Monday, May 10, 2010

Jerusalem: A Taste of What’s to Come

Every year when Jerusalem Day starts to approach, I think back on my first Jerusalem Day experience. There were thousands of people, young and old, marching around the Old City walls, flatbeds filled children all waving Israeli flags, vans with massive speakers tied to the roof blasting festive music. In the place where Jordanian snipers once took aim, Israeli solders stood and waved down to the crowds.

The climax was walking through Lion’s Gate, the same path the Israeli paratroopers took when recapturing the Temple Mount. I was filled with humility and euphoria as I looked upon the Temple Mount, the place of the binding of Yitzhak, and the place where the two Temples once stood.

Despite the significance of Jerusalem, the Torah doesn’t mention its name specifically; it is always referred to by Hashem as “the place that I will show you.”

Rav Shlomo Aviner, the Chief Rabbi of Beit El, asks in his book Tal Hermon why the focal point of the Jewish people is only mentioned in hints. He answers that the most important matters cannot be revealed at the outset. There are some things so awesome that we can only understand them as we partake in the journey. Even if it was revealed at the beginning, we would not comprehend its significance. Jerusalem is a place of such magnitude that the story of the Jewish people had to unfold until its greater context could be revealed and understood.

It seems to me that Jerusalem today represents the idea of the constant unfolding process. The path of the Jewish people is intrinsically connected to Jerusalem; though we still are not exactly sure how the story will unfold, and there will be many detours along the way, we know that our story’s climax will occur within the walls of Jerusalem. This year as the parade marches by the Temple Mount, but not on it, we will again get a taste of what is to come amidst the realization that we are not yet there.

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