We all know the beginning of this unique story. A new nation was born, 3,333 years ago. A group of liberated slaves who left Egypt with great miracles, journeyed through the Sinai Desert, received the holy Torah from G-d – and became a holy nation. Mazel Tov! The People of Israel was born.
For two thousand years, we were scattered throughout the nations. From north to south, all over the world, the seeds of our holy nation grew. And in every country, on every continent, and in every city or village, we all had a single, incredible hope: to come back to our holy land, to return to the holy city of Jerusalem, to see the holy Temple rebuilt, and to see Cohanim at their holy work and Levi’im in their song. And all of us, from east and west, all over the world, silently cried for the Redemption, asking to return to Zion, to witness the rebuilding of Jerusalem, for the renewal of the service in the Temple in its glory:
“Please Hashem, be happy with the Jewish people and their prayers, and return the service to Your holy Temple, and the fire-offerings of Israel and their prayers, please willingly accept their service with love.”
“רְצֵה ה’ אֱלֹקֵינוּ בְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבִתְפִלָּתָם, וְהָשֵׁב אֶת הָעֲבוֹדָה לִדְבִיר בֵּיתֶךָ, וְאִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּתְפִלָּתָם בְּאַהֲבָה, תּקַבֵּל בְּרָצוֹן, וּתְהִי לְרָצוֹן תָּמִיד עֲבוֹדַת יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ.”
Two thousand years have passed, the Jewish nation is returning to its Land, and we are back in the holy city of Jerusalem. We can stand and whisper our prayers near to the site of the Holy Temple. The Western Wall plaza, the sacred site dedicated during the years of Exile for prayers for Redemption, is full of people. People come from all over the world to the holy Western Wall to embrace our Father in Heaven and ask for Redemption and salvation, and the Holy Shechinah is so happy Her children have returned.
But when will we be able to reach this longed-for Redemption? What will give us the Third Temple? How will we be privileged again to see the sacred work in its glory, the priests at their work, and the Levites with their song?
Chazal teach us that the Temple was destroyed because of baseless hatred – and any generation in which the Temple is not built, it is as if it was destroyed in its time.
For two thousand years we have been coming to the ruins of our holy place, praying for the promised Redemption. This holy place that was not in our hands: with great miracles we returned and now we can all come to this Holy place, embrace the ancient stones, the remnant of the Temple, and cry for Redemption.
And then, suddenly, a group of women comes and disturbs our prayers. “Why do you need a Temple?” they mock the pained worshipers. Not out of innocence and not with words emanating from inner truth, but rather out of a desire to stir things up and cause hurt. When we cry they laugh, and when we call out in pain, they film our cries and publicize them around the world. With their “worship”, our holy faith, an aspiration of two thousand years, is torn to pieces, and any attempt to ask them to respect the site is met with mockery.
It hurts, I want to say. For two thousand years we have dreamed of returning to this House to see it in its glory. Why do you come and mock our holy faith? Why do you try to forget this great hope? To scorn our great faith? To erase all that is so important and sacred to the entire Jewish nation?
Come like all of us, I ask them again and again. Come with hope, come with love, and come with faith. There is a place at the Western Wall for every Jew and every Jewish woman, and also for every man and woman, but there is no place at the Western Wall for acts of hatred, for inciting wars between sisters. We have not dreamed of this for two thousand years. We did not suffer for two thousand years to return to the Holy Land and start a fight.
“We are seeds”, they say, “give us the money we need in order to grow”.
You are seeds, but seeds of what????
Says their leader: “In the walls I always look for cracks. The Western Wall will look to you like just like a part of the wall of Jerusalem without the snipers or the golden intoxication that grows inside it. The fall of a wall begins with a crack.” (article in Haaretz, 2013).
This is the vision they try to cultivate. This is the vision they ask to finance. But this destructive vision is not the vision of the Jewish nation, is not the 2000-year-old vision of Redemption. This vision is a vision of displacement, of destruction, of loss. This vision is fake.
Let us flee from such a vision. Let us run away from planting destructive seeds that try to uproot our sacred religion. So may positive organizations exists which help people, which nurture hope, which spread love and peace. Let us raise seeds of building and not seeds of destruction. Let us sow seeds of fruit trees and not seeds of violence. Let us not grow destructive seeds that attempt to destroy our great holy hope.
Our hands are outstretched in peace. Our eyes seek compassion. Shall we all connect to our holy sources? Shall all of us connect to our ancient great hope, a hope that has begun to materialize with the grace of Hashem? We all want to continue this great aspiration; to continue our monumental holy vision; to continue praying for complete Redemption using the prayers our prophets formulated for us. We wish to continue our prayers to the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to continue waiting for the return to our holy Temple, to return to its hidden light , and celebrate the complete Redemption, speedily in our days. Amen.