This Yom Yerushalayim, 2020, Israelis are joyfully returning to their synagogues, after two months of Corona-virus closure of synagogues and yeshivot.
Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook did not tear Kriah (the sign of mourning, tearing one's shirt) on seeing the Kotel, the Western Wall, or viewing the Temple Mount, after the Six Day War.
There is a connection between these two statements:
Rav Mordechai Shternberg (in Ayin B'ayin Yir'u, pages 235-245) say that this is based on a disagreement between the Mishna in Talmud Bavli (Ketuvot 110b) and a statement in the Talmud Yerushalmi. The Babylonian Talmud says a husband can force his wife to move to Yerushalayim, but the wife cannot force her husband. The Jerusalem Talmud says that the wife CAN force her husband to move there.
The Rosh and Hagahot Oshri resolve the dispute by saying that the Bavli, written during the Babylonian exile, is for the time of exile- the wife cannot force her husband. But the Jerusalem Talmud is for the future, for the end of Exile, and then the wife can force her husband.
Many assumed this latter opinion is for some far-flung future time, after the end of Adam's and Eve's curse: "And he will rule of her"(Genesis 3; 16). At that time, Man and Woman will share (a word that denotes ultimate Malchut) truly equal status, in Messianic Utopia.
But not Rav Tzvi Yehudah: to him, that time is NOW. Since the founding of the State of Israel, being a "Medinah Elokit"(a G-dly nation), we have entered the period of the final Redemption.
Rav Shternberg has said: It is now not "The Lord will be King" (Exodus 15; 18)", but now "the Lord is King" (Psalms 10;16). G-d's Kingdom is found in all this universe now, constantly, uninterruptedly- now and forever (l'olam va'ed).
Rav Chaim Drukman once said: "Ki Ayin B'Ayin Yir'u b'shuv Hashem Tzion"(Isaiah 52; 8) - the guards in all city watchtowers will raise their voices in happy song, when they see eye to eye the return of the Lord to Zion. "Eye to eye" means that mankind will see objective truth, having learned how to align human sight and judgement with that of G-d. No longer will the world deny the truth of G-d and Israel, as the King of Kings returns to Jerusalem. There will be no more CNN spin, New York Times obfuscations, or Time magazine distortions.
This process began in 1948, and continued on Wednesday, June 9, 1967, when the Israel Defense Forces, under commander Motta Gur, received a Divine gift and routed the foreign occupiers, the Jordanian army, and returned Zion to the people of Israel. Yisrael Ariel was one of the paratroopers that day. He was then a student of Rav Tzvi Yehudah's at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav. He never left those watchtowers of Zion, and he has for decades been the director of Machon Hamikdash, the Temple Institute. The Institute studies the laws of the Temple, has been preparing people and vessels to use in our future Temple, and gives guided tours in Jerusalem's Old City.
Rav Ariel describes his experience of the Six Day War (Mashmia Yeshua, by Simcha Raz, pages 333-335):
"We were stationed for weeks in the orange groves surrounding Lod (now Ben Gurion) airport, expecting to parachute into war in the Sinai. But early on Wednesday, June 9, the soldiers under Motta Gur's command were trucked up to Jerusalem, where by the Grace of G-d we freed the Old City and the Temple Mount. As the day progressed, a rumor went thru the ranks: two old, gray-bearded men had appeared on the Mount. I reacted with great emotion and spiritual elevation, certain that they could be none other than Elijah the Prophet accompanying the King Moshiach (Messiah) himself.
"When I came down from fighting that was still proceeding on the Mount against Jordanians, I was elated to see that the two elders were Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook and Rav David Cohen, the Nazir (a main disciple of Rav A. Y. Hacohen Kook, and the father-in-law of Rav Shlomo Goren, the brilliant, charismatic Chief Rabbi of the IDF). We hugged, cried, danced and sang- for as Isaiah had said, we had indeed merited to see eye to eye as the Lord returned to Zion!
