The Red Heifer
Nine years ago I attempted to convey the idea that our leaders could have avoided the war in Afghanistan if they had been more knowledgeable about Middle East and Muslim cultures. I received 50 comments on the internet without any of them addressing my thesis. I don’t know if it was my lack of writing skills or comprehension deficiencies. I would have included my view, if we didn’t set up military basis near the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina we may have avoided 9/11.
Middle East culture is extremely complex, but before declaring war our leaders should have been well educated in this area. If I were King I would require politicians, who are going to solve our education problems through testing, take a required test on the history and culture of any country they contemplate invading. I have read many books on this subject before and after the 1st Gulf war and still have only a basic understanding of the history of Islam and the Middle East, but was able in a 2003 Other Voices Column predict the Civil War in Iraq and five to at least ten years of occupation by our military. It seems our leaders could have obtained this same information with little effort.
One example of the complexities I wasn’t aware of was Gershom Gorenberg’s theory in his book “The Last Days” that WW Three would be ignited in Jerusalem because of 35 acres of land containing The Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock and a couple of sacred Mosques. Israel gave administrative rights of this area to the Muslims after the Six Day War.
The reconstruction of the Temple would cause violence because The Rock of the Dome on the Temple Mount is sacred to the Muslims as this is the place where Mohammad ascended to heaven. According to Mohammad’s biography by Karen Armstrong, that after his death Gabriel took Mohammad on a white steed to the Temple Mount to ascend to heaven. There were many notables there such as Moses, Abraham, Jesus, and others to pray for him. Gabriel set a ladder on the rock and as ascending he was guided at different steps by Moses, Jesus and other prophets. At the last step was Abraham
Some Rabbis ruled Jews should not enter the gates of the Mount as under religious law every Jew presumed to have had contact with the dead are unclean until they have the ashes of a red heifer to purify them.
This leads to the story of the Red Heifer, which I wasn’t aware of in my reading of the Bible. Some conservative Orthodox Jews believes that according to Numbers 19 the ashes of a perfect red heifer will purify the unclean Jews so they can rebuild the temple that was destroyed in the year 70. Gershom’s theory is that if a red heifer is found and the temple is rebuilt we will have WWlll.
The birth of a calf Melody in 1996 seemed to defy nature. Her mother was a black and white Holstein, but Melody was red. The heifer must be three years old before being sacrificed, but before her third birthday a number of white hairs were found in Melody’s tail disqualifying her for sacrifice. This saved a conflict over the Temple Mount.
“The fact that millions of quite rational men and women belonging to established religious movements around the globe look forward to histories conclusion, to be followed by the establishment of a perfect era.” A large group of Evangelicals are now supporting Israel, probably for this reason. They believe if the temple is rebuilt Christ will appear, kill all the Anti-Christ and have peace on earth. An Evangelical Preacher and cattle breeder named Lott, born in Mississippi and living in Nebraska, is attempting to breed a perfect red heifer at this time.
I have only touched on a few complexities and vulnerabilities of the area we have invaded as a demonstration of the possible volatility of this region.
A powerful Preacher, John Hagee , with access to 50 million viewers, and 18000 members, plus supporters Tom Delay and some Jews such as Senator Lieberman, advocates the expansion of Israel’s occupation of Palestine and the bombing of Iran. We must be careful with our actions in the Middle East as we have stirred up enough problems there. Patriots must question charismatic religious leaders as well as politicians.