On Tuesday, the holiday of the Ninth of Av, a record-breaking 1,300 Jews ascended to the Temple Mount, turning a day of deepest mourning for the destruction of the Temples into a catalyst to bring the beginnings of the Third Temple.
“I know that if there had been an announcement on the radio to go up and build, thousands more Jews were ready for that,” Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the Chief Rabbi of Hebron told Breaking Israel News of the awe-filled atmosphere on the Mount. Rabbi Ariel, an iconic figure in the Temple Mount movement who fought alongside the IDF paratroopers when they conquered the holy site in 1967, was overcome with emotion when he ascended alongside over a thousand fellow Jews on the Ninth of Av – an event unknown for a millennium, he said. “The holy site hasn’t seen so many Jews gathering together on Tisha B’av since the Second Temple was destroyed precisely 1,947 years ago,” he asserted. Indeed, while the past few years have seen a steady rise in the number of Jews who ascend to the Temple Mount on the Ninth of Av, this year broke all records. In a Facebook post, MK Yehudah Glick wrote that in 2014, 150 Jews ascended. That number doubled each of the next two years, with 2016 seeing 400 Jews on the Mount. This year, the rise was exponential.
But it was not just the number of Jews that impressed Rabbi Ariel with potential for geula (redemption). Rabbi Ariel saw a Biblical precedent in the nature of the gathering in that many of those ascending the Temple Mount were young, indicating a massive growing interest burgeoning in the next generation of Jewish leaders. “So many of the people on the Temple Mount were young,” Rabbi Ariel recounted to Breaking Israel News. ”They were like the younger generation that came out of the desert and entered the promised land. Everyone there had one objective in mind: to end the exile and to begin building.” Though the laws of the Ninth of Av, or Tisha B’Av in Hebrew, require solemnity, Rabbi Ariel was nonetheless overcome with joy at what he saw. “A person who merits seeing the beginnings of the Third Temple, God will put joy into his heart, and that is what I felt when I saw the crowds of young people on the Temple Mount,” Rabbi Ariel explained, citing Psalms.
Offer sacrifices in righteousness and trust in Hashem…You put joy into my heart. Psalms 4:6-8