"Rav Tzvi Yehudah told me that an officer had knocked on his door at about 11am, and brought an invitation for him and the Nazir to come immediately to the Kotel. As they sped thru the city in a half-track, with the Nazir's long white hair blowing in the wind, they were spotted by Chanan Porat and other Mercaz Harav Yeshiva student-soldiers. As the drove, the officer (Rav Menachem Cohen) related that earlier that day, Rav Goren had inspired veteran soldiers as he ignored enemy sniper fire, and arrived on the Mount with a Torah in one hand and a shofar in the other.
Battle-hardened soldiers were moved to tears by the bravery of Rav Goren, and by Rav Goren's blowing of the shofar in the midst of battle. When another Mercaz Harav student, Yoram Zamush, succeeded in planting the Israeli flag on the top of the Kotel, Commander Motta Gur had called up to him that he deserved a prize for his efforts, and he should name whatever he wanted.
Zamush's request: "Bring Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook here to the Kotel, that he be with us in our tremendous happiness."
"I requested from Cmdr. Motta Gur that we be allowed to pray Mincha, the afternoon prayer. We received permission for the first prayer by any Jew at the Kotel in 19 years, and the first Jewish prayer with the Temple Mount in Jewish hands in 1900 years! "
As we in Israel, for Yom Yerushalayim 2020, are about to return to our Shuls, our mikdashei me'at (little Temples), after a somewhat shorter interruption (due to Corona), the words of Rav Shternberg describing that 28th of Iyar, 1967, are apropos:
"What brings us to this yearning for Jerusalem? It is the Jewish soul that seeks to return to Yerushalayim, the source of the Jew's existence, both his body and his soul. It is the Almighty who gave each of us a soul, "V'chayei olam nata b'tocheinu", as He implanted in us eternal Life. "He is the builder of Yerushalayim" (Psalms 147; 2), building the city physically; and He builds and implants in our souls a "tzipiya l'Yerushalayim", a longing for Yerushalayim. ""My soul thirsts for the Almighty, the living G-d" (Psalms 42; 3) just as "My soul yearns, indeed it pines for the courtyards of Jerusalem" (Psalms 84; 3).
This is why now, after that first flowerings of Redemption on May 15,1948 and on June 9,1967, a Jewish wife, with the heart and soul of a lover of Zion, can force her spouse to move to Yerushalayim. This is why Rav Tzvi Yehuda did not tear Kriah at the sight of the Kotel, after that day in 1967. And this is what brought the Chazan (cantor) of that first Mincha in 1900 years at a Jewish-owned Kotel to say the prayer that he did; Rav Yisrael Ariel finishes his story:
As soldiers bowed in thanks to the Almighty, prostrating themselves on the plaza in front of the Kotel, others caressed the stones of the Holy Temple, and others began singing Psalm 126: "A song of ascents, when the Lord will return the captivity of Zion, we will be as dreamers".
The Chazan, IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, ascended to the front of the mass of soldiers, and started the Mincha prayers. When he reached the Shma Koleinu of the Silent Prayer, Shmoneh Esrei, he added the paragraph for Tisha B'Av, the day of the destruction of the Temple , 1900 years ago- but with changes.
Instead of : "Oh Lord Almighty, console the mourners of Zion ad of Jerusalem, and the city that is mournful, ruined, scorned and desolate without her children, ruined without her abodes…therefore Zion weeps bitterly", Rav Goren, knowing that a new period of Redemption was underway, one with no more Kriah (garment rending as a sign of mourning) , sang out:
"Oh Lord Almighty, comfort the mourners of Zion and the mourners of Jerusalem, the happy city that is no longer scorned, that is no longer desolate- rather, she is honored, happy that her children have come to redeem her, have evicted the Jordanian Legions and again gained her as an inheritance for Your Nation of Israel. Therefore, Zion with happy voice will pray, and Jerusalem will raise her voice in thanks and song".
On this Yom Yerushalayim, may all in Israel happily return to their synagogues, and may we soon, again be able to joyfully parade through Yerushalayim's streets in her honor.
Rabbi Dr. Hirsch is a physician residing in Beit El who works at Hadassah Hospital. He recently completed Rabbinical ordination of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel through a study
program at Yeshivat Merkaz Harav