Yom Yerushalayim: The City and People of Eternity

I stand at the Kotel, the “Wailing Wall”

I see her frozen tears and her eternal smiles

Her passing clouds with many sighs

Her pitiful laughter at those who wanted to destroy her but did not succeed

I read her holy books and hundreds of thousands of names

From Egypt, Babylon, Rome, Spain, Hungary, America and Africa

I hear the cries from Auschwitz, Buchenwald, and Dachau

And the playful delight of today’s Jewish children in Yerushalayim’s courtyards

I see the auto-da-fes in Spain, the Crusades, the pogroms and the Roman torture chambers

Mothers crying for their children

Women of all ages

But also the Israeli flag with King David’s star atop Jerusalem’s stones.

The thousands of written prayers in the crevices of the Kotel’s walls

I encounter the crying soldier, the sobbing stone-hard businessman,

The movie star, the confused politician, the housewife, and the Yeshiva student

And I realize that all those insufferable and defiant anti-Israel world leaders have not yet learned that with all their power, they can’t impose their will on these heavenly stones

Yeshayahu stands beside me

A little further on, Rabbi Akiva

My teachers, Maimonides, Yehudah Halevi, Hillel, and Shamai

Behind me the Gaon of Vilna in deep thought

The Baal Shem Tov in exalted devotion

Women, men, children, Mitnagdim, Chassidim, Ethiopians, Yemenites, Sephardim, and Ashkenazim

Jews of all colors

There is no time, no clock, no early or later at this Wall

Just broken eternity

I stand but cannot grasp

I say my tefilah

Then the truth descends on me:

I know

I have never left this place.

I find myself here for thousands of years

The return to Zion is unprecedented

A happening sui generis

The creation of the State of Israel is an astonishment

The survival of the Jewish people a shock

A breach in a world where people do not want to be surprised

And therefore Israel irritates

The mighty Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian conquered the world with much noise, pomp and splendor

And disappeared

The Greek and the Roman followed with their drumbeat and war chariots and vanished

Others came and held their torch high and burned out

The Jew saw them all, surpassed them all and became what he always was: immortal

O’ that Israel’s enemies would just wake up!

When will they learn that Israel never left its homeland, but were forced out against their will?

And that Titus and his army were ultimately defeated by a people of orphans?

By an ever-dying people which never died.

There is no victory for those who fight a nation which kept praying for thousands of years to return to its capital which emotionally they never left.

Where their bodies were resurrected while they were turned into ashes at Auschwitz

What to do with a people which mourned for its Temple and rebuild it in its hearts while sitting on the floor in deep mourning for thousands of years?

How to deal with a people which covers its dead with the dust of land of Israel while their tombstone stands in hostile countries?

A people who for thousands of years have broken a glass under the marriage canopy to remind them that Yerushalayim has not been fully rebuild.

How many millions of those glasses have been broken for this eternal city?

How to defeat a people whose home in exile turned into a portable city?

Who took it to every corner of the world in which they found themselves and kept living by the teachings of Moses and the Hebrew prophets ?

And came home

And teach Torah

Through Israel we perceive the Infinite

The God of Israel

Israel and its people are indispensable

They are God’s witness in history

In a world where the ordinary has become a hallmark and where indifference has turned into a selfish complacency.

When will the world wake up?

*Partially inspired by Abraham Joshua Heschel and Mark Twain

About the Author
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo is the Founder and Dean of the David Cardozo Academy and the Bet Midrash of Avraham Avinu in Jerusalem. A sought-after lecturer on the international stage for both Jewish and non-Jewish audiences, Rabbi Cardozo is the author of 13 books and numerous articles in both English and Hebrew. Rabbi Cardozo heads a Think Tank focused on finding new Halachic and philosophical approaches to dealing with the crisis of religion and identity amongst Jews and the Jewish State of Israel. Hailing from the Netherlands, Rabbi Cardozo is known for his original and often fearlessly controversial insights into Judaism. His ideas are widely debated on an international level on social media, blogs, books and other forums.
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