During the fast day to commemorate the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem this week, a fox was sighted on the wall of the Temple Mount, fulfilling an ancient prophecy about the ruins of the holy site.
Footage of the fox on the southern wall of the Temple Mount went viral on social media after the animal was spotted Wednesday night.
As the Jewish world is mourning the ninth of Av (Tisha Be’Av), the date on which Jews mourn the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem following its destruction by the Romans, a fox has been spotted walking near the Western Wall on the night of Tishah B’aav.
It is written… pic.twitter.com/Peithi6GMh
— Israel Heritage Foundation (@IHF_Heritage) July 27, 2023
Social media users noted that the fox’s presence at the holy site on the night of Tisha B’Av – the traditional Jewish fast day commemorating the destruction of King Solomon’s Temple and the Second Temple – reflects the prophecy of Uriah from the book of Micah (3:12) fulfilled: “Therefore, for your sakes, Zion shall be plowed like a field, and Jerusalem shall become a heap of stones, and the Temple Mount a wooded hill! (a place where you can find foxes).”
The Babylonian Talmud describes the following story:
It happened that Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Joshua, and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem. When they reached Mount Scopus, they tore their robes. When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox coming out of the Holy of Holies. The others began to cry; Rabbi Akiva laughed.
They said to him: “Why are you laughing?”
He said to them, “Why are you crying?”
They said to him, “A place so sacred that it is said of it: ‘Let the stranger who approaches it die’, and now foxes pass through it, and we shall not weep?”
He said to them:
“That’s why I laugh too. For it is written, ‘I shall have faithful witnesses for me–Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.’ Now what is the connection between Uriah and Zechariah? Uriah lived in the First Temple period, and Zechariah in the Second Temple period! But the Torah makes Zechariah’s prophecy dependent on Uriah’s prophecy. It is written about Uriah: ‘Therefore Zion will be plowed like a field because of you; [Jerusalem will become heaps, and the Temple Mount like the heights of a forest]’ By Zechariah it is written: ‘Old men and women will still sit in the streets of Jerusalem’ (The city will live in peace).
“As long as Uriah’s prophecy had not been fulfilled, I feared that Zechariah’s prophecy would also not be fulfilled. But now that Uriah’s prophecy has been fulfilled, it is certain that Zechariah’s prophecy will be fulfilled.”
With these words they answered him: “Akiva, you have comforted us! Akiva, you comforted us!”
Today we are still waiting for the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy, but we are already closer to it than Rabbi Akiva was some 2000 years ago.
Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands, but peace is still a long way off.
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