A top Israeli rabbi this week related excitedly to the fact that Pope Francis had earlier in the month encouraged Christians to keep the Sabbath, just like the Jews.
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu is the chief rabbi of the northern city of Tsfat (Safed). He is also one of the most respected rabbis on Chief Rabbinate Council, and is considered “rabbinic royalty” as the son of former Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Israel Mordechai Eliyahu.
In an impassioned YouTube clip posted on Monday, Rabbi Eliyahu told his audience, “You probably won’t believe it, but the Pope called on the inhabitants of the world to keep the Sabbath like the Jews.”
The rabbi was referring to Pope Francis’ recent appearance on 60 Minutes, in which he decried the destructive pace of modern society.
The Pope reminded Christians that even God rested from His work and noted that to this day the Jews “consider the Sabbath as holy. On Saturday you rest. One day of the week, that’s the least! Out of gratitude, to worship God, to spend time with the family, to play, to do all these things. We are not machines!”
Rabbi Eliyahu insisted that this turn of events was simply “unbelievable. Those who have decreed that we will not keep Shabbat now understand what the value of Shabbat is.”
With the way things are now going, Rabbi Eliyahu said he “would not be surprised if soon the Pope “decides to return the Temple Menorah to us. Who knows, maybe even the Arabs will gain some sense and evacuate the Temple Mount so we can build the Temple there, understanding that the Temple is going to bring a blessing to the world.”
Who has the Menorah?
Many Orthodox Jews believe that the Menorah and other Temple implements have for millennia been stored in Rome. They base this on the writings of the Jewish historian Josephus, according to whom the Temple treasures were carried off by the Romans following the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD, and later placed in Emperor Vespasian’s Temple of Peace.
In another YouTube video posted last week, Rabbi Levi Sudri, who won Israel’s National Bible Quiz in 2015, warned that the coronavirus will not subside until the Vatican returns the Temple Menorah and allows Israel to fulfill its divinely-appointed destiny.
Speaking first in Hebrew and then repeating his plea in Italian, Rabbi Sudri said:
“This is a historic opportunity to bring the world to its rightful state and to stop the coronavirus from devastating humanity. The response of the global political, medical, and scientific communities in the face of the present pandemic is noble and necessary. We ask the Vatican to enable the Nation of Israel to do its true part, beyond the development of vaccines and the effecting of quarantines in which Israel is already engaged.
“Restoration of the Temple services will crown the Rock and Redeemer of Israel, thus completing the efforts needed to bring about the historic change that humanity now seeks.”