The Holy City of Jerusalem
By Ariel Natan Pasko
Rachel is still crying for her children - the Jewish People (Jeremiah
31:14). Not because they've been dragged off to Babylon in servitude -
that ended long ago. They've since returned to their borders (Jeremiah
31:16), rebuilt their cities and towns, and re-established their national
life. Mother Rachel - buried not far from Jerusalem, just outside
Bethlehem - cries because of the horrendous bus bombings and murders
perpetrated on her children in these times.
Islam claims that Jerusalem is their "third holiest city", one hears that phrase ad nauseam in the media. It's based on a mythological flight of fancy of Muhammad. But serious scholars - Islamic and otherwise - know better, that Muhammad never set foot in Jerusalem. The Arabs that live in the Land of Israel, who call themselves "Palestinians", claim Jerusalem is so important to them; they want it to be their capital city, for a state that never was.
And yet, they blow it up. Piece by peace....
Jerusalem the Holy has yet again suffered another outrage. The second bus bombing in just over three weeks and the 23rd bombing in Jerusalem - that's almost 200 people killed and over 1,500 injured - since the Oslo War began in October 2000. Imagine if an American city - say New York or Los Angeles - suffered 10,000 dead and over 75,000 injured. It has ripped apart bodies, it has ripped apart lives, it has ripped apart families, it has ripped apart dreams, and it has ripped apart the "Peace of Jerusalem" that King David exhorts the whole world to pray for (Psalms 122:6).
One can debate "rights" and wrong, "occupation" and suffering, who has suffered more, and to whom does Jerusalem belong. But these are futile efforts, because the truth is crystal clear. Just look at the second part of the verse in King David's holy song: "...they who love you [Jerusalem] shall prosper." (Psalms 122:6)
Since 1948, with the return of Jewish political independence in the land of their forefathers, the Jews have prospered. They have built a modern economy and society; they have ingathered exiles; they have rejoiced in the L-rd. The children have returned to their borders (Jeremiah 31:16).
Since the liberation of the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City in 1967 - all previously ethnically cleansed of Jews, by the brutal Jordanian occupation - Jerusalem has grown and prospered. Jews from all over Israel and all over the world have flocked to her, built her, loved her.
But the latest usurpers, the "Palestinians", have not prospered. As they work harder and harder to steal what is not theirs, they descend into further poverty and degradation. The Arabs in Gaza today - under the Palestinian Authority - are much worse off economically than when they were under Israeli rule, and this, in spite of the infusion of billions of donor dollars to help them. The same situation exists in the "seven cities" - in Judea and Samaria, the West Bank - which Israel turned over to Arafat's rule.
And in Jerusalem?
The Arabs of Jerusalem are also suffering. Although under Israeli rule, they've identified with the PA and they've been allowed to vote - for Arafat - in the one election the PA has held since taking power over 10 years ago. They've spurned the "Peace of Jerusalem". The Arabs of Jerusalem want to liberate themselves - or be liberated - from the Jews, i.e., Rachel's children, that's why they suffer. And when a suicide bus bomber blows up another bus in "Jewish" Jerusalem, I'm sure they secretly rejoice, as do their brothers who openly party in Gaza and the West Bank.
Like in the story of King Solomon and the two mothers claiming the same baby as theirs (I Kings 3:16-28), the "Palestinians" as the false mother, would see the baby cut in half [Jerusalem] rather than given to it's rightful guardian [the Jewish People]. More than they love Jerusalem, the Arabs hate to see it in the hands of the Jews.
Jerusalem, their "third holiest city", and they are killing it.
But Jerusalem, the Holy City, City of Gold, City of G-d, is beloved by the Jews. In spite of the bombings, the slow economy, the lack of tourists, the very high rent and real estate prices - because Jerusalem is in such demand - Jews struggle to live there.
Jerusalem is our Holiest City!
But "Holiness" doesn't mean separation from life, in Jewish thought. Holiness means the fullness of life, a G-d-centered life, full of joy and truth. Jerusalem thrives in spite of those who attack her. Truth is on the Jewish People's side. Jerusalem grows and awaits the return of her king and her house, the Messiah and G-d's Temple.
King David in his near infinite wisdom continues, "For the sake of my brothers and friends, I shall speak of peace in your [Jerusalem] midst." (Psalms 122:8) He then concludes, "For the sake of the House of the L-rd, our G-D, I will seek your [Jerusalem's] good." (Psalms 122:9)
More than the Jewish People need Jerusalem, Jerusalem needs them. Of what value is the Holy City and House of G-d if there are no people to take in their sacred spirit? G-d's Spirit dwells only where there are those who will benefit from His Presence. As G-d told Moses in the desert, "Make me a mikdash [Temple] and I will dwell bitocham [among them]." (Exodus 25:8) On the surface, it means in the sanctuary. But more deeply, "I will dwell within them," within those who are prepared for G-d's Presence.
Murderers, and those who help them, thieves and their minions, oppressors and occupiers, yes, all the Arabs in the Land of Israel, are not prepared for His Presence, and are not worthy of Holy Jerusalem.
If Jerusalem is their "third holiest city," what about numbers one and two?
Let them go to Mecca and Medina to blow up. Let them worship their god of blood-lust, murder and mayhem in "their holiest cities". Why settle for number three?
We and our children will go up to the mountain of the L-rd. Jews will continue to live and thrive in Jerusalem, bombers and their hate will not stop that. Jerusalem is the Jewish People's Holiest City and that will never change....