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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Did the Vilna Gaon predict the date of the third Temple?

Last week Ha'aretz reported:
If the 18th-century rabbinic authority the Vilna Gaon was right, on March 16, 2010, construction will begin on the third Temple. His projection states that the auspicious day will coincide with the third completion of the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter.

The great day is at hand: On March 15, the reconstructed Hurva Synagogue, considered the most important house of prayer in Jerusalem will be rededicated. It was last destroyed in the War of Independence.

The Hurva, whose name means "ruin," was initially built by disciples of Rabbi Judah Hahasid in the early 18th century. It was destroyed shortly thereafter by Muslims demanding the return of loans given to build the synagogue. After it was rebuilt in the mid-19th century, it became the most important synagogue in the country, but it was blown up in 1948 by the Jordan Legion a few days before the fall of the Jewish Quarter in the War of Independence.

In 2001, after years of debate, the government decided to restore the building.

The historic building, whose famous dome one more dominates the skyline of the Jewish Quarter, has now been meticulously recreated, including furnishings and wall frescoes.

This story has been making the rounds ever since Ha'aretz published it, and now the Palestinian Arabs are, predictably, saying that Israel plans to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque in March.

But nowhere can I find a source for this "prophecy," as some are calling it. Does anyone have a source, or is Ha'aretz being Ha'aretz?