Yerushalayim is hidden for a reason

Yerushalayim is the most precious jewel of the Jewish people.

Joseph Frager, MD,

Rachael Cerrotti - Flash 90

The word Yerushalayim is cryptic in the Five Books of Moses. It is found 660 times in Nach. Parshat Re'eh is one of the 19 places it is found hidden in the Five Books of Moses.

"Rather, only at the Place that Hashem, your G-d will choose from among all your Tribes to place his Name shall you seek out His Presence and come there" (12:5). "It shall be that the Place where Hashem, your G-d, will choose to rest his name-there shall you bring everything that I command you: your elevation offerings and your feast-offerings, your tithes and what you raise up with your hands and the choicest of your offerings that you will vow to Hashem."(12:11)

Rabbeinu Bachya asks the question as to why is G-d so cryptic when it comes to the Temple Mount and Yerushalayim? Why is Mt. Moriah which was known as a special place even to the nations of the world and certainly to the Children of Israel in the Desert who knew from their ancestors that this was the place of the Akeidah, not specified by the Torah? Why does G-d Almighty only refer to it as "the Place"-"Hamakom"? Parshat Re'eh is not the only place where Yerushalayim and specifically the Temple Mount is left as a "Sod" (secret).

In Parshat Va'etchanan Moshe alludes to the Temple Mount when he says, "Let me now cross and see the Good Land that is on the other side of the Jordan, this good mountain and the Lebanon."(4:25). Rashi says "the Good Mountain" relates to the Temple Mount and "the Lebanon" relates to the Holy Temple. Again the terminology is cryptic. Yerushalayim is hinted at previously in Breishit (14:18): "But Malchizedek, King of Salem ("Shalem" in Hebrew) brought out bread and wine: he was a Priest of G-d, the Most High." Chazal identify Malchizedek as Shem-son of Noah.

As the most honored of Noah's children, Shem was made the priest of G-d in Yerushalayim (Ramban). The Priesthood was handed over from Shem to Abraham. The Akeida took place on the Temple Mount where Abraham held the Priesthood. "And Abraham called the name of that site "Hashem Yireh" as it is said to this day, on the mountain Hashem will be seen."(Breishit 22:14) According to the Medrash G-d synthesized both names for Yerushalayim-Shalem and Yireh into one-Yerushalayim. According to Historical records under Jebusite rule the city was divided into western part called "Jeru" (Yere) and the eastern part called Shalem (Salem). Around the time of Yehoshua's conquest the Amorite consolidated the two halves of the city and combined the two names (Jerusalem).

The Rambam in Moreh Nevuchim (3:45) gives 3 reasons why the Torah says "HaMakom" "The Place" instead of specifying the word Yerushalayim. 1)Although the nations of the world knew of Har Moriah(hence G-d made reference to Moriah 22:2) they did not realize that it was the direct conduit of prayer and sacrifices to G-d where they would be heard and accepted-more so than any other place in the world for if they knew this secret every nation would want to acquire this site. The result would be War and conflict.(My editorialization follows:) This is precisely what happened during the 2000 years since the destruction of the Second Temple. Jerusalem is one of the Oldest cities in the world.

The Amarna Letters of the 14th Century BCE seems to mention the name Yerushalayim-"from headman of "urusalim" and his suzerain Amenhotep III". The city has been captured and recaptured more than any other city in the world. It has been attacked 52 times. It has been besieged 26 times and razed to the ground 13 times. It has been captured and recaptured 44 times. 2)The Canaanites with their knowledge would have destroyed the mountain so as to prevent Israel from being able to even build a Beit Hamikdash. 3)The Israelite Tribes would have fought amongst themselves for the rights to possess Yerushalayim. Once the Jews had conquered and divided the Land most of these problems ceased to exist. G-d in his infinite wisdom knew well when and when not to precisely identify a location. G-d, Almighty knew well that Yerushalayim was his most precious Jewel he was bestowing upon the Jewish People.

Like all precious Jewels they are kept in a Vault for safekeeping. G-d kept it in his Vault and did not let out the secret till the Jews had conquered Eretz Yisrael and King David came to power. The Koran which was written nearly a thousand years after the Torah and had total access to the Neviim and Ketuvim where Yerushalayim was mentioned 660 times, did not mention or reference Yerushalayim even once.

It was no doubt done to make sure that the Muslim World would give much greater Honor to Mecca and Medina. The direct and purposeful deletion in the Koran by the Muslim World, I believe, was meant as a slight to Yerushalayim. It is much more of a modern phenomenon that the Muslim World considers Yerushalayim as a Holy Site. This probably started at the time of Saladin when he conquered Yerushalayim in 1187 in order to fight the Christian claim to the city.

The Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca and Medina and face their backs to the area where the Temple stood. The Muslims never denied that the Jews had the Rights to the Temple Mount and Yerushalayim until the 20th Century. Testimony to this fact was pointed out to me by the Great Philanthropist Dr. Manfred R. Lehmann Z'L and was written about in one of the many Full Page Ads we did together in the New York Times(Friday July 29, 1994-A17).

The Arabic name for Jerusalem is "El-Quds". "El Quds" is an abbreviation for "Al-Bayit Al Muqqadash"-the name of the Jewish Temple of Solomon ("Beit Hamikdash"). The Ad was signed by former Chief Rabbi of Israel Rabbi Avraham Shapira TZ"L and Rabbi Aaron Soloveitchik TZ'L. The Day is soon approaching when King David's words will be fulfilled (Psalm 24) "Who may ascend the Mountain of Hashem,and who may stand in the place of His Sanctity? One with clean hands and pure heart,who has not sworn in vain by My Soul and has not sworn deceitfully." Shabbat Shalom