Jerusalem Liberation Day

Why didn''t King David establish a Jerusalem Day when he brought the ark to the Holy City?

Dovi Gross ,

Western Wall, Jerusalem
Western Wall, Jerusalem

Rabbi Shlomo Goren, who was the chief Rabbi of Israel after serving as the head of the Military Rabbinate of the IDF, had the opportunity to take part in a good many critical junctions surrounding the founding of the state of Israel, and made important changes. One of the significant junctions where Rabbi Goren took an important rule, was the conquest of the Old City, Temple Mount and the Western Wall of Jerusalem. In his diary he describes what had happened a few hours earlier.

"Motta was very depressed. He informed me that he had received orders not to enter the Old City but rather to surround it from all sides. Under no circumstances was he to enter the city. He added that apparently the policy was to leave the Old City in the hands of the city's Arab population without conquering it.

"To this I replied that were I in his shoes I would not be able to resist such an historic opportunity to liberate the Temple Mount after two thousand years. After all, what is the worst that could happen? They could put me on trial and perhaps sentence me to imprisonment. Better that I spend my whole life in prison so that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount be free than to be free while Jerusalem remained enslaved.

"I explained, however, that my comments were in no way an attempt to convince him to go against his orders. I was merely expressing my personal thoughts on the matter at this very fateful hour for the Jewish people. Perhaps, I explained, this is a onetime opportunity given to us by God to return the stolen property of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to the Jewish people. Missing this opportunity might be an irremissible sin that causes "weeping for generations to come.""

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel declared that the day the Old City and Temple Mount were liberated would be declared a festival and all should recite Hallel with a Bracha.

But why does the redemption in our days differ from the inauguration of Jerusalem in the days of King David? He did no establish a day to thank and praise Hashem for that occurence!

Rabbi Yaakov Ariel replied that at the time of the Second Temple there were many festive days as well as days of mourning days documented in "Megilat Ta'anit" and most of them have been cancelled, with the exception of Hannukah. These festive days are based on the declaration of the prophets that one should say Hallel for every great salvation (Pesachim 117 A). and Rabbi Ariel ends "We were all in danger of annihilation and we were saved, we won and liberated parts of the Land of Israel and especially Jerusalem. Is there any doubt whether to thank God for all these?"

Rabbi Zalman Melamed explains that the special aspect of the Six-Day War was that it gave a thrust to the groups who saw the Zionist movement not just as a practical physical solution to the problem of Jewish survival, rather as the beginning of our Redemption and as part of the spiritual ascension in our generation. This push stood behind the settling of Judea and Samaria and a big movement of repentance that didn't exist before-hand.

In addition the great feeling of danger that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War, caused people to understand that our existence in the land of Israel is not guaranteed. "

Jerusalem Day is a day of thanks and praise to God, who returned us to Jerusalem and to the length and breadth of the Land of Israel, a day of prayer for complete redemption - that it should come speedily in our days, Amen."

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