Author Topic: The History of Judaism  (Read 2580 times)

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The History of Judaism
« on: November 05, 2006, 05:03:53 AM »
I wrote this for a World Religions class in college and got an A on it. The whole grade for the course was based on this paper. The teacher was a female Methodist minister and she didn't bother teaching about Islam because she was tired of having to present it in the politically correct way. It was in a community college and "Der beed Muslim sistas in da classroooom.". I asked the Muslim that presented about Islam why Mohammad married Aisha, the 6 year old and she said it wasn't true. I didn't get into the part about killing all Non-Muslims. But I did say that in a World Literature class to an African Muslim. She said she never heard of The Koran saying that. And there was some Liberian Nazi in the class who was an America and Israel hater so I had arguments with him during the class discussion when we were doing Middle Eastern literature. I got a B in that class. In community college they don't care if you present Right Wing views. In an Ivy League school it might effect your grade though.

By Yacov Menashe Ben Rachamim
May 7, 2005

 
   Judaism originates in the Bible, known as Tanach in Hebrew – an acronym for the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Bible was written over a period of about 1,000 years starting in 1280 B.C.E. with the Torah on Mount Sinai, recording Jewish History since Creation, Jewish Law, and prophesies of the Messianic era. The Torah – the Five Books of Moses – was handed down to Moses on Mount Sinai by G-d. It includes both the Written Torah, which is in the Bible, as well as the Oral Torah, which was written down in the Talmud about 2,000 years ago.
The first book of the Torah – Genesis – records the Creation of the Universe and the creation of Man. The first man, Adam, was placed in the Garden of Eden with his wife Eve. This happened on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. After disobeying G-d’s commandment not to eat off of the Tree of Knowledge – they were expelled from the Garden and they settled outside in Mesopotamia. Ten generations later, G-d destroys all of mankind except for one righteous man, Noah, whom he commands to build an ark and take two of every species of animals and seven of every species of kosher animals. There was a great Flood destroying the World and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights.  After the Flood, the ark settled on Mount Ararat in Eastern Asia Minor and Noah’s sons replenished the Earth.
Ten generations after the Flood, G-d chose Abraham to be the founder of the Jewish People, to be His Chosen People, and a light unto the nations. G-d commanded Abraham “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s [pagan] house, unto the land that I will show thee. And I will bless thee, and make they name great; and be thou a blessing. And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” [Hertz, Genesis 12:1-3]. The Haggadah, which is read on the night of the Passover Seder, says “Initially, our forefathers were idol worshipers, but now the Omnipresent has drawn us near to His service. Thus it says, ‘Joshua said to all the people: Thus said Hashem, the G-d of Israel: Your forefathers always lived on the other side of the [Euphrates] River – Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor – and they worshipped other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from the others side of the [Euphrates River, and I had him travel throughout all of the land of Canaan. I increased his offspring and gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave Mount Seir to inherit, and Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.’ (Joshua 24:2-4)” [Kahane, The Haggadah of the Jewish Idea, P. #63].
The Jewish People first came to Egypt during a famine in Canaan. They came at the invitation of Jacob’s son, Joseph, who had risen to second in command after Pharaoh.  They were later enslaved when there was a new Pharaoh that did “not know Joseph”. They were eventually led to freedom under the leadership of Moses after the Egyptians suffered the Ten Plagues. G-d split the Red Sea for The Jewish People and they crossed it into the Sinai Peninsula. This is commemorated by the holiday of Passover.
After the Exodus from Egypt, The Jews traveled in the desert for a period of seven weeks that is called the Omer. Jews still count all 49 days of the Omer today. At the end of the Omer, they received the Torah on Mount Sinai, which is commemorated by the holiday of Shavuot. Included in the Torah are the 613 commandments – mitzvot – which the Jewish People are supposed to follow. Moses came down from Mount Sinai 40 days later on the 17th day of the month of Tammuz to find that the nation had turned to worshipping the golden calf. Upset, Moses threw the Tablets of the Law, which G-d had given him on Mount Sinai. Today, the 17th day of the month of Tammuz is also a fast day, which also commemorates the day the Romans breached the walls of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.. 40 days later, in the beginning of the month of Elul, which is a month of repentance on the Jewish Calendar, Moses went back up Mount Sinai to receive a second set of Tablets and he returned down 40 days later, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
While in the desert, the Jews lived in huts, called sukkot in Hebrew, and this is commemorated today by the holiday of Sukkot a few days after Yom Kippur. Spies were sent to scout the Land of Canaan, and since all but two – Joshua and Calev – lied about the Land, the Jews were punished and they had to wander in the desert for 40 years until that generation died out. The Torah ends with Moses’ death on Mount Nevo overlooking the Land across the Jordan River.
