Ahead of the Lag B’Omer celebrations on Wednesday night, Tzfat (Safed) Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu spoke to Arutz Sheva about the spiritual awakening of the Jewish nation in Israel – and declared the “next step” in that process is to control the Temple Mount.
The Mount, which was the site of the First and Second Temples and is the holiest site in Judaism, remains under the de facto control of the Jordanian Waqf despite having been liberated in the 1967 Six Day War. The Waqf bans Jews from praying at the site and imposes harsh limitations and discrimination at the holy site.
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Rabbi Eliyahu began by talking about the massive festivities at Meron, located in the north near Tzfat, where multitudes of Jews turn out on Lag B’Omer to commemorate the day of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s (Rashbi) passing at his grave.
He noted the turnout has in recent years jumped from 30, 000 or so up to around 600, 000 Jews who now visit Meron on Lag B’Omer, and all that increase comes despite the lack of a formal campaign to try and raise the numbers.
“The nation of Israel is waking up inside. The nation of Israel wants holiness. The nation of Israel wants the real deal, not the Reform, ” he said in explaining the phenomenon – and criticizing Reform Judaism that rejects the divine nature of the Torah.