“Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name’s sake for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm -when they come and pray toward this temple.” (I Kings 8:41-3)
The conflict over the Temple Mount has grown more intense in recent weeks. Despite court rulings in the spirit that the holy site is “a house of prayer for all the peoples” (Isaiah 56:7), Jews are continuously harassed and prevented from praying at the site.
Recently, efforts by Rabbi Yehudah Glick, world-renowned Temple Mount advocate and founder of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, have produced miraculous results for non-Muslims wishing to ascend the holy site. For the first time in years, Jews and Christians are allowed to visit the Temple Mount without being harassed.
A touchingly poignant video shared with Breaking Israel News by Glick shows the fulfillment of the words of Isaiah coming true. A young boy is seen saying the prayer of Shema Yisrael with total devotion, his hand covering his eyes precisely as Jewish law requires. What is remarkable about this video is that the young boy is not Jewish.
Isaiah 56:7 states:
“Even those I will bring to My holy mountain And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
This verse is not speaking about the Jewish Temple in theoretical terms. When King Solomon dedicated the First Jewish Temple, it was meant to be a place for all nations to serve God (I Kings 8:41-3). The central rabbinical text known as the Talmud (Hullin 13b) explains, “Sacrifices are to be accepted from Gentiles as they are from Jews.”
While the Jewish Temples stood, non-Jews did regularly bring sacrifices. Though just as Jews not of the priestly class were not permitted into the inner courtyard of the Temple, non-Jews were not allowed past a low fence, called a Soreg, that surrounded the Temple.
Just as the Israelites needed the priests to act as messengers to bring their sacrifices to the altar, the Jews served as messengers for the non-Jews, bringing their sacrifices in to the Temple, thereby fulfilling the commandment of “Be for me a nation of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
Solomon’s Temple was a universal house of prayer and modern Israeli law reflects this idea. Israel is the epicenter of many religions and religious intolerance has no place in a democratic nation. Under the Ottoman Empire, non-Muslims were not permitted to pray on the Temple Mount and the Waqf continues this policy, despite its illegality. For Israel to move forward into the new era, freedom of prayer must be the norm, as in America, and the most important place to begin is the Temple Mount.