   The Books of the Prophets begin with the Book of Joshua when Joshua leads the Jewish People into the Land of Israel. After Moses died, Joshua took over for him. In 1240 B.C.E., The Jews crossed The Jordan River into Canaan under his leadership. The Jordan River ran backwards when it was parted with the Ark of the Covenant so the nation could cross it. Rachav the Prostitute helped Joshua conquer Jericho. Joshua circled the city 7 times and then the walls fell. Joshua and then other Judges ruled Israel until about 1025 B.C.E.. The Twelve Tribes settled in Judea and Samaria and didn't reach the Mediterranean Sea except North of present day of Haifa. The Philistines, a Sea People from the Mediterranean region, conquered and settled on the coast in areas of present day Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gaza. Samson of the Tribe of Dan whose Hebrew name Shimshon means "Little Sun", fought the Philistines in the region, but afterwards, Dan relocated to Tel Dan near modern day Kiriat Shmona and the Banyas waterfall because they couldn't bear being around the Philistines.
The last Judge/first Prophet was Samuel. His mother was Chana who couldn't have kids until she prayed to G-d at Shilo. The people wanted Samuel to appoint a king. He appointed Saul. Saul didn't listen to Samuel's instructions that came from God. Samuel went to Jesse of The Tribe of Judah to look for one of his sons to become the new king. He came across David. David made a name for himself when he defeated the Philistines by using a slingshot against the giant Goliath. David married Saul's daughter. Later Saul tried to kill him. David ran away and Saul and his son Jonathan, who was David's friend, were killed fighting The Philistines. David wrote that Jonathan's love was worth more than all the women.
After Saul's death, David became King and ruled from Hebron for 7 years from 1010 B.C.E. to 1003 B.C.E.. In 1003 B.C.E., he conquered the Jebusite city of Jebus, which was at the site of Jerusalem. He made it Jerusalem and the new Capital of Israel. He had sons from many wives. There were many scandals in the family. At his death in 970 B.C.E., Solomon, his son from Batsheva, became King.
Solomon built The First Temple on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. He got wood used in its construction from cedar trees in Tyre, Lebanon. He made peace with and ruled over many countries and married women from those countries. In the end of Solomon's reign, he was corrupt. When he died in 930 B.C.E., Northern Israel split off under King Jeroboam and became the Kingdom of Israel and the South became the Kingdom of Judah under Solomon's son King Rehoboam. Israel was made up of Reuben, Issachar, Shimon, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Menashe, Dan, and Naphtali. Judah was made up of the priestly tribe of Levi, Judah, and Binyamin. Judah had one capital, Jerusalem, and one Temple. Israel had four capitals and many temples despite the fact that G-d prohibited more than one temple. Both kingdoms were doing wrong in the eyes of G-d and prophets spoke in G-d's Name to warn them that they would be conquered and exiled if they didn't return to G-d. Amos went from the South to the North to warn them, earning him many enemies there. At about 721 B.C.E., Assyria conquered and destroyed Israel. King Sargon of Assyria exiled ten Northern Tribes and scattered them to many places. They assimilated and lost their religious identity and became the Ten Lost Tribes.
Jeremiah warned that Judah would be attacked like Israel. Other prophets such as Isaiah and Micah, who spoke that no nation will declare war on another nation, spoke of a redemption to end the coming exile. This is the basis of the belief in the Messiah. Later, Chaldean Babylonians led by Nebuchadnezzar conquered Assyria. In 586 B.C.E., The Babylonians conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem and The First Temple, and exiled all of Judah's Jews to Babylonia. This is how the Jewish communities of Iraq and Iran were started. Some Jews were brought to areas that later became part of The Russian Empire when Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon deported them there. When King Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylonia, some Jews returned and  built the Second Temple, which concludes the Books of the Prophets.
