the spiritual implications
We recently shared the exciting news that the IAA will finally start excavating the Shiloah Pool at the bottom of the City of David.
I mentioned in my previous blog that I want to discuss the spiritual implications of the long-awaited excavation of the Shiloah pool. It is however necessary to point out the context in which we find ourselves.
Guiding in the City of David since 2015, I always found it difficult arriving at the location and having to explain that we are merely sitting on the stairs descending into the pool, but the bulk, or basically the whole pool remained unexcavated.
My narrative had to be tweaked continuously as time went by. The tweaking is usually positive as new locations are being discovered and excavated. The same goes for the Shiloah Pool. In the beginning, it belonged to the Greek Orthodox church. For those who do not know, the City of David, the heart and origin of Jerusalem lies “apparently” in a disputed area. I never understood this. All things Israel, according to the Highest Authority in all creation, belong to the People of Israel. The Almighty made that repeatedly clear to our forefathers Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov.
Guiding a group at the Shiloah Pool . Photo: Rabbi Poston (Yiboneh)
Unfortunately, the powers that think they be, are questioning this. You see, between 1948 and 1967, the eastern part of Jerusalem was still under Jordanian control. A building frenzy ensued at that time, knowing that if the winds of change are read correctly, it is only a matter of time before the Jewish People will again be united as promised with their land and beloved eternal capital. They might not have been familiar with what was promised in Hashem’s eternal covenant with His people, or perhaps they knew, hence the building frenzy. As if you can outwit G-d.
Southern slope outside Old City before the "building frenzy"
Then there is the modern thought of all things Biblical being archaic and deemed expired, or replaceable, or upgradable – hey, the list is endless – depending on how your religious or political position inspires you to feel entitled to and acknowledged.
Logically, we need to turn to the world authority that claims they protect all the global heritage sites. I mean, that’s fair right? Enters UNESCO, the World Heritage Foundation. Sounds weighty, important, and just. Just strange that they didn’t read the Maker’s doc on Land Allocation, seeing that they claim that Jerusalem has no connection to the Jewish People or the Bible! It belongs only to one religious group. Islam.
It comes as no surprise then that they also continuously make calls to halt all excavations around Temple Mount and the City of David, as the empirical proof that is unearthed on a daily basis, just doesn’t suit their narrative. But luckily, they have some forefront academics and archaeologists, one Egyptian academic comes to mind, claiming that Israel is manufacturing and planting these discoveries.
Replica of the Siloam Inscription, the original of which was discovered in the City of David, near the Pool of Siloam. Credit: Ze'ev Radovan, City of David Archives.
It’s very hard for me to wrap my head around “planting” or manufacturing an ancient 530-meter tunnel. It becomes even more surreal that the ancient plaque, which was located towards the end of the tunnel, describing, and attesting to this wondrous feat, got stolen and ended up in the National Museum in Turkey. So, they are exhibiting the artifact (with an emphasis on fact), but they are refuting its content.
Moreover, whether we like the guy and his connections or not, Israel has deeds proving that Baron Rothchild purchased most
of the land surrounding Temple Mount, including this “disputed” area way before the “building frenzy” commenced.
“Why don’t you just reclaim your own land?” almost every group asked me when we discussed this inconvenient truth. Most at this point need to be reminded of the political “status quo” that has been dictating Israel what we are allowed or not allowed to do in our own land.
This is not new. The TANAKH is riddled with politics. Just look at the battles Nehemiah had to fight to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. What a nightmare.
Most people who want to see us arrive at the Geula Shlemah (the final LONG AWAITED redemption) are beyond frustrated with the lack of a G-d consciousness in the world. But with everything in Judaism and G-d’s system of governance, every point of frustration can be converted into an opportunity that moves us ever closer to the Geula.
It reminds me of the word Kadima, which means “onward!’. Kadima comes from the word Kedem, “that which was before”. Our rich historical sources, the Biblical commandment to remember and never forget, as well as archaeology that is daily revealing more of Israel’s past, are the ancient impetuses moving us forward.
Look how far we have come. For 2,000 years the City of David, the point of origin and center point of the Jewish people, slowly disappeared, except for Temple Mount. Although the Temple was destroyed, its location remained known. And woe to every fool that wants to claim that the Temple stood elsewhere. Their claims echo the same idiocies of those claiming that we are manufacturing artifacts. I digress.
Why did Temple Mount remain known throughout millennia, while the rest of the ancient city disappeared? It’s
G-d’s chosen dwelling place. It represents His "position”. In the greater scheme of things, G-d never moved. We did. And ultimately all will return back to Him, to what He wants, aswell as the way He stipulated it from the get-go.
