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Kevin Bermeister

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The Neck and the Site of the Temple

Posted: 02/ 2/2012 2:59 pm

Jewish scholarly works frequently refer to the 'neck' in many instances relating it to the Temple's location in Jerusalem. One particular study of verse 4:4 in the Song of Songs, can be translated from its 22 letter Hebrew origin to: "Your neck is the Tower of David, built as an ornament." Rabbi Chaim Vital, a student of Kabbalah's famous 15th century rabbi, Yitzchak Luria -- known as The ARI, quotes this verse from Song of Songs in order to explain the secret meaning of the passage from Exodus 12:40 which describes the children of Israel as they left their state of exile, "And the dwelling of the Israelites in Egypt was 430 years."

In order to elucidate the secret meaning behind this passage from Exodus, Rabbi Vital attributes five constrictions deployed by God to distinguish His infinite state and establish the finite natural order through which He acts. Rabbi Vital explains that God uses His name "Elokim" which connotes constriction and is, therefore, representative of His manifestation in the natural world. The numerical value of this particular name equals the number 86. Rabbi Vital then brings all of this together and offers the following calculation: the 5 states of constriction times the name of God as He is manifested in the natural world which equals 430. Moreover, God's constricted state also equates to the Hebrew word meaning "the nature." In essence, all Jewish mysticism is essentially a self-help guide to redeem one's mind from its exile by rectifying its constricted state. By undergoing this process, one reveals one's expansive and, thereby, inclusive state.

To return to the Song of Songs, a few lines after the quote relating the Tower of David to the neck, the following line appears; "I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride." Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, draws inspiration from this for his inaugural work, Basi LeGani, which was written following the death of his father-in-law and presented upon the occasion of Rabbi Schneerson's acceptance as the seventh and final Rebbe of Lubavitch. Basi LeGani describes the brilliance of revelation from exile relating its realization to the Temple in which God's name, in His ultimate state, is exclusively revealed. Whilst the Temple is always physical, it is, simultaneously, the deeply spiritual vessel established by the individual in which God, in His ultimate expansive state, dwells and through which one's truest and most soulful power is revealed.

The neck is the body's constricted conduit; at the front it houses, vessels for speech, nourishment, blood and breath, at the back is the spine which feeds brain signals to the heart and body. In the time it takes for the brain's signals to pass through the neck's constricted channel, Jewish mystics identify that the transference of a thought into its physical interpretation occurs. When the physical interpretation involves speech, there is a high risk for frequent distortion as the signals are transferred from thought to action. Overcoming this potential shortcoming is a matter of free choice, and, moreover, it is a choice in which one's state-of-mind is critical to the outcome.

The Hebrew word used for the neck's ornament is talpiot which is understood allegorically by the sages as a contraction of two words that mean, in both their past and future tenses, "the heap (that was and will again be) beautiful" or "the mount (which and to which) all mouths (will) pray." The mystical interpretation of the ornament as an adornment to the neck could fill many books, but I wish to focus here only on its geo-physical implication.

In Jerusalem's City of David there exists a 'heap' or 'mound,' the subject of much excavation over the past 30 years. Today, this heap is known as the Tower of David and it is built over Jerusalem's only perennial spring known as Gihon. Recently, substantial excavations at this location revealed archaeological features so powerful they could literally rock the world. The findings contain bronze-age bedrock structures extensively used for sacrificial worship and, arguably, fortified to protect their sanctity. Around these structures all of Jerusalem eventually grew. This excavation also included a small, single monument, a sliver of stone that, remarkably (since no other like it has survived), remains standing after more than 3500 years. Supported in a frame of 12 stones, it marks the spot where Jacob slept on the night he fled from his home and the spot where he accepted upon himself the name Israel. Whilst this small stone is indeed monumental, its 12 supporting stones would have been extracted from the adjacent fully intact altar. This altar is the one used by Abraham to offer his son Isaac, and that makes the site earth-shattering because, according to the scholarly works, yet contrary to all expectations, it would also mark the spot for Jerusalem's third and final Temple.

Topographically, the exposed bedrock of this sacred mountain, visible in its entirety in the bronze-age, would have resembled a head and neck when viewed by Abraham from the southern side. Additionally, the location of the Tower of David excavation would approximate the place on which an ornament adorning the neck would lie. Well after Abraham, King David re-conquered this mountain on which a fortified city had already been built. From the City of David, he planned the first Temple, never knowing, realizing or revealing its true location. David's son, Solomon, eventually built the Temple where his father planned, on the head of the mountain within the approximate location of today's Temple Mount where the second temple was also built.

If we pay attention to the overwhelming preponderance of evidence from the Bible's exegesis, the location of the Tower of David as the neck's ornament marks "the heap (that was and will again be) beautiful" or "the mount (which and to which) all mouths pray" and this site is, in fact, the site which King David denied us when determining his plans. Therefore, in reconstructing the evidence, it is likely that, 200 years later, King Hezekiah realized this, diverted the water of the Gihon, extended the city walls, and built the Tower of David to mark, protect and hide this holy site for future generations. In doing so, his grief almost killed him.

The shocking revelations at this location will surely be a significant catalyst to change the status quo and the existing states of mind. As such it presents enormous difficulties and challenges especially amongst religious Jews who are likely to constrict and dismiss this revelation reverting to their customary or orthodox interpretations of the Temple's location. In many ways our realization of the rectified state-of-mind and its expression through speech is the final redemption in which we all accept that knowledge constitutes a completion of our exiled state and if we learn to embrace all inputs as a holistic convergence, we get to experience and realize our ultimate and aggregate potential.

Mystics and scholars of the Hebrew Torah who left a trail of clues did so to promote this rectified state emphasizing the holistic perspective; a world devoid of happenstance where every occurrence has its purpose. Their written facts stare in Israel's face unequivocally declaring its sole and exclusive right to develop the land its people have occupied, other than for abandonment because of acts of aggression against them, since the time of Joshua more than 3000 years ago. Now Israel and its leaders must boldly pursue its inherent, often unexpected, wisdom to dismiss with conviction and fortitude national leaders who demand their exilic state and to finally take its rightful place as the nation from whom other nations are inspired.

Further information on the City of David excavation is located in documents published by Kevin Bermeister at http://www.scribd.com/kevberm.

 

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