   The Writings are made up of poetry such as the Psalms and Song of Songs and also the Chronicles, which summarizes the whole Bible from Creation to the return to Zion during the time of King Cyrus. The Writings also include stories that happened during the time of the Books of the Prophets such as the Book of Ruth, the Book of Lamentations that mourn over the loss of the Temple, and history of the Jews under Persian rule such as in the Book of Esther which records how the wicked Haman plotted to destroy the Jewish People but under the leadership of Mordechai and Queen Esther, they were saved and this is commemorated with the holiday of Purim. 
   After the end of Persian rule, the Land was ruled out of  Ptolemaic Egypt, and then  was ruled by the Seleucid Dynasty out of Antioch, Syria. There were a number of kings named Antiochus. Antiochus IV defiled the Temple to steal the valuables to sell and he put pigs and a statue to Zeus in it. He made it illegal to study Torah, perform brit milah (ritual circumcision), and to celebrate the New Moon. The Hasmoneans, a family of Kohanim (priests), also known as the Maccabees, led by Judah Maccabee decided that that was enough of Greek rule. They led a revolt against Antiochus and Syrian-Greek rule. In 166 B.C.E., Jerusalem was liberated and the Temple was rededicated on 25 Kislev. The holiday of Hanukkah was made for 8 days starting on 25 Kislev to commemorate the victory. It was originally celebrated to compensate for the 8 days of Sukkot left uncelebrated that year. Judah Maccabbe and his colleagues made this decision and it was immediately accepted with the rededication of the altar and they even urged upon the Jewish communities of Egypt to embrace as well. As the 8 days came to a close that year, another resolution was accepted. That resolution was to celebrate 8 days of the rededication of the altar on an annual basis as a means of eternalizing this sanctuary based holiday. When they rededicated the Temple, they only found enough pure oil to last for one day, but there was a miracle and the oil lasted for the full 8 days of the original Hanukkah. This miracle was recorded in the Talmud. In 140 B.C.E., the war was over and there was an independent Jewish Kingdom ruled by The Hasmonean Dynasty. Some of the kings were Alexander Yannai and Yochanan Hircanus. When Alexander Yannai died, his wife Shlomtzion became queen. Independence ended when The Romans entered Eretz Yisrael in 63 B.C.E..
The Romans installed King Herod the Cruel, as Roman Governor of Judea. He expanded The Second Temple including the construction of the 4 supporting outer walls of The Temple Mount including the Kotel – or Western Wall – which today are the only remnants of The Second Temple. He built it in order to make up for the sins he committed such as killing his own wife and kids and many other horrible crimes. He also built other structures in Jerusalem such as the Tower of David and the structure, which currently stands over the Cave of the Machpelah in Hebron. The Cave of the Machpelah is the second holiest site in Judaism and is the burial place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah. The Jews couldn't stand Roman rule and longed for a return to independence.
In this period, there were 4 different sects of Jews. The first was the Sadducees. They were aristocratic Kohanim in charge of sacrifices in The Temple. They believed in the literal interpretation of the Torah but didn't believe in The World To Come, the Messiah, or resurrection of the dead. They ceased to exist after the destruction of The Temple since their job was to run The Temple.
Another sect was the Pharisees. In Hebrew they are called Prushim because they gave perushim, which means meanings in Hebrew. They were scribes and explained the Oral Torah, which later formed the Talmud. They believed and put together the belief in The World To Come, reward and punishment, the Messiah, and resurrection of the dead. They believed that a descendant of King David, would become the Messiah and bring an end to Roman rule and a return to Jewish independence. They were for the common people. The Pharisees are the founders of what would become Rabbinic Judaism, which is the Judaism of today. Today’s Judaism considers the other sects heretical.
Another sect was the Essenes. They left Jerusalem and lived in areas in the Judean Desert near the Dead Sea. They believed that this life is bad and believed in The World To Come. They waited for the Messiah and spoke of the end of The World. They didn't have sexual relations and didn't go to the bathroom on the Sabbath. Christianity sprung from them. They are famous for writing the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. They ceased to exist since the Romans wiped them out.
