Jerusalem: a city that evokes the greatest love of any people for any city in the history of mankind. It is a love that has existed for thousands of years. And now, with the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the United States recognizes that it is the undivided capital of the Jewish people.
It is pretty clear, even to non-Lubavitchers, that this week’s historic event was on account of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ob’m. How so?
What follows is a combination of eight facts and probable suppositions:
- Prior to the election, no one — including Mr. Trump and his daughter Ivanka — really believed that he would win.
- Prior to the election, Ivanka went to the Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens and prayed that her father should win.
- After he did win, Ivanka attributed the win to the Rebbe.
- This president has done more for Israel than any previous president.
- This president commuted the sentence and freed Reb Sholom Rubashkin, a Lubavitcher chassid convicted of money laundering and financial fraud.
- In regard to other actions having nothing to do with Israel, this president has come out on top despite what appears to be a number of missteps.
- The book of Bereishis states that those who bless Israel will be blessed.
- It is highly likely that Ivanka mentioned to her father that she prayed at the Ohel and that he is taking the verse in Genesis seriously.
Therefore, it is very likely that all of this, including the move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, only happened because of her trip to the Rebbe’s kever.
Regardless, Jerusalem has always held an emotional place in the heart of every Jew. It was emotional to hear Israel’s Prime Minister say at the dedication ceremony: “In Jerusalem, Abraham passed the greatest test of faith and the right to be the father of our nation. In Jerusalem, King David established our capital 3,000 years ago. In Jerusalem, King Solomon built our Temple, which stood for many centuries. In Jerusalem, Jewish exiles from Babylon rebuilt the Temple, which stood for many more centuries. In Jerusalem, the Maccabees rededicated that Temple and restored Jewish sovereignty in this land.
“And it was here in Jerusalem some 2,000 years later that the soldiers of Israel spoke three immortal words, ‘Har HaBayit b’yadeinu, the Temple Mount is in our hands,’ words that lifted the spirit of the entire nation.”
The events orchestrated by Hamas at the moment of the dedication, however, and those of the BDS movement each day, should not be ignored. We must continue davening for Yerushalayim and do whatever hishtadlus we can to ensure that those who hate Jews do not get the upper hand.
For inspiration in these matters, we only need to look at what happens at Jewish weddings. In the sheva berachos recited both under the chuppah and after bentching at every Jewish wedding, we say the blessing of “Sos Tasis.” It is blessing #5 of the seven blessings — “May the barren one rejoice and be glad as her children are joyfully gathered to her. Blessed are You, Hashem, Who gladdens Tzion with her children.”
Tzion is Yerushalayim. And from this blessing, we see two remarkable things:
First, we see that the relationship between Yerushalayim and the nation of Israel is more than just an unbreakable bond. It is like the relationship of a mother and her children. Yerushalayim is not just something that is deeply important to us. She is our mother. We will never sell out, sell off, or trade away our mother. It just will not happen.
Throughout the world, wherever Jews are, we pray facing Jerusalem. She is everything to us, and it is only in our literature that Jerusalem plays such a central role in the universe. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 37a based upon the verse in Yechezkel 38:12) describes Jerusalem as the very center, the core of the universe.
The second thing we see is that the wording of the final section of the blessing is in the present tense. Hashem gladdens, “mesameiach.” It is a gladdening, a rejoicing, that is happening now. It does not refer to some future Messianic time, but rather a present, constant time.
Shortly after the Six Day War, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz gave a shmuess to his students at the Mirrer Yeshiva (Hagaddah, RY of Mirrer, p. 226) about the open miracles we encountered in reclaiming Yerushalayim.
The blessing at every Jewish wedding is that G-d currently gladdens Yerushalayim with her children. The Talmud tells us that whoever gladdens a bride and groom, it is as if he has rebuilt one of the destroyed homes of Jerusalem. The rebuilding referenced is a current one. So the building projects in Jerusalem are actually mentioned and predicted in the wording of the blessings recited at every Jewish wedding.
In 1967, Israel defended itself against attackers that wished to annihilate her at every border. Not only did we capture the eastern half of Yerushalayim, we recaptured her and freed her.
It is an essential difference and one we should point out to any BDS advocate.
