Thursday, May 21, 2009

Temple Institute: Jerusalem Day

After two thousand years this is happening before my very eyes..."
Iyar 27, 5769/May 21, 2009

42nd day of the Omer

"Tel Aviv - up in flames... Haifa - up in flames... Jerusalem - up in flames..."Thus begins the dramatic retelling by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder and head of the Temple Institute, of his 1967 Six Day War experiences. Fate placed Rabbi Ariel, then a young man, in arguably the most enviable position in the last two thousand years of Jewish history. As one of the paratroopers of the 55th Parachute Brigade that on June 7th, 1967, captured Jerusalem's old city and liberated the Temple Mount, the impact of the events of those history making moments upon the young Rabbi were profound. "What is the meaning of it, that we arrived at this moment, after two thousand years, to this place? The unassailable certainty that we had returned in order to build, that was clear to me."

Forty-two years have passed, and today an entire generation has grown to adulthood never having lived the bitter reality of a Jerusalem divided, of the sanctified earth, where the House of G-d, the Holy of Holies stood, utterly beyond the reach of the sons and daughters of Israel. Rivers of ink have been used to describe Jerusalem, what it is, what it means, what it holds in store. Rivers of ink have been used to build Jerusalem up, and to tear it down. Rivers of blood have been soaked up by its earth and its stones: The blood of its tress-passers, its invaders, its traducers; the blood of its defenders.

Today it is fashionable to talk of re-dividing the city, G-d forbid, of "internationalizing" Jerusalem, G-d forbid, of establishing within its ramparts the "capital" of a "state" of a "people" who sets its face against the G-d of Israel, and conspires against His children. Today it is fashionable to speak of those who love and long for the Holy Temple, as being dreamers, or worse. Today it is fashionable to heap praise upon those who would, like the Roman Hadrian, plow Jerusalem under.

One thing is for certain, and that is that the fate of Jerusalem and the fate of the nation of Israel is one: As goes Jerusalem, so goes the Jewish people. And with that, there is very much to be thankful for and to be encouraged by. Each and every day in Jerusalem breaths life into the eternal words of Zechariah:

"So said the L-rd of Hosts: Old men and women shall yet sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each man with his staff in his hand because of old age. And the streets of the city shall be filled, with boys and girls playing in its streets." (Zechariah 8:4-5)

Each and every day in Jerusalem bears witness to the benevolent words of David: "Jerusalem that is built like a city in which [all Israel] is united together." (Psalms 122:3)

Jerusalem stands, as ever, at the center of humanity, the crossroads of history. Jerusalem remains, as always, the one place on earth where heaven will not be denied: "Build Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amongst them!" (Exodus 25:8)

"From the place where I was standing I could see the entire Temple Mount. After two thousand years this is happening before my very eyes..." These words of testimony, with which Rabbi Ariel invokes the overwhelming realization that the era of destruction has come to a close, and the era of rebuilding has commenced, these words we speak even today. For from where we stand, we too share in the conviction that "this is happening before our very eyes."

We urge everyone to take five minutes to view a unique video, produced by the Temple Institute, in which Rabbi Yisrael Ariel paratrooper and founder of the Temple Institute, reflects on his experiences in the Six Day War and the liberation of the Temple Mount. This intensely personal recollection can be view in its original Hebrew, with English subtitles, and with Spanish subtitles. Yom Yerushalayim Sameach - happy Jerusalem Day!

This week's Temple Talk is a rebroadcast from one year ago, during which time Rabbi Chaim Richman and Yitzchak Reuven discussed Jerusalem Day, the prophet Samuel and King David, Jerusalems's original "City Fathers," and the particular moxie and ground-breaking vision they displayed while planning for the building of the Holy Temple.

With Rabbi Richman's return to Israel from a most successful and rewarding visit in the USA, next week will feature and all new, cutting-edge Temple Talk. Be sure to join us!

Rabbi Chaim Richman also reflects on the historical, prophetic and spiritual aspects of Yom Yerushalayim - Jerusalem Day - in this week's Light to the Nations teaching, entitled, "Jerusalem Day Special: The reunification of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty and the liberation of the Temple Mount, achieved through the blood, sweat and lives of of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, was a miracle of the first degree. How do we recognize and understand a miracle of this magnitude, when it occurs in our lifetimes?" Click here to view.

This week also features the rebroadcast of Rabbanit Rena Richman's Bat Melech video teaching, entitled, "Ruth, the story of the Moabite princess who attached herself to the Jewish nation and the G-d of Israel, is traditionally read in synagogues on the upcoming festival of Shavuoth. Rena Richman reveals fascinating midrashic insights into the historical background of the story, focusing on the unique personalities of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz. These three individuals together create the foundations of the Davidic dynasty." In honor of the upcoming Shavuot festival, (May 29), we have reposted parts one and two of this fascinating teaching. Click here to view.

"When this letter reaches your hands, I will no longer be among the living. In these, the final moments of my life, I feel compelled to express my thoughts." Dedicated to the memory of the one hundred and eighty paratroopers who gave their lives sanctifying G-d's name in the battle for Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, this "Letter from a Soldier," penned by Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, commemorates his fellow soldiers, and the holiness of the cause for which they gave their lives. Click here.

Just as the Levites receive in the opening chapters of the book of Numbers, their appointed tasks in the service of G-d, so must we also strive to discover that appointed task in the service of HaShem for which we were brought into this world to fulfill. Click here to view Rabbi Richman's short teaching on parashat Bemidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20).

Sefirat Ha'omer - Count For Yourselves: Forty-nine Days That Can Change Your World: The forty-nine days between Passover and Shavuot, (between leaving Egypt and receiving Torah at Sinai), are days laden with awesome spiritual potential. The opportunity for growth is ours for the taking. The Temple Institute celebrates the 49 days, and invites everyone to take one minute and view our Sefirat Ha'Omer inspirational video. Click here.

Blessings from the united city of Jerusalem,
Yitzchak Reuven
PO Box 31876
Jerusalem, Israel 97500

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