Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day
"This is the day which HaShem has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."
Today, Wednesday, May 16th, the 28th day of Iyar, marks the fortieth anniversary of the liberation of the old city of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. It also marks the yartzheit - the anniversary of the death of Shmuel hanavi - the prophet Samuel. This is only fitting as Samuel along with King David, (whose yartzheit is marked next week on Shavuot), worked together (with the help of G-d) to turn Jerusalem into the eternal capital of the Jewish nation. Samuel and David determined through prophetic vision that the threshing floor purchased by David from Ornan the Jebusite was none other than the very location referred to by G-d in Torah as "the place where I will choose" to dwell. David spared no effort in bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem and acquiring the materials necessary for the construction of the Holy Temple. It would be his son, Shlomo HaMelech - King Solomon, who would commence and complete the building of the First Temple, otherwise known as Solomon's Temple. Today, three thousand years later, the Holy Temple is not presently standing, but its destined location, the Temple Mount, and the city of Jerusalem that embraces it, is no less compelling. It is accepted as a given by most of the modern world that, as goes the Temple Mount, so goes humanity.
"But unto the place which HaShem your G-d shall choose from among all your tribes, as a place established in His name. It is there that you shall go to seek His presence. That shall be the place to which you will bring your burnt-offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and the offering of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill-offerings, and the firstlings of your herd and of your flock. You and your families shall eat there before God your Lord, and you shall rejoice in all your endeavors, through which God your Lord shall bless you." (Deuteronomy 12:5-7)
Why should G-d, whose commandments are so clearly enunciated suddenly become "coy" when describing the future location of His Holy Temple? Why not just come out and say "Mount Moriah, Jerusalem?" A classic answer given by our sages is that to reveal the location ahead of time would be an invitation to Israel's enemies to occupy the spot and cause unwanted bloodshed. Perhaps another reason points to the covenantal nature of Israel's relationship with G-d and to the type of leadership the fulfillment of our relationship with G-d demands.
Forty years ago today, when the Israel Defense Forces captured and liberated the Temple Mount from the Moslem occupiers, leaders of the stature of Samuel and David did not exist. Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, the head and founder of The Temple Institute, who was among the paratroopers who liberated the Mount, poignantly refers to this in his writing of the momentous events surrounding the return of the Mount to Jewish sovereignty after two thousand years of exile. Fully expecting the descendant of King David, accompanied by Eliyahu - Elijah the prophet, to arrive at the Mount and begin construction of the Holy Temple, his disappointment was profound when it was "merely" two of the leading sages of the generation who appeared within the first hours after the liberation of the Mount.
After two thousand years of estrangement G-d cast aside the veil of separation and with "two hands" embraced His people Israel. But in order for Israel to return the embrace, true Torah leadership is required. When Samuel set out on his search for a righteous leader for the Israelite nation, he searched among the people. For only from amongst a people who strives to walk in G-d's way and who yearns to draw near to Him can a leader emerge who fears only G-d and none other. Only from amongst a people which dedicates its nights and its days to creating a world worthy of G-d's shechinah - G-d's Divine presence - can a leader emerge with the vision and determination to cast all doubt aside, and build for G-d a house, on the "place where He has chosen."
When we look upon the G-dless politicians who are today "leading" the people of Israel there is certainly reason for discouragement. But if we, like Samuel, look to the people we behold an altogether different reality. A generation is emerging in Israel whose allegiance is to the Torah of Israel, the land of Israel and the G-d of Israel. From the likes of this generation, the leadership so absent in 1967, will at long last emerge.
Tune in to this week's TEMPLE TALK, with Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven, as Rabbi Richman shares his experiences from his recent two weeks in America. Join them as they discuss Jerusalem Day, and the great challenges and opportunities the liberation of the Temple Mount has blessed us with.
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