Jerusalem is the core of our Jewish Tradition – in our prayers, longing, and returning to Israel.
Deep down, we are searching for the Soul of Jerusalem. What is the soul of Jerusalem? And why does this little hill sparks so much controversy and scrutiny even today?
The world denies and lies about the Jews’ historical connection to it. How are these lies allowed and encouraged today at the UN? How is a terrorist supporter and leader like Abbas given a stage to spread lies, hate and evil?
We have waited two thousand years to come back to Jerusalem. Can you imagine waiting for two thousand years? In the words of Reb Shlomo Carlebach
“What are you willing to wait for?
I’m not going to sit and wait for a bagel for two hours. It’s not worth it. Why? Because life is more important.
How long will you sit and wait for a friend? You’ll sit as long as they are important to you. Some friends are “two hours” important to you, others are “three hours.” Another is even “five hours” important. But I’m not going to sit for three days.
Can you imagine waiting for somebody 2,000 years?
We’ve been waiting for Yerushalayim for 2,000 years.
We’ve been thinking about Yerushalayim for 2,000 years.
The truth is that I’m always thinking about Yerushalayim. It is the one place I never stop thinking about. You can talk to me about anything in the world, but deep, deep inside, I don’t stop thinking about the 6 million. I can’t.
How can you forget them for one second?
How can you forget Yerushalayim for one second?
There is a little land. In that little land, there is a little city. In that city there is a little street, and on that street there is a little wall. When you stand by that Holy Wall, you can hear the footsteps of our father Abraham, and you can hear the trumpet of the Great Day to come. You hear the past and you can hear the future. You can hear the singing of the Levites. Or, you can hear us crying, going into exile. You can hear the six million crying out of the gas chambers, and you can hear the trumpet of the Great Day to come. I was standing one early morning by the Holy Wall, and I was saying Kaddish for my father.
But when you stand by that Holy Wall, you say Kaddish for the whole world. Sometimes you feel like saying Kaddish for your own soul, and sometimes you feel like saying Kaddish for tomorrow. Then you hear the words Yisgadal V’yiskadash Shmei Raba, May G-d s Name become great and sanctified, and you remember there is one G-d, and you know that the Great Morning is coming. You know that day and night will get together. The living and the dead, we and the whole world. This is my song, the song of tears, because on that Great Day the tears will march through the world, and the whole world will join them. The tears will clear the world and prepare the world. Everything will come together. We will all come together. It will be a new morning – a new beginning. “
Jerusalem represents – a place of coming together. It will be a new morning – a new beginning. A new hope.
וּדְבַר יְיָ מִירוּשָׁלָֽיִם.
For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
So, let’s try to define the Soul of Jerusalem – the rebuilt Jerusalem being an inspiration to the world, not only in the historical religious role but also the way Jerusalem is a shining light to the world and leading by example in presenting Israel and Judaism as being more spiritual, kinder, and a bedrock for the adoption of technology, Innovation, health and Agtech for the betterment of mankind.
The battle for Jerusalem
We see continued terror by the Palestinians and Hamas who recently declared – we will not stop until Jerusalem is conquered.
They also declared that our holy Temple’s site is exclusively theirs. They express the desire for Jerusalem in a clear way.
The six-day war and the reunification of Jerusalem, which we celebrate on Yom Yerushaliam, led to a renewal not only of Israel as a State, but Jewish pride, the Balei Teshuva movement, and greater feelings of redemption. This was an inspiring event of epic proportions.
So, where is our longing and enthusiasm today? Why is there a sense of complacency?
We have forgotten what is so special about Jerusalem.
What does the concept of Jerusalem represent?
Jerusalem is the connection between Heaven and Earth.
We are seeing the great output of Hitech, MedTech, Biotech, Agtech, Drive Tech, Ai Innovation that is improving the quality and safety of life, with so much of this Innovation coming from the wellsprings of Jerusalem.
And what about the Torah? We are seeing the time-eternal truths of providing an ethical and social calling. These teachings are now being adopted by the world in the form UN SDG and ESG and the Impact movement. I have written extensively on these concepts, and we have seen the Startup Nation becoming the Impact Nation.
But this is not enough. Jerusalem needs to become the symbol of Tolerance and Peace.
Quoting from Reb Shlomo, the idea of the Temple in Jerusalem was a House of Love and Prayer for all the nations, all the people in world, and peace and justice for all.
Jerusalem Day commemorates the day when the Temple Mount was recaptured in 1967. The Temple Mount is the place where the two Temples stood, and we were Jews direct our prayers too and pray 3 times a day for the Temple to rebuilt, which will lead to prosperity and peace for the entire World.
It is a day of celebration of religious Freedom of the world. Since 1967, all peoples and religions can come to the City of God and pray.
The history and centrality of Jerusalem in the bible and our prayers is the bedrock of Judaism. The importance that Christians and Moslems place is based on King David founding Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple that stood there
I want to repeat. The importance of Jerusalem to Christians and Moslems is only because of the Jews. One can try to rewrite history, but you cannot change the facts.
The Moslems are united led by the choir of the Palestinians, and Hamas are clear in their objectives of capturing Jerusalem. They have influenced (polluted) the world and the UN of their claim. A refutation of this claim is beyond the purpose of this blog.
This is the battle of the soul of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the City of God. It is City where all who believe in God can pray freely. It should be above politics.
The single idea that I want to express is here that we Jews need to be united and stand up with pride that Jerusalem is our eternal pride. We need to demonstrate National Pride.
Rabbi Kook posited that National Pride is not only honourable but actually serves as the necessary foundation to uncover the spiritual qualities of our nation. “Just as the Shechina, God’s presence, does not rest on any individual unless he is a strong man, a wealthy man, and a tall man (Talmud Shabbat 92a)…so to the Shechina resides only on a Nation responding with strength, wealth, and independence. But all of these are not worth anything unless they are the basis for the divine spiritual light, filled with the light of God and modesty.”(Shabbat Ha’aretz Introduction).
The need to instill self-confidence was critical even at the first moments of our nation’s very inception. When the Israelites were freed from Egypt, God required that the slaves ask the Egyptians for gold, silver and clothing. Why was this necessary? Rabbi Kook suggested that the importance of attaining wealth was intended to lift the nation’s spirit. A transformation was necessary. They needed to think of themselves no longer as lowly slaves but rather as a nation on the cusp of attaining greatness and nobility (Ain Aya Berachot Chapter 1, #114)
Today, in our time, we are privileged to witness our nation returning home. Over a hundred years ago, some fifty years before the State was established, Rabbi Kook penned these words: “We experience exile and mediocrity because we do not proclaim the value and wisdom of the land of Israel. We have not rectified the sin of the biblical spies who slandered the land. And so we must do the opposite of what they did: we must tell and proclaim to the entire world the land’s glory and its beauty, its holiness and its honour. Then, after all these praises, let us hope that we have expressed at least one ten-thousandth of the loveliness of the land: the beauty of the light of its Torah, the exalted nature of the light of its wisdom, and the holy spirit that rises within it.” (Eretz Chefetz).”
So today, despite the successes of the return to our homeland, there is still a disconnect in the wider Jewish world of public Hakaratov (Appreciation) to God for the miracle of the State of Israel, and the unification of Jerusalem
This, I believe, this the challenge for all us. All the tribes, streams today have an important role. Left-wing, High tech, Dati Leumi, Hareidi and Christians?
We need to work together to bring about the centrality of God and Israel into the world.
We need to shout from the rooftops that Jerusalem is ours.
Jerusalem – Then and now