Recently, a terrible blast shook my office, on Aza Road, Jerusalem. I went to see the scene, marked with glittering strips around the burnt bus, the modern charred chariot. Like ancient priests, bearded men were carefully gathering remains of the victims, while medics flocked around the bleeding injured like angels in white, all moving boldly about their tasks, as if they took part in a familiar rite. When I returned, I thought:
Another blast on the road going to Aza(zel)... Is there a hidden message here? I made these notes:
1. The method of the killing - It was not a murder committed stealthily, but rather a carnage performed with great publicity, proclaimed by horrendous sounds, as if it were some great (artistic?) show, intended at maximising its effect in the media. It was not only homicide for its own sake. The scene had a dimension of ritual slaughter, taking in vain the name of Allah. It may have been an attempt to communicate - which could have achieved better results without the bloodshed that perpetuates hatred.
2. The scene of the crime: "Aza Road" - the historical road leading to Gaza (Aza in Hebrew), the "Road of the land of the Philistines" (mentioned in this week's Torah reading), the same Gaza which is today the main city of the Palestinians (whose name is derived from the Philistines). This ancient road follows a geographical route (West-South-West, approximately along the line from Giza to the Dome Of The Rock). It is the ancient axis along which the story of Joseph and Judah took place, going through the land of the Philistines, down to Egypt, or the return (Teshuva) back to Zion.
In addition, the corner of Arlozorov Street - may remind Israelis of the 1930' murder of the Zionist leader and the internal strife that followed.
3. The timing - a few days before the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice, which reinforces the attack's religious-ritual connotations. It seems that rituals involving human sacrifices are still publicly practised in our times.
This terror attack thus reminds us of ancient sacrificial rites, in which the sacrificial animals were chosen by lot either to the damnation of Azazel (the Devil) or to the Lord's Temple. This division puts the event on a sharp axis that either descends to Aza - or leads up to Mount Moriah.
There is a very clear route here:
Azazel => to Aza (Gaza) => Land of Philistines => Palestine => Palash-Satan (Satan invaded) => Satanic ritual. The serpent that swallows its own tail, creates a vicious cycle that degrades and victimises all humans in this country.
But if we wish to freely choose and not remain the slaves of blind fate, we can choose the other direction, the path of ascent and not of deterioration.
And so, as the Aza Road attack slowly fades, I think about the Temple as an alternative that should diffuse the hate-ridden ritual murders. If I could be assured that sacrificing animals in the Temple would save human sacrifices, I might have joined the Hassidim who protest down the road. But I yearn for a new virtual Temple. The conceptual background for my proposal is outlined in my web site - www.thehope.org, where initial thoughts are detailed at: www.thehope.org/vt-build.htm. For more details (towards publication - Wired Magazine, April 2004), please contact the author.
Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-man, cyber-architect, 12/February/2004