Friday, May 15, 2015

“G-d comforts Zion and Rebuilds Jerusalem.”

By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir

Millions of Jews throughout the world, over thousands of years, have prayed and turned their faces and hearts to Jerusalem and to the Temple, as the Halachah states: “When someone prays, he should turn his face and direct his heart towards Eretz Yisrael, Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies” (Orach Chaim 94:1). Turning one’s face in that direction expresses one’s desire, longing and love for Jerusalem (Guide to the Perplexed 1:82). As for directing one’s heart, one should imagine that one is standing in the Jerusalem Temple in the Holy of Holies (Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chaim 94:1). When Jacob awoke from his sleep at that site, he said: “The L-rd is truly in this place.... It must be G-d’s Temple, and this is the gate to heaven” (Genesis 28:16-17). 

When we imagine ourselves standing in that holy place, we must picture through our mind’s eye the prophetic vision of Isaiah 2:3: “Many people shall go and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the L-rd, to the house of the G-d of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah, and the word of the L-rd from Jerusalem.” The nations will not mention “the G-d of Abraham and Isaac,” who respectively called the Temple Mount a mountain and a field. Rather, they will specifically mention Jacob, who called it a house (Pesachim 88a), “an inhabited place” (Rashi, Ibid.). The belief with certainty in the ingathering of the exiles, the settling of the Land of Israel and the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Temple, never ceased for a moment from the hearts of millions of Jews down through the generations. This found expression in their regularly recited prayer, “Blessed are You, O L-rd, who rebuilds Jerusalem.” This blessing is in the present tense. Even when we were in the exile, in the darkness, we knew, and we know now, that G-d is secretly rebuilding Jerusalem. How much more so are we aware of this in our own generation, when we are privileged to see the fulfillment of the dream, “When the L-rd brings back the captivity of Zion, we shall be like dreamers” (Psalm 126:1) 

Today, we are at the height of the war of the children of light against the children of darkness. The latter do not wish to resign themselves to the idea that the Jewish People are rising to rebirth in their land and rebuilding their home in Eretz Yisrael in general and in Jerusalem in particular. They think that the settling of Eretz Yisrael and the rebuilding of Jerusalem are not to their benefit. They view the Jewish People rising to rebirth as a danger to their national and religious existence, but the truth is really the opposite. 

If they opened up the Bible and accepted the words of the prophet prophesying to us and to them that in the future a king will arise from the house of David, who will “judge among the nations and decide among many peoples” (Isaiah 2:4), and then prophesying that “they will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, nation will not lift up its swords against nation, nor will they learn war any more” (Ibid.), the nations would then say, “House of Jacob, Come, let us walk in the light of the L-rd” (v. 5, Rashi). 

Unfortunately, instead of thanking the Jewish People and honoring them for their exclusive contribution to mankind and for bequeathing the divine eternal values which shine a light for all mankind, they fight us and murder men, women and children. We, however, have the assurance of G-d’s oath in Deuteronomy 32:40-43: “I lift My hand to heaven and say, ‘As I live forever.... the nations will sing praise to His people, for He will avenge His servants’ blood.” Rashi comments: “The nations will praise His people’: They will say, ‘See, how praiseworthy is this people, that they have clung to G-d amidst all the troubles which have passed over them, and have not forsaken Him, for they had constantly experienced His goodness and His excellence.’ “‘He will render vengeance to His adversaries’: for all their robbery, violence and bloodshed. “‘And He will propitiate His land’: He will propitiate His land and His people for the miseries that have passed over them and for that which the enemy has caused them.... And whenever His people receives comfort, His land, too, receives comfort.” 

How fortunate we are that we have merited to see with our own eyes how G-d “comforts Zion and rebuilds Jerusalem” (from the Tisha B’Av Shemoneh Esreh). Rejoicing in the rebuilding of Jerusalem, and looking forward to complete salvation.

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