For Jerusalem Day

Reality is determined by the spirit of the people, and by the strong stand of those of faith. Jerusalem is ours forever.

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch,

Judaism Aryeh Hirsch
Aryeh Hirsch

“The Mikdash ( Temple Mount ) is the main point in the Land of Israel, which is known as ‘The Land of the Living( Chaim)’” ( Midrash Vayikra Rabbah,3,6; in explanation of Psalms 17,14, on the words ”their portion is eternal life(Chaim)”).

I’ve written before about the historical incident of the siege of the Assyrian king Sennacherib on the city of Jerusalem. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 28a) relates the story: how King Chizkiyahu(Chezekiah) and the prophet Isaiah had only 110,000 loyal followers in the city. The King’s Treasurer, Shevna, was determined to hand the city over to the enemy, and he had a majority of the city on his side, totaling 130,000 followers. The Almighty sent a prophecy to Isaiah , to encourage the King, and let him know that “ do not give consideration to whatever this nation             considers a union” of conspirators ( Isaiah 8,12);” do not fear what they fear- for you shall consider holy only the Lord of Hosts.  He alone should be feared; He alone deserves your consideration”.

The ending of the story is that as Shevna leads his followers out of Yerushalayim to hand the city over to the Assyrians, Archangel Gabriel slams the city gates shut behind Shevna , leaving his troops inside the city. Sennacherib views the lone Jewish renegade as a joke, come to poke fun of him; the Assyrian king tortures Shevna to death, tying his four limbs to different horses, pulling him apart in front of the horrified eyes of his “Peace-loving “ followers.

Rav Tzvi Y. Tau (Emunat  Iteinu, vol. 1, pages 188-189) explains that “ Gabriel represents the holy thoughts of the might of the faithfulness of Israel( Gevurat  Emunat Yisrael); for at the last moment, Shevna’s followers took to heart the teachings of Isaiah and King Chizkiyahu, changed their minds and decided not to leave the city”.

It is vital to hear Rav Tau on this issue(page 186):

“When  it came to battles over cutting away pieces of the Land of Israel  from Jewish sovereignty, Rav Tzvi  Yehuda Kook would in no way consider speaking words of weakness and doubt, ‘what might happen and how’. When he heard such words of weakness, his response was always: ‘Lo Yakum,v’Lo Yihyeh’( it will not be established, and it will not come into being).

‘Al  tiftach peh L’Satan‘ goes the saying: don’t even speak of something bad, for the Satan may thus get his opening , and the bad might thus really occur. Underlying Rav Kook’s ‘Lo Yakum, v’Lo Yihyeh’ was the realization that Reality IS the spirit of the Nation: outer reality is ultimately a reflection of the people’s inner faith and toughness (which shut the door on Shevna’s ‘peace process’).

This spirit in turn depends on the Isaiahs, Chizkiyahus and Rav Kooks, on their purity of thought and speech, and in their certainty in and clinging to the Divine will and the inner Soul of the Nation. When the world and present-day Shevnas bring pressure on Israel, as it has for the last 20 Oslo years, to retreat from sections of its heritage and the Land it LIVES in ( for history shows we are allowed to live only here) , the situation is one of war.

He who is pained by such a situation, and hold dear the building of the Jewish Nation and the continuation of her Redemption( Geula), fights this spiritual war, with the aim of uplifting this nation and strengthening her. So that the nation may LIVE.

‘This is like a man whose mother is deathly ill. The family sits down with the doctors , in a tense scene outside the ICU. They look for ways to better Mom’s condition; they pray for her. It goes on for hours.  Suddenly, one member of the family enters the room, having traveled from afar; he sizes up the situation, hears from the physicians how sick Mom truly is , and proclaims: ‘Look guys, have you yet contacted a funeral home, made arrangements for the burial, funeral and Shiva( seven day mourning period)?’

‘He’s realistic?! He’s the smart one?!  Good Lord, who would listen to the man? Why, they’d throw him out of there! Is it even possible to TALK about Mom as if she’s already gone? Moreover, such talk plants fear and weakness in every member of the family, and the doctors, torpedoing the hopes and the efforts that at still left to same Mom.

‘One doesn’t talk about the death of a Mother, no matter how sick she be. AND THAT IS HOW ERETZ YISRAEL WAS TO RAV KOOK : LO YAKUM,V’LO YIHYEH.

‘If one has the feeling that this is Eretz Hachaim, the Living Land, then to him/her Eretz Yisrael is Mom. Only one weakened by the media and politics could treat this Land as ‘barter’, and consider cutting her up. One doesn’t cut Mom to pieces.                

The ‘Reality’ is determined by the spirit of the people,  and by the strong stand of those of faith- for they set the ability of the Nation to stand up to pressure. And once loosened from his lips,a man is weakened and no longer in control to remove from his heart ideas engendered by depression,anxiety and panic. The result is downfall, both spiritual and physical; the result is the Peace process and Oslo. “

Rav Tau concludes ( Ki Ayin B’Ayin Tir’u, pages 275): “ It all depends on us- how we think, how we believe, how we act. Just as we must build up this Land physically, and if we do not do so, it will not continue to be ours- so to, the leaders of faith must build the spirit, for if we fail to do so, it will, Heaven forbid, not be ours. We must be the light for this generation, and enlighten all those who still dwell in darkness.

This Redemption is coming not by the way of miracles, but it is not entirely ‘natural’, either. It is a Divine process that is certainly already ongoing, and it is certain to play itself out to the end. But it will come about only through our efforts, our actions; if we do not act, there will be complications and obstacles. May we do our part with all our wisdom, strength” , and courage, so that the final Redemption will come, to Jerusalem and all Israel, speedily in our time.