The last sect was the Zealots who wanted independence from Rome at all costs. In 66 C.E., The Jews started to revolt against Rome. The Romans put down the revolt and in 70 C.E., they destroyed Jerusalem and The Second Temple. The Zealots kept fighting and went to Masada to hide from the Romans. In the end, instead of surrendering, they committed mass suicide. The Zealots therefore ceased to exist. Some people hid and survived to tell the story. There was another revolt about 50 years later but the Romans put down the revolt. Many Jews eventually went into Exile and longed for the Final Redemption, which some Jews feel today has begun with the creation of the modern State of Israel. 
   Following the destruction of the Second Temple, the rabbis of the Talmud had to keep Judaism alive without the Temple. They set up the order of prayers to be read three times a day in place of the Temple services. They wrote down the Oral Law into the Talmud. They also wrote down stories which became the Aggadot. One rabbi, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, revealed the Kabbalah which had been hidden since Mount Sinai. Over the years, it was still not known to many people until Rabbi Yitzhak Luria would start a sect of Jewish mystics in Tzvat, Israel, the city of the Kabbalah. Tzvat is one of the four holy cities in Judaism. Elijah the Prophet appeared to him and revealed even more Kabbalah to him. It was Lurianic Kabbalah which would lead to the sect of Hasidism.
Hasidism
   Hasidism is though of as old fashioned but it started as a revolutionary movement. It started in the 1700’s and by the 1800’s, 90% of European Jews were Hasidic. The movement started from the teachings of Lurianic Kabbalah.
   There was a man named Shabbtai Tzvi. He claimed to be the Messiah. When imprisoned by the Ottoman Empire, he converted to Islam rather than be killed. Despite his apostasy and heretical movement, his teachings made Lurianic mysticism well known.
The founder of Hasidism is Rabbi Yisrael Ben Eliezer. He is known as the Ba’al Shem Tov (The Master of the Good Name). He lived from 1698 until 1760 and was from Podolia/Vollynia, Ukraine. There is a story that says he said it was time to bring the Messiah but Satan stopped G-d from sending the Messiah in the middle of a cosmic process. There are many stories involving the Ba’al Shem Tov to give parables to his teachings. The Chabad-Lubavitch Movement of Hasidism published a book about him in the 1800’s but it is based on Hasidic tradition and not historical records.
Hasidism might have started as a revolt by the lower classes to give them a new way to practice Judaism. The Ba’al Shem Tov is mentioned in Polish tax records as being exempt from paying taxes and is called doctor because he was a spiritual healer. That is the only historical record that mentions him.
Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, known as the Maggid of Mezeritch, was the heir of the Ba’al Shem Tov. He built a movement. He started the decentralization of Hasidism and sent people all over Europe to establish Courts of the Tzadik. A tzadik was the leader of a Hasidic dynasty and today is called a Rebbe.  Rabbi Menachem Nachum was the first Chernobyler Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzhak was the first Berdichever Rebbe, Rabbi Elimelech was the first Lizhensker Rebbe, and Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Lyady was the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. All these students and other students or students of students, etc…,  are the founders of the many Hasidic dynasties. These dynasties became hereditary. Sometimes there was friction in succession and new dynasties started.
Mitnagdism
The opponents of Hasidism are called Mitnagdim, the Hebrew word for opponents. They said Hasidim are “rebbe worshippers” and therefore practice idolatry. They also opposed them for political and economic reasons. The Hasidim took away business from shochtim, kosher slaughters, because Hasidic kosher slaughter is stricter and they wouldn’t eat meat slaughtered by Non-Hasidic slaughters.
Around the same time as the rise of Hasidism, Jacob Frank founded another movement. He claimed to be the reincarnation of Shabbtai Tzvi and people compared him to the Hasidim causing the Mitnagdim to be even more anti-Hasidic.
The Mitnagdim were also opposed to Hasidism for Halachic (Jewish legal) reasons. The Hasidim were stricter for kosher slaughter as they required sharper knives but they were less strict on Halachic times such as prayer times. The Mitnagdim said that Hasidim changed the priority of Judaism. The Mitnagdim said Torah study is the most important part of Judaism but Hasidism said all ways of practicing Judaism were important. The Mitnagdim were very strict and didn’t “waste” any time that could be used for Torah study.
Rabbi Eliyahu, the Vilna Gaon (Genius) thought that changing priorities was the worst part of Hasidism. He was the biggest Torah scholar of his time and imposed excommunication on Hasidism. The first Lubavitcher Rebbe went to Vilna to try to convince him that Hasidism was okay but he refused to see him. The first Lubavitcher Rebbe was accused of being a French spy by the Mitnagdim so the Russians put him in jail. The day he was freed was made a Lubavitcher holiday.
