Earthquakes in reality and as a metaphor

An earthquake registering 6.2 on the Richter scale rocked Greece today and was felt in many parts of Israel and Egypt as well. Director General of the Geophysical Institute of Israel Dr. Uri Frieslander said the earthquake hit the Greek island of Crete at 1:36 p.m. Israel has seen a number of earthquakes this past year, the strongest of which occurred in February and registered 5.1 on the Richter scale.

Folks, as Rav Kook wrote,

“The horror of an earthquake – which may uproot nations, wreak vast destruction, and bury thousands of people – raises deep questions for people throughout the world. Events like these challenge us to fathom G-d’s wisdom and providence in general, and the function of such terrible destruction in particular.

Earthquakes are a vivid example of great upheaval. Gershon Salomon, a man of deep faith and founder and leader of the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement wrote here that scientists stated that a very strong earthquake will occur in the coming future and the epicenter of the earthquake will be on the Temple Mount and the Old City. Gershon also wrote about the prophetic promises of G–d that, in the end-times, He would remove the foreign pagan mosques and the foreigners from His holy mountain, the Temple Mount, through an earthquake.

The prophet Zechariah prophesied about an earthquake which would take place in the end-times:

“And his feet shall stand on that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in its midst toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall be moved toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And you shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal; yes, you shall flee, like you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah; and the L-rd my G-d shall come, and all the holy ones with you. And it shall come to pass on that day, that there shall not be bright light nor thick darkness; But it shall be one day which shall be known to the L-rd, not day, nor night; but it shall come to pass, that at evening time there shall be light.” (Zechariah 14:4-7)

According to Salomon, on Tisha B’Av 2001 a huge bulge formed on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The bulge measured 25 meters [82 feet] high and tens of meters wide running westward from the south-eastern corner (the Pinnacle of the Temple) to an area below the El Aqsa mosque, which is built on the southern wall of the Temple Mount. The ancient Herodian wall bulged as much as 90 centimeters [3 feet]. The archaeologists and engineers who checked the bulge said that there is a great danger that the wall will completely collapse and, together with it, the El Aqsa mosque which stands on it. This could happen when the Moslems are praying in the mosque. They also stated that even if the bulge is repaired it will not hold for long and the wall will collapse in any case. However, Jordanian engineers were finally brought in to repair the southern wall.

The collapse of walls on the Temple Mount, and all the other signs that were mentioned above, according to Gershon Salomon, are very clear signs that the foreign pagan presence on the Temple Mount is about to be removed.

Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes a very good article here, about earthquakes and asks “why are so many more people killed by comparable natural disasters in non-Christian countries? Natural disasters occur randomly around the world regardless of the particular faith that has shaped each nation. What dramatically changes the consequences of natural events such as earthquakes or storms is how a particular society is organized. And this is where the religious culture of the people seems to make a huge difference.”

And I must include a quote from David Weinberg’s article, When Prophecy Fails, originally published in the Jerusalem Post on Sunday, July 23, 2000:

For many religious Zionists, a diplomatic process which abandons much of Judea and Samaria, not to mention parts of Jerusalem, is theological cataclysm. An earthquake with far-reaching ideological ramifications. After all, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. God’s own redemptive hand had returned us to our biblical birthright! Not surprisingly, religious Zionist thinkers are scrambling to reinterpret the times…”the abandonment by Israeli society of core Jewish and classical Zionist values, including the grave deterioration in appreciation for the Land of Israel” is part of a theologically-mandated dark period, a purgatory and cleansing interval, on the road to better times.

Perhaps this dark period is what is happening in Israel right now because clearly there is a growing conflict between religious, or perhaps I should be more specific and say faithful Zionists and secular Zionists as evidenced this week in the blogosphere regarding Ariel Sharon and Pat Robertson’s comments about him.

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