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Shabbat Parashat Behar-Behukotay| 5767
From the works of Hagaon Harav Shaul Yisraeli zt”l - “Our Feet Were Standing in Your Gateways, Yerushalayim” - Address for Yom Yerushalayim, 5752 - Condensed from Sha’alu Shlom Yerushalayim, pp. 29-33
It has been 25 years since we merited having the walls that prevented us from approaching our holy sites in Yerushalayim breached. Those years have seen building and expansion in the city and an influx of olim from all over the world to it and the rest of Israel. We said at that time: “We were happy when they told us, ‘We will go to the House of Hashem’” (based on Tehillim 122:1). Indeed, we thought the nations of the world might finally see that we are the chosen nation and this is the Holy Land and that the nation and the Land have been properly reunited. We saw steps toward an imminent full redemption when we would be able to actually go to the House of Hashem. However, we are in fact “stuck” on the pasuk,“Our feet were standing in your gateways, Yerushalayim” (ibid. :3). We are still in the gateways, with the true gates closed. We are still locked in a harsh battle over our rights to Eretz Yisrael and Yerushalayim, the capital, the city of the kingdom. We stand at a happy time, with one joyful eye and the other tearing because of the loss of innocent sacrifices who fall from time to time to conscienceless murderers. These murderers, who have lost a human face, are unwilling to admit that we have rightfully regained our Land which was stolen from us.
The prophet of destruction and reawakening was told: “Go and call out in the ears of Yerushalayim: so says Hashem: I remember the grace of your adolescence, the love of your wedding” (Yirmiya 2:2). Hashem commanded Yirmiya not just to physically go and tell the people of his time but to leave a message for all generations. The message is also for those who are lost and scattered in Assyria and Egypt (see Yeshaya 27:13). As members of the nation of Yerushalayim, they are part of its ears. The nation will continue to return home and build despite the stubbornness of the world’s nations. This is our response to the Psalmist’s call: “Remember, Hashem, the Sons of Edom, who said, ‘Destroy it, destroy it to its foundations’” (Tehillim 137:7).
Hashem’s remembering our love for Him and our request that He remember the cruelty of the Sons of Edom are related. The fact that we are still in this Land and this city despite the efforts of Edom and Yishmael is a sign that Hashem recalls us fondly. The fact that we persevered the period of Scud missiles with so few casualties is a sign that Hashem remembers the type of nation we are. We are the nation which, without a Land to live in, roaming a harsh desert, called out in a strong voice: “We will do and hear.”
We need to continue the belief in Hashem and ignore “the prophets of doom” among us who do not believe we can hold on to this Land. “The sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned back” (Tehillim 114:3). When our nation walks forward, the river and the sea flee. We will tell the Prime Minister: “You are in the midst of a very important struggle [Ed. note- apparently, a reference to the Madrid Conference]. Do not move from here because we are the masters of the Land.”
If we want the gates to open, (some do not even notice they are closed), the gates need to hear the words that open them: “Let the King of Glory come” (see Tehillim 24:10). We cannot come to the gates of the city when we do not treat it as the Holy City. We cannot desecrate Shabbat in its midst or call for the destruction of the Jewish family and expect it to open its gates. However, if we reject the call of the defeatist camp and call out, “Hashem is our G-d, Hashem is One,” realizing that the true Kingdom of Israel is the Kingdom of Hashem, then we can succeed. We are on the eve of Shavuot. Let us call out again: “We will do and hear.” Whoever accepts upon himself the Kingdom of Heaven removes from himself the yoke of the kingdom of the nations. In this merit, may we see “light a new light on Tziyon, and we shall all merit soon having its light.”
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