June 7, 1967: Rabbi Goren and Jerusalem

Rabbi Goren created a new prayer for the city that belongs to the Jewish people forever.

Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Hirsch

Judaism Aryeh Hirsch
Aryeh Hirsch

Rabbi Chaim Drukman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Or Etzion, cites a wonderful story about Rav (Rabbi) Goren on June 7, 1967:

It was during the historic Mincha (afternoon) prayer on that day in which the Israel Defence Forces reached The Wall of Our House Life ( Beit Chayeinu). Rav Goren, Chief Rabbi of the IDF, was given the honor of leading the services. Rav Goren had a new version of the Nachem prayer (recited during Mincha of the Ninth of Av, the day of the Destructions of the two Temples):

נחם ה' אלוקינו את אבלי ציון ואת אבלי ירושלים , Hashem our G-d, console the mourners of Zion and the mourners of Jerusalem, and the city that is mournful, ruined, scorned , and desolate; mournful without her children, scorned without her glory, and desolate without her inhabitants. Legions have devoured her, and idolaters have conquered her. They have cast Your people Israel to the sword, and wantonly murdered the devout servants of the Supreme One. Therefore, Zion weeps bitterly and Jerusalem raised her voice. My heart, my heart—it aches for their pain. My innards, my innards—they ache for their slain.

‘ But now, to Yisrael, Your nation, you have granted her her inheritance; you have given to the children of Yeshurun their ancestral heritage. May You, our Lord G-d, awaken Jerusalem from the dust; rouse Israel from the land of pain; make a river of Peace flow upon Israel; and as a running river, bring to Your nation the honor of the nations.

‘Baruch Ata Hashem—blessed are You, our G-d, who consoles Zion and rebuilds Jerusalem”.

Rav Drukman: On this day, Yom Yerushalayim, 1967, we merited that the comforter of Zion and the rebuilder of Jerusalem begin to comfort us, Jerusalem’s children.

Rav Drukman goes on to note:  it was not by chance that in the Six Day War, along with Yerushalayim, large areas of Eretz Yisrael returned to our hands: Judea, Binyamin, Shomron, Gaza and the Golan. These areas were freed from the hands of foreigners and returned to their true owners. הבנים חזרו לגבולם, זהו גבול הבנים—the children have returned to their borders, and THIS is the border of the children: the children of this nation and of this land”.

There are several reasons why this is not “by chance”. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin, describes that the holiness of the whole land of Israel is a derivative of the holiness of the Holy of Holies, the point on the Holy Mount in Jerusalem from which this Universe was created; if that spot were not holy, there would be no holiness in the Universe.

Moreover, this Holy of Holies is described in the Talmud as the Makom,  place, in our Universe which is outside the dimensions of this Universe ( thus, the Aron, the Ark of the Covenant was outside the coordinates of our dimensions of Space). Midrash has it that one who enters this spot steps outside the dimensions of time (see Kli Yakar on “Ish Iti”, Vayikra , 16; 21) and Nefesh/personhood. Thus, this is the place closest to the Invisible G-d of the Jews, the place of the emergent phenomenon we call the spiritual dimension.

This leads us to the consideration of the spot that Jerusalem Day, Yom Yerushalayim, has on our calendar: 28 Iyar, the 43rd day of the Omer, the day of Chesed She’b’Malchut. As I’ve written before ( Cheesecake, King of Foods; this website, June 8,2008), Rav Matis Weinberg explains these Kabbalistic denominations of the days of the Omer as the building blocks (mida/midot) of every system in our Universe:

Chesed- the Lord Almighty created this Universe via an act of Chesed, loving-kindness. Chesed thus refers to Existence, and connection to Existence as a whole, Kol (as exemplified by our Father Abraham’s connection to G-d through All of Nature, and his feeling “of a kind with” the All of the Universe (leading to  Avraham’s exhibiting Kind-ness to All).

