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January 25, 2014 / conservadox

Dvar Torah- Terumah

This coming week’s Torah portion discusses the contents of the Tabernacle, including the first Menorah (Exodus 26).  Both temples included menorahs based on the Torah’s model.  Scharfstein correctly points out that the Arch of Titus in Rome “shows the menorah from the sacking of Jerusalem being carried on poles by the Roman soliders.”  Then he adds something slightly infuriating: “Today the descendants of the vanquished… have rebuilt Jerusalem in the State of Israel.”   

This comment implies that Jerusalem didn’t exist between 70 and 1948, which is, of course, false.  Jerusalem existed as a Roman city, and then got batted back and forth between Arabs and Christians for a millenium or so.  In 1944, there were over 150,000 people in Jerusalem.  Even if one only looks at Jews, the Jewish population topped 1000 in the 1500s, and hit 13,000 in the last Ottoman census (1905).  

Scharfstein’s comment is not as odious as the attempts by some Muslims to deny the existence of the Temples.  Even so, we should resist the temptation to bend history to our political agendas, because as the Talmud says, the seal of God is truth


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