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  ISRAEL    
 
 
  YOM YERUSHALAIM  
 
MACCABI WORLD UNION, DESCRIPTION & IDEOLOGY, BY RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO

Yom Yerushalaim
By: Rabbi Carlos A. Tapiero, Carlos@maccabiworld.org
Deputy Director-General
Maccabi World Union, www.maccabiworld.org

RABBI CARLOS TAPIERO, MWU DEPUTY - DIRECTOR GENERAL & DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

 

 

Kfar HaMaccabiah,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Yom Yerushalaim Message 

 

אם אשכחך ירושלים - If I forget thee, oh Jerusalem

 

Dear Friends,

 

When we want to emphasize what has taken place inside a building, we use the popular expression "If only these walls could speak", knowing, of course, that what we or others do not reveal about what took place there, will be condemned to oblivion.

 

There are exceptions to this rule, and Jerusalem undoubtedly is the most remarkable of these exceptions.

 

In Jerusalem, everything speaks to us: its walls, its rocks, its mountains, its different landscapes, its old and new buildings.  Jerusalem is permanently in dialogue with those who journey up to it, dazzling us with its beauty, captivating us with its history, affecting us with its spirit.  Jerusalem awakes in us memories of times and situations we never actually lived through as if we had personally experienced them, a strange and magical dj vu, histories and legends transmitted to us by our more important Jewish sources.

 

Our Sages teach us that Jerusalem is the point from where the whole Cosmos began.  The Bible, later rabbinical explanations and often, extensive archeology proving the longevity of legends and folklore of millennia, all indicate that the land which became Jerusalem was: where Isaac was tied to the rock in Abraham's test of faith; where Jacob dreamed about his ladder leading to the sky; where David founded his City of Union and Peace for the inhabitants of the North and the South of the Land of Israel, and where Solomon constructed the Great Temple.  When we were exiled from the Land of Israel for the first time - to Babylon of Nebuchadnezar in 586 BCE. -, our pain was so great that it motivated the Psalmist's most powerful expression:

If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,

may my right hand forget its skill.

May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth 

if I do not remember thee, 

if I do not place Jerusalem 

above my chiefest joy.                                        (Psalm 137)

 

This immense nostalgia, this necessity of again and again uniting ourselves with Jerusalem of Gold (the Ancient World's chief temporal measure of value was gold) has been maintained from generation to generation, no matter how many times we were expelled from our Capital.  So omnipresent, so significant has this feeling been that Jerusalem represented for many Jews the totality of the Land of Israel:  When Naphtali Herz Imber wrote the hymn of hope of our People in 1886[1] - Hatikvah- seeking to articulate the dream of Jewish return to Israel, the place of reference he chose was Jerusalem and Zion[2], indicating that the City of David was synonymous with or symbolic of the whole Land of Israel.

 

Who can then be surprised that tonight we initiate celebration of our encounter with that Jerusalem, so loved, so longed for, so wished for, recalled and revered throughout our generations?  The return to Jerusalem means much more to us than victory in battle, or the liberation - which happened on 28 Iyar 5737, during the 6 Day War of 1967.  It represented the deep joy of knowing that our life was normalized; that we could, once again, as in the past, reconstruct the Jerusalem of David from the ruins and freely walk her ancient pathways.  Uniting with that Jerusalem always ours but so often denied to us meant the continuation of our particular national destiny, so weighty with irrefutable facts of our history, teachings, prayers (all Jewish prayers worldwide are always directed towards Jerusalem, so memorably articulated in Imber's Hatikvah), and of some kind of Tikkun for our People, a repairing of the wrongs of our past, some recompense for the unspeakable horror of the Shoah (the Holocaust) and the miseries of war.

 

Let us celebrate Jerusalem today; let us celebrate today the freedom to walk its streets, to enjoy its sights, sounds and aromas, to bask in her extraordinary colors as the light plays upon her stones, and to return to rebuild her thresholds.  Let us feel in this festival the joy and emotion of hundreds of our generations who could only imagine her, praise her in their poems and sing of her in their songs, and that now enter, as it were, walking with us, her narrow passageways and ascending footpaths.

 

Yom Yerushalayim Sameach!

Chazak ve'ematz!

 

RABBI CARLOS A. TAPIERO

Deputy Director-General & Director of Education

Maccabi World Union


------

[1]The words of what became the Zionist Movement's and later Israel's national anthem were written in 1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber, a poet who made Aliya (emigrated to Israel) in 1882 from Bohemia.  The melody was written by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia - who basing it on a musical theme found in Bedrich Smetana's "Moldau." Its evocative music, probably composed by Samuel Cohen, and arranged as we know it today by the great Paul Ben Haim, is thought to be based on a theme from an old Moldavian folk song, "Carul cu boi" ("Cart and Oxen"), which certainly also served as the inspiration for a theme in Bedřich Smetana's "The Moldau" symphonic poem (part of M Vlast, "My Country").

[2]Another name for Jerusalem.


 
   
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