Not only does the Pope wear a prayer Shawl , but he prays in a shule, Let me explain, the stole that hangs down from the Popes neck has fringes on it, (tallis) at the two ends, in all probability, has its origins but the biblical Tallis,& Tzitzis, And the shule, This is a bit more complex, When leaders of the Catholic Church met in the Sistine Chapel and selected Pope Francis, they could not know that his fans would create such hype ,and myth about him. One paper even named him Super Pope.
Shedding some light on the Sistine Chapel, in 1471, the Palatine Chapel was falling apart, Pope Sixtus spent vast amounts reviving the splendors of Rome, Founding the Vatican Library, and reconstructing the Palatine Chapel, with no humility, renaming it the Sistine Chapel after himself, this is common history.
Not so well known is the chapel was designed to be a copy of King Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem whose exact measurements are recorded by the profit Samuel. The measurements of the temple’s rear section are 134.28 long, by 43.99 feet high, the exact dimensions used for the Sistine Chapel.
Even more remarkable in keeping with the intent to simulate the sacred Jewish site, the chapel was built on two levels, the western half containing the altar and the private area for the Pope is six inches higher than the eastern half, originally meant for common onlookers. The elevated sections corresponds to the holy of holies, where only the high priests entered on Yom Kippur To show exactly where the curtain separating the two would have been in the temple, a white marble partition with seven flames was commissioned to correspond to the temple menorah.
Rome replaced the Jerusalem with the Sistine Chapel, in fact Michelangelo’s magnificent paintings advocated a revolution between Christianity and Judaism, as a teenager Michelangelo became fascinated with midrash and kabala , using his knowledge of Jewish symbols he subtly criticized the churches failure to acknowledge its Jewish origins.
Pope Julius II ordered the artist tore plaster and paint the crumbling ceiling with Jesus and Mary, surrounded by the Apostles, Michelangelo refused, the Pope who was sick gave in and let him paint his own plan. Four and a half years later the project was unveiled 95% of the chapel was adorned with heroes and heroines of the Jewish bible and the rest was filled with pagan symbols and naked boys, imagine this the 1,200 square foot of the world’s largest fresco. There’s not a single Christian figure.
One may feel indebted to the brave Italian artist, in truth Jews have no need to find sanctuary in the Sistine chapel, as we already know we have our own synagogues, indeed after the destruction of the 2nd temple , synagogues were termed a Mikdash Me , a name taken from a verse where G-d informs his people that though they are scattered , he has been to them a little sanctuary in the countries where they are ,”the sages clarify that the little sanctuaries refers to the synagogues and learning centers in the diaspora .
The church limited G-d they imagined he has but one address, for two thousand years, Jews knew better. G-d is where Jews gather in service, it could be in Rome or anywhere , in a nameless village, in someone’s living room that’s why one often hears the maximum “more than the Jews have kept the synagogues, the synagogues have kept the Jews”. Jews don’t need magnificent frescoes to prove our worth. When ten Jews set aside their personal egos and come together as a community, that is G-ds most wonderful and enduring master piece.