LTTN med xp logo Jerusalem Day

June 1, 2000

© 2000 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved
“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that did mourn for her…” (Isaiah 66:10)
 
Tonight marks the start of Jerusalem Day, the 28th of Iyar. On this historic day 33 years ago, the Israel Defense Force liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian captivity and reunited the city of Jerusalem -- the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
 
As I write these words here in the Old City, thousands have begun streaming into her streets, from all over Israel and from all around the world. Young and old, religious and secular, Israelis and tourists, Jews and Gentiles; they carry flags and banners, prayer books and cameras. Some walk with confidence, moving through her streets with the intimacy of an old friend; some are shy and unsure of themselves. Some sing aloud, patriotic songs that praise Jerusalem with Biblical verses; others just look on in wonderment.
 
Here in Israel, we live in uncertain days. According to reports, the government intends, in practice, to hand over all of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to the PLO Authority (rejected by Arafat as not enough); the chaotic withdrawl from Lebanon has left many unanswered questions about the future; the division of Jerusalem seems to have begun. Yet despite all this, the Jewish people as a whole are still lead by their indomitable collective spirit, to celebrate the reality of our Jerusalem…the living, thriving, shining testimony to her inexorable destiny.
 
“…for behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people: and the voice of weeping shall be heard no more in her, nor the voice of crying.” (Isaiah 65:18–19).
 
Today, on Jerusalem Day, reflect on what Jerusalem means to the Jewish people and to all who share in our common roots of Biblical faith. Recall that throughout the Bible, the word Jerusalem is synonymous with all that is good and true in the world. The Jewish people have never had another capital, and it has never been the capital of any other people in the world. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible over 700 times, yet not a single mention of it appears in the Koran.
 
Today, as you reflect on all that Jerusalem stands for, take a moment to visit the official website of the Palestine National Authority, www.pna.org, to see revisionist history in action. Here you meet our partners in “the peace of the brave,” and you will learn new “historical facts” about the Jerusalem that has been an Arab city for 5,000 years. This is Jerusalem, capital of Palestine. The Jews have never had any connection with this city, and there never was a Holy Temple; even the Western Wall is not an authentic Jewish site, but only the place where Mohammed hitched up his horse before ascending to Heaven. “Some Orthodox religious Jews consider it as a holy place for them,” the site explains, “and claim that the wall is part of their temple which all historic studies and archeological excavations have failed to find any proof for such a claim.”
 
A moment later, as you reflect on the heart of Jerusalem, the Holy Temple, and the promise and commandment that it will be rebuilt, visit www.miac.com/bait/ and witness the Wakf’s destruction on the Temple Mount…destruction aimed to make sure that no one will “find any proof for such a claim.” (We have documented this destruction in a documentary film, “Reviving the Stones: The Story of Israel’s Unfinished Struggle to Claim the Temple Mount,” featuring exclusive interviews and footage, and available from the Temple Institute).
 
For 2,000 years, Jews the world over have turned and faced Jerusalem in prayer. Daniel, in Babylonian captivity, turned and faced Jerusalem in prayer. But turning towards Jerusalem is not just a physical gesture, not just a matter of changing directions…turning towards Jerusalem means that we align ourselves with the side of Jerusalem, and everything Jerusalem stands for: the return of the Divine Presence and the culmination of Jewish purpose, to be a light to the nations and a people who walk with G-d in their midst.
 
Today, on Jerusalem Day, let us again reaffirm with the perpetual hope and joy that has characterized Israel since time immemorial, that we will rise to our challenge: We will turn and face Jerusalem.
 
“For thus says the L-rd, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a flowing stream…as one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; and you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:12–13).

Rabbi Chaim Richman 
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE JERUSALEM