That reunification was the culmination of the prayers of 2,000 years — something that our ancestors could only dream of. For the previous 19 years, we American Jews could only access the Kosel as Americans, flying to Amman, Jordan, on an American passport. After 1967, we could visit the Kosel once again through Eretz Yisrael.
You were once as remote as the stars in the sky to the victims of the Crusades. To the victims of Rindfleisch massacres, and to the victims of the Chmielnicki massacres of Tach V’Tat. Even to the victims of the pogroms of Europe and to the victims of Auschwitz and Treblinka, you were unimaginable.
But now we have you, and the world is beginning to recognize it.
But let us not rest. It is just the beginning. We must continuously fulfill the words of Yeshayahu (62:1), “L’ma’an tzion lo echesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot!”
Rav Mordechai Gifter, zt’l, used to say that we must all focus on the fact that when Chazal enacted the addition of “Mashiv ha’ruach u’morid ha’gashem,” they did it to correlate with the weather of Eretz Yisrael instead of the individual patterns in all of the far-flung places in which the Jewish people ended up. They did so in order that we would always remember her.
Imagine a farmer in a far-off land. He needs rain. He adds this request in his prayers, but not for his location. The prayer for rain is for the needs of Eretz Yisrael! Why? So Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim will never be forgotten.
King David said it best in Tehillim (137:5–6): “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let me forget my right hand. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you. If I do not set Yerushalayim at my highest aspirations of joy.”
In these words, King David is pointing out the two telltale signs of a stroke. He is essentially saying that he should have a stroke if he does not remember Jerusalem.
The world dare not tell us to forget Jerusalem in light of these words of King David. The Bible tells us that G-d has said, “Yerushalayim is the city where I have chosen to place My Name (Kings I, 11:36).” Yerushalayim is mentioned throughout Tanach some 650 times, and not once, l’havdil, in the Koran.
This is the time when we stand proud and declare to the world, “Jerusalem is not some theoretical or symbolic word. We take the Bible seriously. Jerusalem and Israel are real. They are physical. They are both our possession and the destiny of the Jewish people.”
Synonymous With The Jewish People
The holy prophet Yeshayahu says, “Nachamu, nachamu ami; dabru al lev Yerushalayim — Be comforted, be comforted, My people; speak unto the heart of Jerusalem” (Yeshayahu 40:1–2).
Because Yerushalayim — all of it — is intrinsically connected with the people of Israel. The prophet further states, “For Hashem has comforted His people; He has redeemed Yerushalayim” (Yeshayahu 52:9). And also in Yeshayahu (65:19), “I will rejoice in Yerushalayim and be glad in My people.”
Europe, Turkey, the United Nations, BDS supporters: know that it was always, always ours. Look at Tehillim 102:15, “Her servants desired her stones, her very dust moves them to pity.” We have never, ever left Yerushalayim, and even when times were difficult, we always pined for her. We pined for her stones, her dust, and her spiritual nurturing.
Holy Since Time Immemorial
Jerusalem has been holy to the Jewish people since the dawn of history — and before. Where was the binding of Yitzchak? It was on Har HaMoriah, in Jerusalem, the place that Hashem shall choose (see Devarim 12:5).
Maimonides tells us (Hilchos Beis HaBechirah 6:14) that the sanctification that was made in Israel’s first commonwealth still stands and will stand for all time.
He writes, “The sanctity of the [area of the] Mikdash and of Jerusalem emanates from the Shechinah (Divine Presence), and the Shechinah can never be annulled.”
Part of the Bible is the Book of Esther. We read this each year in the month of Adar, on a day we were saved from destruction. Throughout the world, this book is read by Jews on the 14th of Adar. But in walled cities, the book is read on the 15th of the month. In Jerusalem, it is also read on the 15th of the month. This is not observed only in the parts of Jerusalem that were around in Jerusalem of old. It is the custom to read it on the 15th even in modern, contemporary Jerusalem.
The message is clear. There are modern-day Hamans and Hamas terrorists who fly fire kites, blow themselves up, stab us, set fire to our trees and forests, and declare that Jerusalem and Israel do not belong to us.
But they shall join the dustbins of history. And Jerusalem and Israel will endure. May it be united until the arrival of Mashiach. May the United States continue helping Klal Yisrael in the land that Hashem has promised to the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov.
The author can be reached at Yairhoffman2@gmail.com.