Prophecy fulfilled? Foxes spotted in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tisha B’av

Prophecy fulfilled? Foxes spotted in Jerusalem’s Old City on Tisha B’av

In a clear sign of the imminent rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, a fox was spotted near the Zion Gate in the Old City on the evening of Tisha B’Av, the day commemorating the destruction of the two Temples.

The fox was photographed by Barak Blumenthal as he toured the city on the auspicious day.  

While not miraculous, foxes generally avoid cities and populated areas. Indeed, the sighting comes when Jerusalem was full of people coming to commemorate the day. In 2019, several foxes were spotted on the Temple Mount during the nine days of austerity leading up to the Ninth of Av. 

Wild foxes at the site of the destroyed Temple are described specifically in the Talmud.

This story in the Talmud describes foxes on the Temple Mount as a sign that Jerusalem will be rebuilt. This precise scenario was discussed in the Talmud (Makkot 24b). Rabban Gamliel, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaria, Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Akiva went up to Jerusalem.

When they reached the Temple Mount, they saw a fox emerging from the place of the Holy of Holies.

The others started weeping, but Rabbi Akiva laughed. Rabbi Akiva asked the rabbis why they cried and they explained that to see a wild animal in such a holy place, a place which was forbidden to unfit men, was distressing. Rabbi Akiva noted that this was precisely the reason he laughed. He explained that the fact that the prophecy of Uriah related by the Prophet Micah had come to be was proof that the prophecy of Zechariah would also come to be.

The Prophet Micah described the total destruction of Jerusalem.

 Assuredly, because of you, Tzion shall be plowed as a field, And Yerushalayim shall become heaps of ruins, And the Har Habayit A shrine in the woods. Micah 3:12

The Prophet Zechariah described the return of Jerusalem to its days of glory.

Thus said the lord of Hosts: There shall yet be old men and women in the squares of Yerushalayim, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the squares of the city shall be crowded with boys and girls playing in the squares. Zechariah 8-4

Indeed, the fox was witnessing the manifestation of the prophecy as the city was full of Jews, young and old, enjoying what had historically been a day of austerity. 

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