Daily Israel Report
Daily Israel Report
Start a blog

Blogs Zion's Corner

Yerushalayim

By Tzvi Fishman
6/1/2008, 12:00 AM
To help get raise our spirits to the transcendental joy of Jerusalem Day, here’s an insightful refection from the able pen of Rabbi Nachman Kahana:

Yerushalayim. The very word is a symphony for the Jewish soul.
 
"Above my highest joy"

Yir’a - fear of God, and Shalem – perfection, combine to form the name Yerushalayim. For these are the qualities which the city bestows upon those who love and are faithful to her.

King David, the embodiment of fear of God and perfection prophesied in Psalms 137:

By the rivers of :Babylon there we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
There, upon the willows, we placed away our harps
for there, they that led us captive, asked of us words of song
and our tormentors asked of us to be of joy
'Sing us one of the songs of Zion'.
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land
If I forget thee Jerusalem let my right hand lose its strength.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I remember thee not,
if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

Yerushalayim, in its various forms, appears over 650 times in the TaNaCH. Yerushalayim is not mentioned once, nor even alluded to, in the Koran; and the Christian world abandoned Jerusalem over fifteen hundred years ago to take up residence in Rome.

A Moslem in prayer turns his back on Jerusalem and faces Mecca: Jerusalem is not part of the Christian liturgy. It is only we - God's chosen people - who relate to Yerushalayim. A Jew outside of Yerushalayim turns to her when in prayer, and we in Jerusalem face the site of the Holy Temple:

By the rivers of babylon there we sat and wept when we remembered Zion
There, upon the willows, we placed away our harps
for there, they that led us captive, asked of us words of song
and our tormentors asked of us to be of joy
'Sing us one of the songs of Zion'.
How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land
If I forget thee Jerusalem let my right hand lose its strength.
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if I remember thee not,
if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy.

When I recite this chapter, memories of my youth in Brooklyn New York uninvitedly creep into my mind.
I don’t recall my friends or me ever sitting by the Hudson or Never-sink Rivers weeping over Zion. I don’t recall looking at the goyim as our "captors" or "tormentors" and they in turn never requested of us to sing for them the "Song of Zion."
 
By the rivers of Babylon

I had no problem singing the Lord’s song there because I did not feel I was in "a foreign land".

Days and weeks would pass when the memory of Yerushalayim did not cross my mind, yet the "fast ball" exploding from my "right hand" never lost "its strength," when the third strike cannonballed into the catcher’s mitt.
I must admit that the joy of Jerusalem could not compare to the delight the chevra (the guys) felt when the Yankees beat the Boston Braves in a double header.
 
If you get more excited over baseball, then something is amiss with your Judaism

Yes, we were the products of the frum yeshiva system of Rabbi Jacob Joseph, Torah Ve’daas, Chaim Berlin, Tiferets Yerushalayim, etc. We learned Torah while we slowly, but steadily, became assimilated into the goyishe culture around us.

The quicksand of American culture gripped and pulled us down with no one to extradite us, because we were all entrapped - students and rabbis together.

Today I sit by the rivers of Eretz Yisrael and weep when I remember the Jews in foreign lands who forget Zion. Hashem has endowed Yerushalayim with a sensitive soul. He who remembers her is indelibly engraved in the eternity of the city; He who forgets her, she too forgets him.

We’re waiting for YOU. When are YOU coming to live the rest of your life in Yerushalayim?