Jerusalem Syndrome….Jerusalem. Is it something in the water. An untraceable ingredient from an underground well? There is something. Jerusalem has always evoked messianic symbolism and exerted a seemingly magnetic attraction for people awaiting the Messiah, those who feel they can spot the Messiah and those who may even claim to be the Messiah. It’s no wonder there are those who find it unbearable that the Third Temple has not been built; as if somehow forcing the hand of god, cajoling him, poking him to redeem could repair the world and get the tourist folk to take a deep breath and smell redemption.
The classic joke in psychiatry is that If you talk to god, it’s called prayer, but if God gets you in a conversation, you’re a dinger.Apparently in Jerusalem, god is very extroverted around the holidays, especially if you’re Christian. For some reasons Muslims are not affected, or they hide it better, or as Maimonides said, and this is his judgement call, the prophet of Islam was a pathological figure, meaning the Syndrome may manifest itself in a more generalized fashion, like stocking weapons under the Dome of the Rock for example or chronic vandalism on the Mount of Olives. Old City figures babbling prophecy are not uncommon, but if they stop frequently to take in the voices of angels, it is advised to inform the police.
But Jerusalem is ready. Three thousand years of experience in giving professional aid to the growing number of insane or marginally unstable individuals who visit to Jerusalem every year. Perhaps a sign that the Messiah’s presence will soon be at hand. The most popular claims are the True Messiah, a forgotten and neglected virgin bride of Jesus, first hand witnesses of the Apocalypse, Moses, and Elijah in pre-flight mode. Instant reincarnation. Jerusalem the city of peace? It’s a one day at a time story and usually by the slimmest of margins. A page turner indeed.
The Old City seems to incarnate all the racism, violence, intensity and excessiveness that the Old Testament can muster, and the intra-Arab squabbles, legendary as they are, have to work hard to maintain their lead over Jewish divisions over interpretations of the Torah in which some want their part in the World to come immediately and without further ado:
( see link at end) ….For those opposed to increased Jewish activity at the Temple Mount, Gorenberg continues, although it’s generally wrapped in technical objections of a political or halachic nature, the subtext is that rebuilding the Temple is beyond the ability of human hands and effort and must await the arrival of the Messiah.The Temple Mount Remains a Volatile Issue..
Even though the Temple Mount has been regained and is officially part of the State of Israel, it is still being profaned as far as the God of Israel is concerned. When the Mount fell into Jewish hands after the Six Day War, Israel took the Western Wall Area but left administration of the Mount to the Muslim Council of Elders. Israel also banned Jewish worship. The secular Jews did not care and many of the Orthodox Jews believe that the Third Temple would have to await the arrival of the Messiah. These issues remain stalemated to the present day.
…There are also various historical sources that illustrate how Jews were accustomed to go up to the Temple Mount following the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. One of the most famous such sources is a recounting in the Talmud of a story that occurred after the destruction, when several of the most prominent sages of the time, including Rabbi Akiva, went up to the Temple Mount. All of them began to cry over the ruins, the Talmud relates, when they saw a fox running over the Holy of Holies, but Rabbi Akiva laughed, seeing in the experience the fulfillment of one prophecy and thereby expecting the future of fulfillment of the Temple’s restoration….Read More:http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/2012/May26/2622.html
(see link at end)…But inter-religious and political concerns aside, there is another, less prominent but nevertheless bitter dispute currently being waged, this one between different Orthodox Jewish groups regarding the permissibility of going up to Judaism’s holiest site.
The divisions among different rabbinic leaders are sharp; some outlaw ascent to the Temple Mount in absolute terms on pain of spiritual excommunication; others see the refusal to go up and insist on the Jewish right to pray at the site as a deviation from Torah law….
And although access for Jewish Israelis (and foreign tourists) is currently subject to tightly restricted, time-limited slots, this has not impeded the prosecution of a tough war of words and a struggle over the contested battleground of what is and is not permitted according to Jewish law….
…It is a widely held belief that Jews today are forbidden from going to the site of the Temple because of ritual impurity caused by contact with the dead….
…Should someone contract this status – and it is hard to avoid – Jewish law prohibits entry to certain parts of the Temple Mount on pain of spiritual excommunication.
The religious establishment, principally the Chief Rabbinate, is keen to reinforce this notion. In April, for the second time in two months, the Chief Rabbinate issued a notice reiterating the stance of chief rabbis Shlomo Amar and Yona Metzger, as well as numerous other senior rabbinical figures such as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, that it is completely forbidden according to Jewish law to visit the Temple Mount….
But for many others, the ban is an affront to their religious sensibilities. Rabbi Chaim Richman of the Temple Institute is one such person who fervently and passionately believes not only in the permissibility of ascending to the Temple Mount but that there is an obligation to do so, and to pray there….
( see link at end)…A Protestant from South America conceived a plan to destroy Islamic holy places in order to replace them with Jewish holy places. The second stage of his plan was then to destroy them in order to start the war of Gog and Magog so that the Anti-Christ would reveal himself, after which Christ would reappear. The patient succeeded in gutting one of the most holy mosques in Jerusalem. Psychiatric examination was ordered by the court, and he was diagnosed as being unable to differentiate between right and wrong, not responsible for his deeds and therefore not fit to stand trial. He was admitted to a local psychiatric institution and later transferred to a mental health institution in his own country. …
…This subtype consists of patients with ‘magical ideas’ concerning sickness and health and healing possibilities connected with Jerusalem. Interestingly, the famous Russian writer Gogol, after psychosis had ended his writing, had a revelation suggesting that he would do well to visit Jerusalem and recite special prayers at holy burial sites there in order to recover from his illness and be able to start writing again. Gogol travelled to Israel in 1848, but starved himself to death four years later (Nabokov, 1971). …Read More:http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/176/1/86.full
…The third type of the Jerusalem syndrome is perhaps the most fascinating, in that it describes individuals with no previous history of mental illness, who fall victim to a psychotic episode while in Israel (and especially while in Jerusalem), recover fairly spontaneously, and then, after leaving the country, apparently enjoy normality….Experience has taught us that improvement is facilitated by, or dependent on, physically distancing the patient from Jerusalem and its holy places….The condition most closely resembling the Jerusalem syndrome is the Stendhal syndrome identified by Magherini (1992), which describes a particular acute psychotic reaction arising among art-loving tourists visiting Florence….Read More:http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/176/1/86.full