Following a sudden change of heart, Minister of Public Security, Avi Dichter, rescinded his previous ruling that barred Jews from praying, mumbling, or hiccupping on the Temple Mount. Previously, MK's from the religious right protested the ruling as unfair, inhuman and even racist and the Yesha Council of Rabbis pronounced a new day of fasting on the Jewish calendar to commemorate the odious occasion.
However, The Minister has now trumped all protests by completely reversing his ruling. According to the new decree, Jews will be allowed on the Temple Mount and they can do whatever they want for as long as they want just as long as they don't breathe while they are there.
Dichter explained this amazing change of heart, "My driver was listening to a tape by Amnon Itzhak, the great Baal Teshuva, and what do you know," said Dichter, "Even though I wasn't even listening, by the time we drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem he had me convinced. I suddenly realised what I was really missing in my life - religion."
With this intuition, Dichter then called Olmert who approved the move, "He really supported me from the beginning," said Dichter, "He told me: 'The more Jews we get on Temple Mount that don't breathe, the better."
The stipulation of not breathing was not Dichter's idea, "It is a compromise between the government's wish to do what's right and just on the one hand and the need to do what is politically possible on the other," Dichter explained, "At the moment this is the best we can do and I'm sure the people will understand."
And indeed the religious right was ecstatic in its praise of the new decision,
"It is a miracle of G-D," declared Rabbi Zalman Shoov, Head of the large "Nishmat Kol Hai" Yeshiva in Hebron, "This is everything we were praying for and more."
The Rabbi said that he would lead a group of Jews in prayers on the holy site as quickly as possible, "It is true that we are not allowed to breathe – but since when has that ever stopped us from doing what the Lord commanded us?" asked the Rabbi, "We prayed when the Greeks prohibited it, we remained Jewish when the Romans forbid it, we prayed in Europe for a thousand miserable years, so what's the big deal?" said the Rabbi, "Breathing is highly over-rated as it is. I'm not even convinced that we Jews really have to breath – we just haven't tried not to yet."
Others were less than sanguine. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the leader of the moderate Shas Party ruled that Jews must not attempt to enter the Temple Mount for reasons of Pikuach Nefesh. The Rabbi, who met with senior medical officials, said that as a result of the information he heard from the experts it is clear to him that not breathing may result in death and hence the ruling.
Other prominent Ashkenazi rabbis pointed out that not breathing over a long period of time has already been discussed at length and proclaimed "Assur" by our forefathers (Re: Sanhedrin, 16:6) and that, in fact, it has become a tradition of sorts for Jews to continue breathing as long as possible, "Our forefathers breathed all the time, including on Yom Kippur," said Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger, "And we must continue to cherish and respect this tradition which has been handed down from father to son for thousands of years."
But despite these rulings, the Zionist Rabbi Shoov said that he would go through with his plan, "This is an opportunity that cannot be missed – for the first time in a thousand years a Jew will lead a prayer on the Temple Mount. If we have to hold our breath for half an hour or more – so be it. I am sure G-d will help us as he always has before."
This would be a good time to drastically shorten the service. Don't you think?
Hat tip: Yid With Lid where I saw his article. I noticed it by browsing through Havel Havalim – the Jewish blogging carnival - which is hosted this week by Yid With Lid. Check it out – there are a lot of great posts there.
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