Gevura- or Din (Justice, for lack of a better word). Our Rabbis say that out of the Big Bang of Creation, individual details (pratim) came into existence by the Lord saying enough,  די ( a word sharing the same root as Din, Justice) to ever-expanding Creation. Acts of Din thus create boundaries, define precise definitions and limits, and is how we humans create our fields of activity ( for example, our silent Shmoneh Esreh prayer carves out of this Universe a holy place here on earth, which is where we are standing , praying ; this emulates Isaac, IYitzchak Avinus’s prayer in the field, Breishit 24;63; it is why we honor this spot in ways reminiscent of Shavuot’s giving of the Torah,  Matan Torah, on Mount Sinai; Aruch Hashulchan ,O’Ch.123; 1).

Tiferet- sort of a blending of the first two traits, midot above, but not exactly. Rav Weinberg likens this to poet William Blake’s lines: “To see the world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wildflower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand, and Eternity in an hour”. Thus, in Yerushalayim, a dreaming Jacob (Breishit, 28; 11-22) could  touch the Kol, the infinite dimension of Chesed / Avraham the grandfather, while seeing a sunset (a detail, prat, created by Gevura/Din of father Isaac).

Moreover, Jacob could raise 12 sons, and find that Chesed/Kol dimension in every prat (Gevura/Din) of everyday life: in earning his livelihood shepherding sheep, or changing the kids dirty diapers ( quite a feat, but very Tiferet/Jacob-like). This is where Heaven not only touches Earth, but where we Jews actually live a life of Kol within prat: in Jerusalem, especially—but to some extent, wherever a son of Jacob lives.

The final mida, and final week of the Omer, is that of Malchut. Loosely translated Kingship, Malchut alludes to both our accepting of the Lord Almighty as our King, on Sinai—and to the Kingdom of David and Moshiach. Rabbi Weinberg: Malchut refers to the harmonious interaction and cooperative inter-relationship of all the details in a system, and to the overall structure/system thus created.  This refers to every system from an anthill, to a corporation, to a country; the resultant Malchut/system emerges from all these interacting particles as a separate entity. Furthermore, Malchut is emergent, and thus cannot be found within the details of the system (as a personality emerges from, but cannot be found within , the human nervous system and brain).Also, it is “cooperative, harmonious”—to the exclusion of rule by force.

Thus we find that King David on two occasions refuses to kill King Saul, and thereby grab the kingship, the Malchut. Also, David Hamelech waits in Hevron for the rest of the country to come to him and ask him to be their king, rather than to force his Kingship on them.

Even more, we see in the Zohar: “ Malchut leit lei migarmei klum”- Malchut has nothing of its own. For Malchut is an emergent  phenomenon, belonging to the realm of the corporation, the personality, the soul—and Yerushalayim. King David and Jerusalem are truly “one of a kind”, creating a kodesh Hakodoshim, a Holy of Holies in this world ( see Yoreh Deah,Siman 110, Shach s”k 63 on the additive powers of כגוף אחד וכענין אחד): for just as David, being of the dimension of Malchut, has nothing personal, so too Yerushalayim. David does not even possess a lifespan; we all know the famous Midrash, that Adam in Eden had to give David a gift of seventy years of Adam’s life, without which David had no time of his own in which to live on earth.

Similarly, Jerusalem has nothing of its own. As Rav Shimon Klein of Beit El recently noted in a shiur about David and Yerushalayim, could you imagine anyone building a capital city on a spot that does not have even one water source (the source of life) of its own? As we know, the City of David’s lone water source is in the Shiloach, outside the city’s walls. David and Jerusalem, kindred “spirits” indeed.

This is the Jerusalem , with all its history and meaning , that we celebrate today. This is the Jerusalem that Rav Goren, Rav Drukman, the Chofetz Chaim (M. Brura chap. 561, subpara. 2)  say belongs only to Jews, and to which Ishmaelites, Popes and all the foreign powers of the world have absolutely nothing in common and no connection. This is the Jerusalem that the Lord gave to us as an inheritance on June 7, 1967.