. Of course, that wouldn’t happen, because Jews can tolerate other religions except for pagans.
A real prayer experience is also misleading. Many Jews who enter the Mount wish to declare our rights to be there, not to experience meaningful prayer. They might relish the idea of being permitted to pray there, but they must first establish the right to be allowed access to the Mount at all times, and not in accordance with the whims of the Wakf with their ridiculous demands – such as no dried fruit on Tu Bishvat.
Your front-page leader to the article had a third headline: “The dangers of Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount.”
Nowhere in your article does it speak of the danger of Jewish prayer. The only danger is caused by Arabs who wish to create a publicity situation. If these people are arrested when they throw rocks and scream insults, there would cease to be a problem.
If we are afraid of the Wakf, it allows them to destroy any artifacts which indicate that we were there 1,000 years before they arrived. Their destruction of these artifacts enables them to claim the Temples never existed, and in their latest contradiction, that King Solomon, as well as Jesus, were Muslim.
Beit Shemesh
Sir, – “Seeking a real prayer experience” makes two points: While Muslims can “voice their presence loudly” on the Temple Mount, non-Muslims are subjected to indignities; and that the Western Wall is not holy.
As a frequent visitor to the Mount as part of my work, and having had experience there with Muslim wardens’ officiousness, I am insulted – not by Muslims who “voice their presence loudly,” but rather by their picnicking, and their children playing soccer in the “noble sanctuary” – versus their restrictions for non-Muslim visitors.
This begs the question: Is this a holy site? It would seem to not be so for Muslims.
For example, notwithstanding the above, although the whole area is considered to be a mosque, they do not remove their shoes as when inside the buildings there. For Rabbi Richman, however, “this is the holiest place,” presumably because since the destruction of its Temple, the deity’s spirit still hovers over the site.
As to point 2, this is not his attitude toward the Western Wall, since it is but an object.
Moses, on encountering the burning bush, questions the identity of the voice and is answered by “I am who I am;” its name (the Tetragrammaton) is explained as “I will be, I was and I am,” namely a god of time as opposed to space. That is, objects – and in Judaism, we don’t venerate objects because this would be idolatry.
I am reminded of a local resident who, in response to his inquiry as to the purpose of being a regular visitor to the Wall, was told that the person in question comes there to pray.
“And what do you pray for?” he asked. “For peace,” he was told.
“And what does God say?” he asked, “Nothing,” he was answered.
“It’s like talking to the wall.”
So let’s not kiss the wall or walk backwards when leaving it, but as to the Mount, if we can’t pray there, what if we bring our sandwiches?
Tel Aviv
Sir, – Reading Rabbi Shlomo Riskin’s story of the life journey of Wanjiku, who was able to convert joyfully to become Emuna (“The gift and privilege of conversion,” Parshat Mishpatim, January 24) left me with tears of joy.