The sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride, the voice of those who cry, “Give thanks to the lord of Hosts, for Hashem is good, for His kindness is everlasting!” as they bring thanksgiving offerings to the House of Hashem. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as of old—said Hashem.” Jeremiah 33:11 (The Israel Bible™)
Jews are ascending to the Temple Mount in record numbers and though non-Muslim prayer is still being suppressed, a new trend is bringing about the sweetest prophecy imaginable.
During the Hebrew month of Tishrei in which Jews observe Rosh Hashanna, Yom Kippur, and Sukkoth, a record of 5,940 Jews ascended to the Temple Mount, the most of any month in modern history. For comparison, last year, 4,702 Jews ascended during the month of Tishrei last year. In addition to the quantitative improvement, the past year has seen a growing number of prominent rabbis expressing their support by personally ascending to the Temple Mount.
There is also a growing phenomenon of couples who ascend together as part of their wedding day. This month at least five grooms and four couples informed Yera’eh, a Temple Mount activist organization that tracks such data, that they had done so.
Two years ago, Tamir Dortal, who podcasts from Jerusalem, took this one step further. When he was ready to marry, he took a bold step to connect this most important aspect of his life to the holiest site in Jerusalem. At its most simple form, a Jewish wedding involves giving some object of worth (usually a ring) to a woman in front of two witnesses and reciting the phrase, “ הֲרֵי אַתְּ מְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לִי, בְּטַבַּעַת זוּ, כְּדַת משֶׁה וְיִשְׂרָאֵל” (Behold, you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the law of Moses and Israel). The act itself is simple, requiring just a few key seconds, but to Dortal’s credit, he managed to do so under the watchful eyes of both the Israeli police and the Muslim Waqf.
“The Shechinah (God’s holy presence) never leaves the site,” Dortal told Breaking Israel News. “It is the place that God made his covenant with Abraham and his descendants, which is a form of marriage. This relationship was affirmed every year at this place on the holy days. It is like a wedding anniversary.”
“Weddings are usually a public affair even though it is really about the couple. It is expressing your love for your wife in public. The Jews are being prevented from expressing their love for God in public.”
“Ascending to the Temple Mount is not simply an act of devotion. It is an act of conquering the land of Israel, no less than a soldier. If only Arabs are present, then we have lost the war. By acting on our ownership of the site, we also bring to play our values like freedom of religion. As long as the Arabs express their presence as if they own the site, their values will rule and they will be the only ones allowed to pray there.”
The verses in Jeremiah which are sung at Jewish weddings are particularly poignant when considering the prophetic impact of Dortal’s wedding vows on the Temple Mount.
Thus said Hashem: Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say is ruined, without man or beast—in the towns of Yehuda and the streets of Yerushalayim that are desolate, without man, without inhabitants, without beast-the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride, the voice of those who cry, “Give thanks to the lord of Hosts, for Hashem is good, for His kindness is everlasting!” as they bring thanksgiving offerings to the House of Hashem. For I will restore the fortunes of the land as of old—said Hashem. Jeremiah 33:10-11
Dortal did not cheat his bride. They did have a proper wedding feast but his approach to sanctifying his love in the place God chose bore fruit. He has been blessed with a lovely child and another is on the way.
Unfortunately, the Israeli police continue a policy of removing Jews who pray at the site or perform any religious act (including marriage). According to Israeli law and consistent with international conventions pertaining to freedom and equality of religion, Israeli law mandates against discrimination based on religion and requires people of all religions to be permitted to pray at all the holy sites in Israel. This law permits the police to modify how that policy is implemented based on security concerns that Muslims will use Jewish actions to behave violently.
The popular conservative political pundit Ben Shapiro prayed at the site ten days ago. His celebrity status did not prevent Israeli police from removing him. Shapiro responded on his podcast by saying that he considers it to be “absurd” that Jews cannot pray on the Temple Mount. He called for the construction of a synagogue at the site.
(It should be noted that Tamir Dortal remains a fervent and active supporter of the Temple Mount and toured the site with Ben Shapiro.)
Shapiro is merely a high-profile example of a police policy carried out on a routine basis that contravenes Israeli law. On Wednesday, five Jews were detained by the police for acts that ranged from shouting out “ה’ הוא אלוהים” (God is our Lord), standing and speaking words of prayer, or fully prostrating on the ground. It should be noted that prostrating in the worship of God is a Biblical commandment that may only be performed on the Temple Mount.