Akiva Lamm

The City of Dreams

At the end of a long game of basketball, there is often one guy that grabs the ball to have “just one last shot.” He’ll continue shooting until he makes the shot, and then will move on to another spot, and then another. “Just one more shot,” he’ll say, time and time again, refusing to leave the court, no matter how tired he is until he is satisfied.

You’re setting up a table for catering. The cakes are set up in circles, the drinks in triangles, but something is missing. You rearrange the table again and again, tired as you are you refuse to allow yourself to rest. You want things to be perfect.

You went out on a date, she was very nice, not to hard on the eyes, funny and even interesting, but somewhere deep down inside isn’t there. You can’t explain it, but something is missing.

Ze’ev Zabotinsky explained his opposition to the Uganda proposition: “I voted against (the proposition), and I do not know why. Because. The same ‘because’ is stronger than a thousand arguments.” Under enormous pressure, the future Zionist leader of the Revisionists saw the Jewish state as a threshold for the Jewish people. He also believed that Herzl was somewhat of a prophet, and yet, when it came the Uganda proposal, had to put his foot on the ground and say no. Why? Naively perhaps, Zabotinsky simply answered ‘because.’ Because we have a vision. Because we aspire for better. Because we know we can do better.

When Rabbi Akiva laughs at the sight of the foxes as they leave the destroyed Temple Mount, it’s for those reasons exactly. He had a vision, to foresee the good days to come, and had the aspiration to make things better. He knew that from that point things could only get better. With his own eyes he saw prophecy of the tragic destruction of the Second Temple come into fruition, therefore knowing the prophecy of redemption of the Third Temple will also come true.

In recent history, two people saw the future and prophesized in their own time: song writer Naomi Shemer and The Rabbi Zvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook. They both spoke on the eve of the 19th Independece Day of the State of Israel. Shemer wrote about the loss of Jerusalem and about the longing to return, and Rabbi Kook wrote about the long lost land. They both wondered how were they lost, and mainly – when will we return to them. Shortly afterwards, they were both miraculously answered, and for a split second, Jerusalem of the heavens and Jerusalem of the earth were united once again. As said by King David, Jerusalem was a united city.

Jerusalem of the heavens came down to earth for approximately four hours, until Jerusalem of the Earth kicked it out. Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who exclaimed “For this Year in Jerusalem!” was forced to see the Temple Mount turn to his own Nevo mount as Moshe Dayan returned the keys to the Muslim Wakff.

Today, the revived Old City has returned to be the focal point of conversation. We see people from the Haredi circles stoning the women of the wall, who are persistent in their way to express their faith in the holiest place to the Israeli society. We see the Jewish pilgrims demanding their right to worship G-d as they please, in the most sacred place for the Jewish people.

Why is this struggle so essential? How come it’s so crucial for these different sects to get a foot in the door to the house of G-d? It’s Jerusalem, the city that brings us all together and draws us apart simultaneously. It represents our deepest dream for peace, the messianic vision of all of us, whether it’s to be a sacred kingdom or a pluralistic city that accepts all religions; whether it’s the eternal city, or a city that embraces the homosexual community; it all comes down to Jerusalem, the city where we wish to make our dreams come true.

“From Zion will come the Torah”, says Isaiah the prophet. The Torah, the message that will come from Jerusalem is what stands on top of the moral pyramid. To paraphrase the words of the poet Uri Zvi Greenberg, “whoever rules over the Mountain rules over the land”, I’ll say that whoever controls Jerusalem, controls the policy of the land. The struggle for Jerusalem is a real battle, a fight for the right to fulfill dreams. Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Liberation Day) is one way to remind ourselves of the city, but the battle for control wages on all year long in the forms of protests, demonstrations, and clashes

The internal struggle within the nation can end only once that last shot goes through the basket, the table is set just as we have imagined and that first date is the last first date we need to go on. For Jerusalem to become a truly united city, for the intended connection between the Jerusalem of heaven and the Jerusalem of earth to be actualized, we must take our dreams out of the realm of the imagination and bring them into reality, and fulfill the dream of Jerusalem.

About the Author
Deputy Editor and Columnist for Channel 20s' news website.