LTTN med xp logo Go and Cry in the Ears of Jerusalem!

July 23, 2000

© 2000 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved
These are whispering days of rumors, doubt and uncertainty. Reports emerging from the privileged inner chambers of Camp David, Maryland, are studies in contradictory non-speech and double-talk. Will he go? Will he stay? Are they smiling at each other? Are they sitting together? Every day, press briefings allude only to various changes in atmosphere and mood, and ups and downs of progress or its lack. Apparently the Prime Minister does not feel that the Israeli public needs to know what concessions he is offering in their name. Yet we do know that Jerusalem’s immediate future is a central issue. According to reports, despite Mr. Barak’s campaign promises that he would never divide Jerusalem, this is exactly what he is now considering, in a proposal which features, among other details, shared sovereignty over a divided Jerusalem, and the PLO flag flying over the Temple Mount. According to the most recent rumors, Arafat continues to refuse these offers, leading to speculation that the summit could possibly end with no agreement. But bear in mind that it was Ehud Barak who pushed for this summit. None of the sides would have agreed to attend unless they felt sure that an agreement could be reached. In fact, one cynical scenario suggests that the “agreements” were already agreed upon in advance, and all this time in Camp David is just being taken up with the creation of PR strategies to sell the gullible public this bill of goods…announcements that will make the players look good, and give everyone the impression that they really fought for their principles. However, unlike Barak, Arafat refuses to consider any compromise on Jerusalem ­ he insists on claiming the entire city as his capital.
It appears that the ultimate battle for Jerusalem is now underway. Of late, many voices have been heard in the international news media, calling for the internationalization of Jerusalem. Last week, for example, the Vatican once again called for “international guarantees” that would “protect the special status of Jerusalem.”
During these very weeks of the siege of Jerusalem, and the breach made in her walls in the time of the Holy Temple, the city is once again under siege. How ironic that Jerusalem, originally conquered by the camp of David, is now besieged by the participants of Camp David. Who could remain insensitive to the fate of Jerusalem, King David’s capital? As we recall her destruction during these days of mourning for the Temple, who amongst us does not shudder when recalling David’s words, “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember thee; if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy.” (Psalms 137)
With the impending return of President Clinton from Japan, the summit draws to a close. According to news releases, the talks were suspended on the Jewish Sabbath, the second Sabbath that Prime Minister Ehud Barak spent in Camp David. However, “Prime Minister Barak did not attend the group Sabbath meal, preferring instead to remain in his room, reading history books, particularly accounts of previous negotiations, such as those held by Begin and Sadat.”
One can only wonder if this was the extent of Prime Minister Barak’s reading material, or if he also read the Haftorah, the appointed reading from the prophets which was recited in the synagogue this past Sabbath. Perhaps he would have taken great encouragement and strength from these words, found in the first chapter of the book of Jeremiah, which “just happened” to fall out on this corresponding Sabbath. Perhaps he might have been amazed by the timing of this reading and the devastating event in which he is participating: 
“Then the L-rd said to me, Out of the north the evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. For behold, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, says the L-rd; and they shall come, and they shall set everyone his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about, and against all the cities of Judah.”
“And I will utter My judgments against them regarding all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken Me, and burned incense to other gods…”
“You, therefore, gird up your loins, and arise, and speak to them all that I command you; do not be dismayed at them, lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and walls of brass against the whole land…”
“And they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the L-rd, to deliver you.”
“Moreover the word of the L-rd came to me, saying, Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says the L-rd: I remember in your favor, the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride; when you did go after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
Israel is holy to the L-rd, the firstfruits of His increase; all that devour him shall be held guilty; evil shall come upon them, says the L-rd.”
All those who set Jerusalem above their highest joy: Remember that they shall fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you ­ for “I am with you to deliver you.”
With blessings for the speedy rebuilding of the Holy Temple,
And the consolation and rejoicing of Jerusalem ­ eternal and undivided capital of the Jewish people

Rabbi Chaim Richman