Rabbi Neriya on Jerusalem Day

The words of the late founder of the Bnai Akiva yeshiva and ulpana network about Jerusalem Day.

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Dr. Aryeh Hirsch,

הרב משה צבי נריה זצ"ל
הרב משה צבי נריה זצ"ל
אתר בני עקיבא


“And brazen ones will enter my hidden place (the Temple) and profane it ‘( וחללוה- Yechezkel, 7: 22).

After the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, the real profanation of Jerusalem occurred, with the Hadrianic war against Bar Kochva,  the eviction of all Jews from Yerushalayim, and the prohibition of Jews to even view the city from afar. 

This became even more blatant with Emperor Constantine’s adoption of Christianity, and the advent of replacement theology- Christiandom was now Israel, and Jerusalem  was theirs. Ownership of the Holy City was Christianity’s proof that their claims of replacement  were true.

In June, 1967, the Almighty returned us to our Holy City, thereby providing a winning rebuttal to the claims of all those who then, now, and for hundreds of years showed us only hate, ostracism and enmity.  Tzahal’s ( IDF’s) victory in the Six Day War was a total contradiction to replacement theory’s whole ideological basis, and provided such strengthening to Jewish Emunah( belief) , that whole generations then and since  have been uplifted in an unprecedented  Teshuvah movement .  

Thanks to Yom Yerushalayim, 1967, thousands believe that the Lord בחר בנו מכל עם – chose us from among all the nations, brought us to Sinai and from there to this Land that the promised Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, forever.

The sword that waved in 1967, and waves today, is the sword of the armies of Israel; the sword of the Almighty ; the sword of King David and his Commander-in- Chief Yoav;  and the sword of the sons of Mattathias who conquered overwhelming odds to return to light the Menorah in the Temple of the Lord. It is no small matter that our Rabbis wrote in the Al Hanisim prayer for Chanukah: “And You made for Yourself a great, holy Name, by granting a great salvation and redemption, which last to this very day”.

Rav Neria quotes the Seder Hayom, a 400 year old Halachic-Kabbalistic work:  “Do not take this Chanukah victory lightly. For in this war, the Lord granted us a great good, saving our souls from death at the hands of those who sought our destruction. Anyone who cynically dismisses this issue, is a Kofer, a heretic denying the good which the Lord granted us, not celebrating over Israel’s happiness, and not being sensitive to Israel’s Geulah  and Nechamah ( Redemption and Consolation) , heaven forbid”. 

And why do we sing Psalm 98 with such an uplifting, Carlbach tune? Rav Neriah continues: the Chillul Hashem that Yechezkel spoke of, a desecration of the Name of G-d that existed for two thousand years, has been turned into a Kiddush Hashem(sanctification of His Name) by the Nation of Israel and her armies- a miracle witnessed by the entire world: ראו כל אפסי ארץ את ישועת אלוקינו- all the ends of the earth saw the salvation of the Almighty One”( Psalms 98;3). Modern communications allowed a world to see the City of Jerusalem return to her sons in the storm of a war for G-d, as young -lions of Israel burst through Lion’s Gate. Thus was fulfilled our Sabbath morning Shacharit Kedusha prayer:  Titgadal Titkadash b’toch Yerushalayim Ircha”- may Jerusalem be reunited as the place of the Lord’s greatness and holiness. 

In Temple times, expansion of the city was celebrated in a joyous Temple service whose purpose was to provide a slap in the face to pagans who rejected the idea of a Holy City and a Holy Israel  within it- both chosen by the Lord. How much more so now, should we happily celebrate the return of Yerushalayim to the Nation of Israel, fulfilling millennium old prophecies, such as Yechezkel’s above, and Zecharya’s (2;16): “ And the Lord will grant an inheritance to his chosen one, Judah, on His holy land, and will once again chose Yerushalayim”.

Yom Yerushalyim Sameach.