The Vilna Goan was a talmid chacham (smart student) and studied from a very young age. He was never the official leader of the community but he established his own Torah center and was given a free apartment by the community. He can be though of as the “Ba’al Shem Tov of Mitnagdism”. He also mastered secular subjects and some people say he was the first Eastern European maskil (secular academic scholar) but he probably just studied those subjects to help him understand every aspect of Judaism. Some of his student, however, did study those subjects for their own sake. He only slept about two hours a day in a number of naps. He didn’t even waste time when he was in the bathroom as he is said to have written a book on a mathematical subject while in the bathroom.
When the Vilna Gaon was 25 years old, he went on a spiritual exile. He made “corrections” to the Talmud. He may have been looking for manuscripts to fix the printed text. In the 1780’s, he left Vilna again to go to the Land of Israel but he never reached it after being stuck in Amsterdam. He might have believed the Messiah was approaching. Some of his students did move to Israel and they settled in Tzvat, but they later moved to Jerusalem after conflicts there with the Hasidim. They settled in new neighborhood outside the walls of the Old City such as Mishkenot Sha’ananim and Meah Shearim. They are known as the Prushim.
Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin recognized that Hasidism was a reality so he established Mitnagdism as a form of positive Anti-Hasidism with its own ideology rather than just being opposed to Hasidism. He called it “Torah for Torah’s sake”. He said studying Torah is in itself fulfillment of G-d commandments. He said it’s a way of communicating with G-d.
In 1803, Rabbi Chaim established the Volozhin Yeshiva (seminary). It is considered to be the first modern yeshiva because until then yeshivas were small. His yeshiva had dorms and a dining room/cafeteria. The students of the yeshiva went out and spread Mitnagdism. There was a fundraising network all over Europe. He founded the new position of Rosh Yeshiva (Head of Yeshiva). This new role became hereditary.
Hasidism and Mitnagdism are the two sects that make up Haredi Judaism (Ultra-Orthodoxy). Mitnagdism is also known as Lithuanian Orthodoxy since it started in Vilna, a city in Lithuania. Other Orthodox Jews are known as Modern Orthodox. It is mostly Modern Orthodox Jews that came up Religious Zionism.
Religious Zionism
The Old Yishuv (Community) in the Land of Israel was there to live a purely religious life. They were passive. The first step to Zionism was the Forerunners of Zion in the 1850’s. Their leaders were Rabbi Kalischer, Moses Hess, and Rabbi Alkalai. They were ideological but didn’t take action. The second step was Hibbat Zion, which settled the land and founded settlements such as Rishon LeTzion, Petach Tikvah, and Zichron Ya’acov in the 1880’s. The third step was Political Zionism in the 1890’s led by Theodore Herzl. He was the founder of Secular Zionism. The Mizrachi Movement (Religious Zionist Movement) split off of the Zionist Congress because the Zionist writer, Achad Ha’Am, tried to secularize Zionist culture.
Agudat Yisrael (Union of Israel) was formed by the Hasidim to oppose Zionsim. Degal HaTorah  (Flag of the Torah) was formed by Mitnagdim to oppose Zionism. These are political parties in Israel today. Po’alei Agudat Yisrael (Workers of Agudat Yisrael) formed out of those Hasidim that wanted a middle ground between the Anti-Zionism of Agudat Yisrael and Zionism. Neturei Karta, extreme radical Anti-Zionists, formed when they split off of Agudat Yisrael which they felt wasn’t strongly enough against Zionism. They are made up of mostly Satmar Hasidim and are considered to be outcasts by most Jews, including most religious Jews. They are so extreme that they protest with Arab terrorists against the State of Israel. Their rabbi even held a vigil outside of Yasser Arafat’s hospital as he was dying. Religious Anti-Zionists see it as a sin to set up a Jewish State before the arrival of the Messiah.
The main Religious Zionist group if Mizrachi which today is represented in the Israeli Knesset by the National Religious Party. Left-Wing Religious Zionism is represented by Meimad, a party which is currently joined with Labor. Some Religious Zionists are to the Right of the National Religious Party. They went and founded their own parties such as Tekumah and the Religious Zionism Renewal Party.
