For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Tonight (Tuesday night) begins the celebration of the reunification of our holy city in 1967. And I devote this brief posting to this alone. Time enough tomorrow for other news.
I write as someone who has been honored to have lived in Jerusalem for almost ten years now. Who walks her streets daily, and still feels the energy that is special to this place and the awe that comes with being at the center of the world.
I have danced in the streets of Jerusalem, and I have trembled during the time of the terrorist attacks. But even during the worst of those attacks, I knew that I would not leave. I knew that this is ours, as nothing else in the world is ours, and that the city must never be divided again.
From Aish, a short video celebrating the reunification of Israel's eternal city:
Excerpts from "Why Jerusalem Matters" by Rabbi Shraga Simmons:
"When the Jews were first exiled from Jerusalem, King David said, 'If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength. Let my tongue cling to my palate if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy.' The memory of Jerusalem somehow is linked to our current vigor as a people. But how? What is the memory of Jerusalem, and what does it contribute to who we are?
"...The Talmud says Jerusalem was named by God. The name has two parts: Yira, which means 'to see,' and shalem, which means 'peace.'
"Jerusalem was the place of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, and Abraham said of Jerusalem, 'This is the place where God is seen.'
"Elsewhere, God is a theory, but in Jerusalem, God is seen, and felt, as a tangible presence. In Jerusalem we reach beyond the frailty and vulnerability of our lives, and we sense and strive for transcendence. Elsewhere we grope for insight. In Jerusalem we anticipate clarity. Paris may be for lovers, but Jerusalem is for visionaries.
"Jerusalem is a metaphor for a perfected world, and it gives us perspective on our lives. When Aldous Huxley said, 'we have each of us our Jerusalem,' he meant much more than a temporal city of taxi cabs and traffic jams. He meant a vision of what life might be.
"The vision of life's promise is one we surrender at our peril, because it gives us the will to live. In exile for two thousand years Jews said 'Next year in Jerusalem,' and amidst poverty and oppression they preserved the dream of a world in which love and justice, not power and self-interest, would be the currency men live by.
"Part of the name Jerusalem is 'vision.' The other part of the name is peace, but the peace of Jerusalem is not the absence of strife. Jerusalem has rarely known anything but strife. The peace of Jerusalem is the peace at the center of the spokes of a wheel, where opposing forces may be delicately balanced and reconciled.
"The Talmud says that creation began in Jerusalem, and the world radiated outward from this place. Medieval maps show Jerusalem at the epicenter of Asia, Europe, and Africa. The world flows into this spot, and all life's forces resonate here. From this place, the whole world is cast into perspective.
"Jerusalem, the center, which gives perspective to the rest of the world. Jerusalem where God is seen. Jerusalem the perfected world. Humanity has long understood that he who controls Jerusalem controls the world's memory. He controls the way God is seen. He controls the way life's forces are cast into perspective. He controls the way we collectively see our future.
"...In rewriting the history of Jerusalem each of these cultures [Roman, Crusader, Muslim] rewrote our place, the Jewish place, in history. They consigned us, they believed, to the dust bin of history ― a once great people, now abandoned by God; bypassed by time.
"But Jews preserved Jerusalem as a memory. When we built our houses we left a square unplastered, and we broke a glass at weddings in memory of Jerusalem. From all over the world we turned and prayed toward Jerusalem, and because memory was kept alive, the Jewish people lived.
"When Jerusalem was liberated, time was conflated. The past became present. What we had longed for became ours. What we had dreamed of became real, and soldiers wept because an adolescent Mediterranean country suddenly recovered a memory lost for 2000 years. The past was instantly present, incredibly, transcendentally, transforming who we knew ourselves to be..."
Another Aish video, this on an ancient water channel discovered in Jerusalem that links Jewish past and present:
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"