Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sanhedrin 60: throwing stones at Markulis

In today's daf (Sanhedrin 60), in the Mishnah, we see kissing and hugging as a form of idol worship, and throwing stones at Mercury as a form of idol worship.
There is a famous Ibn Ezra on Daniel (link) that speaks of Muslim practice. He writes, in part:
"ויש לתמוה מחכמי צדוקים שפירשו זה לעתיד, ואמרו: כי המקדש היא מיכ"א שיחוגו עליה הישמעאלים והסירו התמיד, החמש תפילות ונתנו השיקוץ עכו"ם ואלו התועים, איך יתכן שיקרא מקדש רק ירושלים לבדה, וככה שמה בלשון ישמעאל בית ואיך הוא מיכ"א קדש, והלא פקחו אלה העורים את עיניהם וראו כי יש במיכ"א שיקוץ עד היום והלא מרקוליס שאליו יחוגו כל ישמעאל ממזרח וממערב לזרוק אבנים שם, ואלה המפרשים חללו המקדש.
ועוד: אם היה אלה עכו"ם אין תשובה ממרקוליס, כי זה ידעוהו אבותיו ולא סרו אנשי מיכ"א למשמעתו, עד שנשבע להם שלא יסיר עבודת מרקוליס, ואין צורך להאריך."
"One is surprised by Sadducee sages who interpreted this as referring to the future. They said that the sanctuary is Mecca, around which the Ishmaelites circle. and they put aside the daily sacrifice the five prayers (the Salat). and they set up the abomination, idolatry. And they are the mistaken. As is it may be that miqdash/sanctuary refers to Jerusalem alone. Thus it is that in the Ishmaelite language its name is “house”(al-ka’aba). And how is it that Mecca is sacred? Didn’t those blind ones open their eyes and see that in Mecca there is an abomination to this day? Is it not Mercury, around which all Ishmaelites, from east and west, circle to throw stones? And these interpreters have desecrated the sanctuary.
And further, if it was a pagan god, the answer is not Mercury, because his fathers knew him and the men of Mecca did not turn to obedience to him till he swore to them that he would not put aside the service to Mercury. And there is no need to expand."
Ibn Ezra is referring to the stoning of the devil (link):
"The Stoning of the Devil (Arabic: رمي الجمرات‎‎ ramī al-jamarāt, lit. "stoning of the jamarāt [place of pebbles]")[1][2][3] is part of the annual Islamic Hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. During the ritual, Muslim pilgrims throw pebbles at three walls (formerly pillars), called jamarāt, in the city of Mina just east of Mecca. It is one of a series of ritual acts that must be performed in the Hajj. It is a symbolic reenactment of Abraham's hajj, where he stoned three pillars representing the temptation to disobey God and preserve Ishmael."
One could also add the kissing worship of the black stone, (link):
"Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as a part of the tawaf ritual during the hajj and many try to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad."


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