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Jerusalem is Surrounded

January 4, 2001
© 2001 The Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

Friday, January 5th, is the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tevet. This is a day of fasting for the destruction of the Holy Temple, called by the Bible "the fast of the tenth:"

"Thus says the L-rd of Hosts: The fast of the fourth month, and the fast of the fifth; and the fast of the seventh; and the fast of the tenth, shall become times of joy and gladness, and cheerful feasts to the house of Judah, therefore love truth and peace" (Zech. 8:19)

On this day, Jerusalem was surrounded by Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon. It was this siege that eventually led to the breaching of her walls and the destruction of the Temple, three years later.

Jews the world over will mark this day with fasting and prayer, bearing in mind the dictum of the sages, "whoever mourns for Jerusalem will merit to see her joy."

However, we would do well to remember another important teaching, one with more relevance today than ever: "Every generation that does not rebuild the Holy Temple is reckoned as the generation that destroyed it."

Jerusalem is surrounded. From without, hostile Palestinian forces are ready to pounce on her to tear her asunder. From within, the deceit and treachery of her leaders spreads like a cancer. Ehud Barak is preparing to give the Palestinians Jerusalem. In order to save his own political career, Barak is desperate to sign the American-sponsored agreement, spawned by the imagination of Bill Clinton out of his own desire to go down in history as a peacemaker at all costs, moments before he leaves the White House. This agreement will divide Jerusalem and secede the Temple Mount.

Jerusalem is surrounded. A flyer prepared by the "One Jerusalem" organization, in advance of a massive demonstration to be held outside JerusalemÕs Jaffa gate this coming Monday evening, points out unsettling facts: At least four major Jerusalem neighborhoods, home to over 100,000 Jews, will find themselves located only a few hundred meters from the new Palestinian state, according to BarakÕs plan. This means that their security will be in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, within shooting range of ArafatÕs guns.

Jerusalem is surrounded. BarakÕs plan means that three other neighborhoods around greater Jerusalem will be completely cut off from the city. And in addition to the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives will be under Palestinian control, and the Old CityÕs Jewish Quarter will be an isolated island within Palestinian territory.

Jerusalem is surrounded, from within and without, soaked by the overflowing pain and anguish, both then and now, of her loving children, who have suffered too many losses, and paid too high a price, and who will not be silent, but will rise up in the face of tyranny, whether it be in the form of Nebuchadnezzer, Bill Clinton, or Ehud Barak.

Jerusalem is surrounded. "Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains; so the L-rd surrounds His people, from now until forever" (Psalms 125:2).

Rabbi Chaim Richman

PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 97500



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