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Criticism towards Fijians at the Wailing Wall

Criticism towards Fijians at the Wailing Wall
July 06
23:30 2017

A Jewish Rabbi has criticised the way a group of Christian Fijians pray at the Wailing Wall or Kotel, in Jerusalem.

Gutman Locks has lived in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City and has spent some six to seven hours a day at the Kotel every day for the past 31 years.

He has written a number of books and several articles for online platforms including 50 YouTube videos for a number of years.

The Wailing Wall which is also known as the Western Wall or Kotel was built as part of the expansion of the second Jewish Temple by Herod the Great.

It is considered a holy place to pray for those of the Jewish faith because of its connection to the Temple Mount.

Many Christians including Fijians travel to Israel to walk the streets where Jesus walked and relive places one only reads about in the Bible. The Wailing Wall is always one of those ‘must visit’ locations.

Rabbi Locks was concerned about how Fijians prayed at the Wailing Wall.

When contacted by email to confirm his Facebok posting, Rabbi Lock said: “I am pleased that you’re going to help your readers to become aware of this problem.”

But he said Fijians were generally nice people.

“Understand that Fiji visitors are but a tiny percentage of the Christian visitors to the Kotel.”

On his Facebook page Rabbi Locks titled his post “Idolatry at the Kotel.”

 

Below is part of what he shared:

“First, understand that they are very nice people, really. Now, having said that, know that it is not pleasant to daven with them sitting in front of the minyan.

“They like to come very early in the morning and stand close to the Kotel. Often, they start mumbling very loudly in Fijian. Some of them are holding a copy of their “new bible” with the story of yushka. And today one of them added a shirt to advertise his distorted belief that man was god!

“Often they sit or stand close to the Kotel when we are davening so we have non-Jews praying to yushka right by us when we pray. It does not feel good to have someone worship an idol sitting a few feet away from us when we are praying.

“Obviously it is forbidden for anyone to worship an idol anywhere, and all the more so is it forbidden to do so in this holy place, but no one does anything about it. When they get too loud, and especially if they are making the Torah reading is hard to hear, I yell at them and they look startled, but they stop.

“Seeing that no one is doing anything about it, I asked the senior Rabbi of the Old City if they are allowed to do this. He said that it is forbidden, but do not stop them. When I asked him why aren’t they told that their religious practices are not welcome in this holy place? He replied that it would make a huge disturbance in the Western world.

“Can you imagine what would happen if they would do these things in a mosque at prayer time?

Surely there is some polite, effective way to let guests know that they should not display their idolatrous beliefs at the Kotel.”

The Rabbi’s post attracted numerous comments. It was shared over 250 times. In fact, it was the most shared post so far.

 

Rabbi Locks’s concerns were well received by the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) Fiji – national director, Mikaele Mudreilagi.

“I really don’t know what group that was and I don’t really know what the issue might have been, but it’s possible maybe sometimes Christians, maybe it’s a Christian way of praying, maybe the person went to pray, pray loudly and it could have offended the Jews.

“I wouldn’t really know the whole situation but it could be a whole misunderstanding between the way the person who prayed.  Maybe he was genuine but maybe the Jew was offended.

“The style of praying maybe, maybe it was Pentecostal and not evangelical so it could have been what Rabbi Gutman Lock was offended.”

 

For Mr Mudreilagi, most of those under the ICEJ visit Israel during the Feast of Tabernacle (September-October).

“We try to keep protocols always for reverence at the wall and in actual fact the real reverence that people have for the Wailing Wall being the last western portion of the temple, some of us we also do it in reverence – to walk backwards just as you would do in front of a high chief so we keep that reverence also.

“Sometimes with the things that have happened in history of the Jews, they are also hurt because of the Spanish acquisition as Christians were portrayed of being in control of that, which caused  a lot of hurt to the Jews.

“And even Hitler himself proclaimed himself as a Christian and that hurt the Jews as well on how a Christian could have caused the extermination of six million Jews.

But Mr Mudreilagi said they were focussed on preaching the love of God in Christ Jesus – by bringing the Jew and the Gentile world together.

“Because the message of salvation that actually saved our nation from cannibalism, bloodshed and tribal warfare was the message of salvation that came from Jerusalem and it was the words of the Lord Jesus where he said go preach the Gospel from Judea to Samaria to the ends of the earth and we are at the ends of the earth. So our gratitude is to the Jewish people as well for the gospel that came from Jerusalem.”

Mr Mudreilagi also advised for Fijians who visit the Wailing Wall to follow protocol.

Feedback: mere.satakala@fijisun.com.fj

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