Rabbi Lopatin Responding to the Arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Kotel – for carrying a Torah

R. Leibowitz’s view of the Kotel as Avodah Zarah rings so true here. However, everyone, both Chareidim, Dati Le’umi, Chilonim and Reform have a right to worship Avoda Zara in the modern State of Israel. After all, Chacham Ovadia writes that it the State of Israel has to protect churches under its domain, and he holds like the Rambam that they are places of Avoda Zara.

That being said, I have long pushed for those who want to daven differently than the norm to free up Robninson’s Arch: there is no reason it has to take second fiddle to the “Kotel”. It is still the Western Wall and has more interesting Roman-era artifacts. It needs to get security and be open 24/7 like the Kotel and just leave the Kotel – for now – to the chareidim and the shnerrers who bother you when you try to daven there. Start putting kapitlach in the Southwestern Kotel! The Israeli Supreme Court has said that any kind of Jewish worship is permissible there, so those of us who want to try non-normative, and even more pleasant, services should concentrate on consolidating and building up Robinson’s arch, and then, if necessary, move on to the Kotel.

6 Responses to Rabbi Lopatin Responding to the Arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Kotel – for carrying a Torah

  1. Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, has also expressed the opinion that “The wall as it’s been understood by the Jewish people does not mean Robinson’s Arch … It just doesn’t.” (http://www.forward.com/articles/124477/)

    It’s all about the symbolism. The kotel is meanigful to many not just because of its origins but because of 2 millenia of prayer there. Robinson’s arch only meets the first criteria.

    • Asher Lopatin says:

      I don’t agree with Rabbi Yaffe. The Wall today is a vastly expanded area than it was through the ages – before 67. Let’s try this and if it doesn’t work then we can battle over the Northwest kotel.

      Shalom and best wishes,

      Rabbi Asher Lopatin

  2. Mr. Cohen says:

    Dear Rabbi Lopatin,

    Please email me the exact sources for these two:

    [1] Where does Rambam teach that churches are places of Avodah Zarah?

    [2] Where does Chacham Ovadiah teach that churches are places of Avodah Zarah?

    Thank you very much.

  3. […] Rabbi Lopatin Responding to the Arrest of Anat Hoffman at the Kotel – for carrying a Torah […]

  4. Stephen says:

    I agree as Messianic Jew we are also discriminated and have a need to pray at the wailing wall.

    For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first.

  5. anitasilvert says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this whole issue,and have davened with the Women of the Wall too. Never was I so scared to pray than I was with that group! People pushed and screamed and shoved us. The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the Kotel plaza isn’t a synagogue, but rather a national site – yet the local police and haredim choose to ignore the law…that law, at least, citing minhag hamakom, not other jurisdiction. I am Jew. I want to pray as a Jew, the way I pray as a Jew, at our holiest site. To deny Jews that right is wrong.

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