Let me be clear. Yes, G-d’s Presence left our world 2,400 years ago. Ezekiel 10 and 11 speaks of His gradual, majestic but omninous exodus from the Temple. It has never fully returned. That’s why the Ark never stood in the Second Temple and many things were lost. The majority of the 10 daily miracles during the First Temple never returned. The world has been dumbing down ever since, living on a trickle of what once was. But that is about to change, as the Creator of the Universe is preparing to restore His connection to His chosen people and soon see the unification of His Shchina. This necessarily has global implications and restoration for all His creation, not just the Jews.
Which brings me to the Pool of Shiloah. In my video about the Pool of Shiloah I explain the pool’s origin and significance. You can also watch our article here for more background information.
I make it a point in my tour at the City of David, that those joining me, need to understand that Jerusalem has a soul. The sages tell us so. You can verify it in Isaiah 49 and other places
where you can see her exchange with Hashem. You forgot me, she says. I can never forget you. Even these may forget, but I will never forget you and in a time of favor I will remember you, He promises.
Charles Warren portrait by Herbert Rose Barraud of London
Credit: Wiki Commons
For 2,000 years she slowly disappeared from sight. Then, in a time of favor, Queen Victoria gets curious and sends Charles Warren to investigate. He tries to reach Temple Mount, but G-d has other plans. The Ottomans refuse Warren entry. Temple Mount needs to wait. Something else is more important. How can that be? What can be more important than Temple Mount for Heaven’s sake? Hold that thought.
Warren gets redirected. He finds a spring to the South of Temple Mount and braves its gushing waters, almost swallowing his pencil clenched between his teeth. This happened on Rosh Hashana. He sees a vertical fissure, a shaft of sorts in the ceiling above him a few meters into the tunnel and says, “There! We need to find out what’s on the other side of that”. It proves to be a tad more difficult than expected putting the Englishman in a slight spot of bother. He needs to wait for 20 days for scaffolding to arrive. They finally climb the shaft and pop out into a massive man-made cavity, 21 days after Rosh Hashana, bringing us to….drumroll…Hoshana Raba. The 7th and most powerful day of Sukkot. Much to say about that, but not the article for it.
Standing over the ancient water source, Warren realizes that he must be in the vicinity of the actual Ancient City. The City of David is rediscovered in 1867.
General Allenby enters Jerusalem in 1917. Credit: WikiCommons, Underwood and Underwood
50 years later (a Yovel cycle – one of those very significant and important cycles in the TANAKH) in 1917, General Allenby liberates Jerusalem from the Ottomans. 50 years after that, in 1967, Israeli troops liberate the Old City of Jerusalem and Jerusalem is reunited. After another 50 years, in 2017, President Trump pulls the ultimate Trump move and declares Jerusalem the Eternal Capital of the Jewish People. No head of state of any other country dared to brave the uncomfortable or that which will never be mentioned, let alone done.
Jerusalem ticks on a timeline – G-d’s timeline. And what happens with her within that timeline is very telling.
Since 1967, ancient Biblical Jerusalem was in our hands again, and we could start excavations in earnest. Over the last 40 years monumental discoveries have been made, the most important ones in the last 15 years. Buckets full of dirt are daily flying through the air, as the ancient city is being uncovered, shaking off her dust just like the prophet Isaiah said she would*. It becomes clear that things are speeding up.
Excavations at the City of David. Photo: Adina Schwab
Jerusalem emanates tremendous spiritual power. That power also affects dynamics in the world. By divine design, she had to be hidden for a while. The same goes for the Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount. Since the destruction of the Temple, the place of the Holy of Holies has always been covered by whatever was constructed by the ruling entity at the time. It is believed that a Byzantine church in the time of Heracles first covered the spot, quickly to be modified by the Umayyad Caliphate during the new Arab rule that followed. Afterward, the Crusaders captured, consecrated, and renovated it into a church, and so on and so forth. The point is, the Foundation Stone, the nuclear naval, and the point of origin of creation had to be
covered. What happens when it is covered by forces not assigned to it (meaning not Jewish, and also not with the structure G-d dictated it be, ie the Temple)? Isaiah 25:7 makes that abundantly clear. A Masecha, the modern-day Hebrew translates it as a mask (boy, am I having a Covid de ja Vu now), or in Biblical Hebrew, idolatry. Meaning a covering of idolatry is spread over the faces of all the nations. Meaning someone is walking around blind, and it’s not the Jews.
Sadly and unfortunately deeply connected, this mindset has its origin in one of the christian narratives that took place in and around the pool of Shiloah. It is by far the most poisonous narrative that has caused and stoked relentless antisemitism in the world through the ages. As the pool will be opened up, this prominent anti-Semitic rhetoric will also get some exposure to the Light, exposing its toxic intent.
