Jerusalem At Our Table

This article is not intended particularly for Israeli readers who are familiar with its content. It is written primarily for our many interested non-Jewish readers across the globe.

When religious Christians sit at their dining table, it is customary for them to say grace, to thank God for the meal which they are about to eat. There is no mention of Jerusalem in that prayer.

When Muslims sit at their table there is no specific blessing on the food and no mention of Jerusalem.

In fact, while Jerusalem is mentioned in the Jewish Bible more than 900 times, it is never mentioned, not even once, in the Koran.

While Jerusalem is the number one holy city for all Jews, for Muslims it is the third holy city after Mecca and Medina. Muslims face Mecca when they pray. Jews face east to Jerusalem when they pray.

No people or nation regards Jerusalem with the same eternal love as do the Jewish people and the nation of Israel.

At our dining room tables, we offer blessings to God before we eat and again at the conclusion of every meal. Therefore, Jerusalem is at our table three meals every day.

We recite the 137th psalm: “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept as we remembered Jerusalem. We hung our harps on the willow trees along the rivers. The people who captured us and forced us into exile demanded that we sing a song and play upon our harps. Sing us a song of Jerusalem and Zion, they demanded. And we answered, how can we sing God’s songs in a strange land? If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember Jerusalem, if I do not raise Jerusalem’s memory above my greatest joy… O God, remember the day of Jerusalem’s destruction and punish those who cried out: Destroy it ! Destroy it!……”

And again: “We thank You for many things, O God: for giving the Land of Israel to our ancestors as our own land…..”

And again: “Have mercy, O God, on Israel Your People, on Jerusalem Your city, on the Temple Mount, the place of Your Glory, on the kingdom of the family of David, Your anointed king…..”

And again: “Please, Lord our God, let us see Zion, Your city, being comforted and Jerusalem, city of Your Holiness, being rebuilt….”

And again: “May You rebuild Jerusalem, the Holy City, soon in our lifetime. We bless you, O God, who rebuilds Jerusalem in His mercy. Amen”.

Three times daily a Jew recites these blessings at the conclusion of a meal.

And on Holy days and on the New Month we add: “we keep the memories of our ancestors, of Messiah the descendant of Your servant David, of Jerusalem Your Holy City, and of Your entire nation, the Family of Israel….”

Clearly, one can see the sanctity of Jerusalem in the daily lives of the Jewish people.

No other nation or people can claim Jerusalem as theirs. It was given by God to His people Israel as an eternal blessing, and so it will always remain.

Jerusalem can never again be divided, partitioned or shared. All people of goodwill may come freely into her gates and worship God, each in his/her own way.

But Jerusalem, city of Zion, built by King David, will forever be the capitol of the State of Israel and the natural home of the Jewish people scattered everywhere.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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