Letters to the Editor October 29, 2021: Unholy fight

Readers of The Jerusalem Post have their say.

Letters (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Letters
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

UNHOLY FIGHT

Regarding the “Holy tug-of-war” cover story (October 22): A picture is worth a thousand words. The photo on Page 9 tells the whole story. Hundreds upon hundreds of devout Muslims pray on the last Friday of Ramadan, facing Mecca and with their backsides (excuse the indelicacy) to the Dome of the Rock. Millions of faithful Jews face Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in their daily prayers, but those who wish to visit the holy site cannot move their lips in lamentation.

There is nothing holy about this war.

EVA KATZJerusalem

  Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount on Wednesday. (credit: TEMPLE MOUNT ADMINISTRATION) Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount on Wednesday. (credit: TEMPLE MOUNT ADMINISTRATION)

Jeremy Sharon’s excellent overview of the Temple Mount situation at present should have recalled four background essentials for a fuller understanding of the issue.

Firstly, the sanctified Jewish “Temple Mount” area is smaller than the Muslim al-Haram al-Sharif, and Jews do not seek to enter Muslim buildings. There is enough room for Muslims, Jews and Christians to pray without “invading” another’s territory.

The second is that Jewish prayer is recognized as a basic right by decisions of the High Court of Justice based on the 1967 Law for the Preservation of Holy Places. Prayer is not illegal.

Third, the status quo of 1967 is not upheld by the Muslim Wakf, which has built three new mosques within the compound, destroyed historical and archaeological artifacts and altered administrative customs.

Fourth, Jordan, which is responsible for the (Jerusalem) Wakf Islamic religious trust and funds it, refuses to fulfill its obligations as per the 1994 Peace Treaty with Israel. Article 9 reads: “Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance... The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.” Even the positioning of surveillance cameras that could help prevent violence at the Temple Mount was sabotaged by Jordan.

YISRAEL MEDADShiloh

FUTURE APPS

Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo (“The Mystery of the Missing Verse,” October 22) sides with Maimonides over other commentators on the interpretation of the verse in Proverbs 16:4 “The Lord made everything lema’anehu.” According to Maimonides, this means that God made everything for himself, whereas other commentators interpret the verse that God made everything for man. It would seem to me that God made a universe that the more we learn about it, the more we discover the material benefits this knowledge brings. We may not be able to see, at present, the application of all our discoveries, but this does not mean that we won’t one day find a use for them. I can give many examples.The rabbi cites the existence of millions of stars and black holes as having no relevance to man. Maimonides, who followed the theories of Aristotle, had great difficulty with the latter’s idea that the universe had always existed, whereas now we know that there was a big bang – an initial act of creation – in line with Jewish belief. 

Aristotle’s theory was merely speculation. The modern Big Bang theory is based on data, and proven by mathematical equations. Modern science often proves non-intuitive notions. The existence of black holes demonstrates that light is bent by gravity to such an extent that with the high gravity that exists in a black hole, the light cannot escape. This information contributes to our understanding of the universe. There are a number of mathematical constants in physics that if they were slightly different, the universe would not have existed, and neither would the human race. Some see this as an indication that such an accurate design must be the work of a Divine creator.

Einstein looked at the universe and came up with explanations that most people could not understand and involved what appeared to be unbelievable concepts. Black holes could be explained, so you could say that they fulfilled a function for us in helping us to understand the universe. Einstein, in describing the universe with his two Relativity Theories (Special and General), showed that clocks all set for exactly the same time, but all traveling at very different speeds, would show different times. When we developed GPS (Global Positioning System), where clocks were put on satellites traveling at high speeds but that needed to show the same time as clocks on earth, Einstein’s equations had to be used to adjust the clocks in order to work out one’s position on Earth with sufficient accuracy. Unless this is taken into account, GPS would not work.

Chemical developments have shown, over many years, that natural products are either of direct use, or lead us to produce related chemicals. Examples of medicines that are derived from plants are aspirin (from willow tree bark), digoxin (from the flower, Digitalis lanata) and morphine (from opium). Up to 50% of the approved drugs over the last 30 years are either directly or indirectly from natural products.

Geckos are tiny lizards that can climb on a large range of surfaces that may be in the form of walls and ceilings. By understanding how this is possible, scientists have been able to develop adhesives with useful properties.Barnacles that cling underwater to ships’ hulls are a considerable nuisance. Using lessons learned from how barnacles bond underwater, scientists are making glues that they can use to stop bleeding.

Swiss electrical engineer George de Mestral invented the first touch fastener (Velcro) in 1941 when he went for a walk in the Alps, and wondered why burdock seeds clung to his woolen socks. He discovered it could be turned into something useful.

The list is endless and continues to grow by the day. In summary, I would say that just because we cannot see, at present, why anything has a use to man does not mean that in the future an application won’t be found, and this leads me to conclude that commentators who believed that the meaning of the verse in Proverbs that God made everything for the benefit of man were correct.

MURRAY FIGOVRa’anana

While Rabbi Cardozo’s article was intriguing, leaving some with an unanswerable question, I find his premise – to imagine that the Torah is incomplete – in itself is a mystery.

It is an accepted concept that ‘Torah min hashamayim,’ i.e. the Torah came from heaven. As such, earth-bound man can no longer expect a heavenly voice or the prophets to decide matters of Jewish law, for the Torah is no longer in heaven. (Deuteronomy 30:12)

Isaiah (55:8-9) puts the whole matter into perspective when he states, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways, says God.”

It’s all a matter of faith, nothing is missing.

LEONARD E. BOOKAshkelon