The World Mizrachi Movement in 1902 in Vilna, Lithuania by Rabbi Yitzchak Yaacov Reines. The World Mizrachi Movement’s homepage [http://www.mizrachi.org/aboutus/default.asp] reports that “the World Mizrachi Movement Mizrachi [Hebrew acronym for Merkaz Ruchani (Spiritual Center)] is an ideological and educational movement based in Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] is active in 37 countries throughout the world. The ideology of the Mizrachi is based on the motto of ‘Am Yisrael B'Eretz Yisrael al pi Torat Yisrael - the Jewish people in the Land of Israel living according to the Torah of Israel’”. This was a revolutionary movement in Orthodox Judaism because previously many Jews believed that there could not be a Jewish state in the Land of Israel until the Messianic age. But led by Mizrachi, and their spiritual leader, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook, many Orthodox Jews began to believe that Zionism was a way to hasten the Redemption. They believed by actively setting up a Jewish State, they would bring the days of the arrival of the Messiah closer.
The most Right Wing Zionist movement is Kahanism. Rabbi Meir Kahane was a Brooklyn-born rabbi who immigrated to Israel. His brand of Zionism was a unique blend of Religious Zionism and the Zionism of Jabotinsky. Jabotinsky was the leader of general Right Wing Zionism which sought to overthrow the British colonial rulers in the Land of Israel and set up a Jewish State on both sides of the Jordan River. Rabbi Kahane won the only seat for his Kach Party in 1984. In 1988, he was banned from running for re-election because he was declared racist even though Arab parties, which openly call for the destruction of Israel, are permitted to run in Israeli elections. In 1990, Rabbi Kahane was assassinated in New York, by El Sayid Al-Nossair, one of the terrorists responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing.  Following the assassination, Baruch Marzel led the Kach Party but a split in the movement led to the formation of Kahane Chai (Kahane Lives). It was led by his son Rabbi Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane. The younger Kahane was assassinated on December 31, 2000, on a Samarian road as he was driving home from Jerusalem with his family. Today, even though these movements are declared illegal by the Israeli Government, they are very popular among Jews all over the World for their promotion of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s teachings of “the genuine Jewish Idea”. They believe that this ideology is unadulterated Judaism without any outside influences. Baruch Marzel now leads the Chayil Party after loosing the last elections as part of the Herut Party.
Recently, the followers of Rabbi Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane, led a campaign to bring 10,000 Jews to pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Jewish Temples stood. The Israeli Police prohibited this because they thought it would lead to incitement to Arab violence. Yisrael Meir Cohen reports “Saturday night, I left for the Old City. It was about 1:30 A.M. and to my surprise there was n problem getting into the Old City. The entrance to the Kotel [Western Wall] was only lightly guarded, allowing for easy passage past the guards and the metal detectors. … After resting for the next few hours I joined a netz (Dawn) Minyan [Prayer Quorum] for the Rosh Chodesh (new month) prayers. At about six A.M., the Kotel plaza began to fill with hundreds of officers. Teens of police vans converged on the plaza. The prayers ended about 6:20 A.M.. Just then about 20 plain cloths police officers converged on me followed by another 50 clothed officers. They led me out of the plaza.” [Cohen, 5]. This was a plan coinciding with the beginning of the new Jewish month of Nissan on April 10, 2005. They were protesting the fact that Jews can’t pray on the holiest site in Judaism even though Arabs are aloud to and preach for the destruction of Israel on the site. This is also by seen some Israeli Rightists as a way to distract the Israeli Police from protests to stop Sharon’s plan to remove Jews from Gaza. They also see it as a way for Divine intervention to please G-d to bring the Final Redemption and save Gaza and all of Israel and the Jewish People. 

As the date of Sharon’s planned “disengagement” from Gaza nears, it is expected that there will be chaos in Israel with massive civil disobedience with highways being blocked and with Jews trying to ascend to the Temple Mount. These efforts are being led by Kahanists. These are issues that may divide Israeli society and threaten civil war. It is hoped among Right Wing Jews that Sharon’s government will fall to bring an end to this policy, bring a return of genuine Right Wing politics to the Israeli Government, and Final Redemption for the Jewish People and the World.