Theodor Herzl WikiCommons Credit: Carl Pietzner
Back to the cover-up. You see, the more Jerusalem is hidden, the more her voice is stifled. When you uncover her, you open up her voice, and the petition she makes is clear: she wants her sons (and daughters) back. The moment we started to scratch the surface of the ancient city, the longing Jewish heart became restless, wanting to make the return to Zion a reality. It comes as no surprise that in the same time frame that Warren rediscovered ancient Biblical Jerusalem, Herzl founded the Zionist Congress and Eliezer Ben Yehuda revived the Hebrew language. Within 15 years of Jerusalem’s rediscovery, the first Aliyah wave hit Israel, with four more following. Israel has seen a constant Aliyah since and something tells me that if we are going to uncover the Pool of Shiloah, the biggest area yet in ancient Jerusalem to be excavated, a massive Aliyah wave will imminently follow.
Now keep in mind that the excavations of Pilgrim’s road which connected the Pool with Temple Mount, are also almost finished. When all these locations are connected one to another as they once were, we will see the completion between the upper and lower city, almost like an energy circuit being completed and activated.
To understand the magnitude of this we must look at the significance of the upper and lower part of Jerusalem. Psalm 122 reveals a few interesting dynamics.Verse 3 speaks of a city knit together.
First Aliyah Wave WikiCommons
It then speaks of the Tribes (Shvatim) and then in the same verse again, this time “Shivtei Y-ah”. This is interpreted by the sages as the heavenly hosts. Rav Moshe Vali points out the upper tribes are merely the upper levels of the souls or neshamot of the earthly tribes, seeing that we are connected through the five levels of the soul, of which most levels are outside our earthly bodies. Basically, when the time of the redemption comes, the Heavenly Jerusalem will for the first time completely be connected and integrated with the Earthly Jerusalem. Almost like a cosmic upgrade.
Ta’anit 5A quotes: Rabbi Yochanan said “The Holy One blessed be He declared, ‘I shall not enter the heavenly Jerusalem until I can enter the earthly Jerusalem’. The Or HaChaim expands on this: “It is well known that we have found that the Holy One, blessed be He, has chosen to dwell in the mist (araphel) and [yet] prefers to live among us. And we have also found about Him that He, as if it were possible, swore that He would not enter the 'heavenly Jerusalem' until He enters the earthly Jerusalem; behold this means that He prefers the earthly to the heavenly. Also, when we discern the reason for the creation of the entire world, we would know that the lower ones, which are His people and His inheritance, are the essence [of creation].”
[Mic drop] How important is the earthly Jerusalem! That’s why Ps 122 goes on to say: “Pray for the [sh’lom] the wholeness of Jerusalem. That wholeness means that she needs to be unified, Heavenly with the Earthly.
There is however another unification that needs to happen first, bringing us back to the question of what can be more important than Temple Mount and why Warren was consequently redirected to first rediscover the ancient city. The preceding unification that needs to happen first is that of the upper and lower part of the Earthly Jerusalem. That is between the “City of David” part which was the governmental/“political” arena of Jerusalem with the Temple – G-d’s domain. Rabbi Samuel Hirsch explains how we started to divide these two parts by telling Hashem to stay put in His house while we run our affairs according to our own devices. What a disconnect of heart and mind! As if you can put G-d under house arrest. So G-d left**.
Needless to say, things went south, fast - pun intended as the lower part of the city lies on the southern hill.
Frequently the question is asked why we allow the Dome of the Rock to still stand there. It’s not us allowing it. It’s Hashem. My opinion is that the status of Temple Mount and also the progress of the archaeology in and around Temple Mount, indicates our spiritual progress and advancement. That means that, if the Shiloah Pool is about to be excavated it means that we are on the brink of the Geulah. The earthly reflects the heavenly.
The dynamic however runs both ways, like the ladder of Yaakov. As the earthly is indicating and mirroring what is taking place in shamayim (heavens), we can simultaneously also affect change down here that consequently speeds things up there, which in return speeds things up down here, which again speeds things up there etcetera, etcetera. It's all in our hands.
As with all things Jewish, commanded by the Holy One, you need to have the correct intentions and heart meditations, otherwise, your actions get corrupted and nullified. In order to “move” within this new excavation dynamic we have to keep in mind that the Pool of Shiloah was a mikveh (ritual bath) which, done correctly, rendered you spiritually pure and ready to make Aliyah, to ascend and appear before the Holy One, blessed be He. This means that we will see an intensified period of cleansing in the world.
Shiloah Pool - Photo credit: Koby Harati, Rendition: Shalom Kveller - City of David Archives
You can choose to work on yourself voluntarily, right your wrongs, do the mitzvot, sharpen your middot and relentlessly work to enlarge yourself as a spiritual vessel to receive more Light. One way is to infuse your daily study and actions by reading the Shir HaMaalot (Songs of Ascents), Psalm 120 -134 at least once a week and preferably on Shabbat. These are the songs the pilgrims sang as they were making their ascent from the Pool, up the pilgrim road, and also which the Levites sang, standing on the 15 stairs at the Nikanor Gate.
Or, you can let this opportunity pass you by and let the work be done to you through harsh trials that will befall you as the expired world system slowly implodes. The choice is as always, yours.
* Isaiah 52:2
** Ezekiel 10 & 11