As I write this, we are in the midst of celebrating Yom Yerushalayim, the day on which after nearly 2000 years, the COMPLETE city of Jerusalem was in our hands as of June 67. It is my first as an Israeli citizen and I am looking forward to many aspects of the day.
Last night, I attended a wedding of the son of the man I work for. It was held on Kibbutz Bet Guvrin (yes, the same location as the "dig") outdoors under a beautiful sky with perfect weather. The meal, dancing, etc were all outdoors and it could not have been more gorgeous! BUT, in the middle of the chuppa, my cell phone rang, and I saw it was a call from my parents. I ran to the side to answer the phone and was given the good news: my niece and nephew, Mindy and Yaakov Samberg had a baby boy!!! Mazal tov...this meant I was GREAT uncle for the very first time...how exciting this was! It was a particularly emotional moment, as I also realized it is the first (of MANY, BE"H) smachot I will miss in Chicago. (But we do hope to skype in for the Brit next week!).
And if that was not emotional enough, the chuppa came to a conclusion with the singing of "Im Eshkachaych Yerushalayim"...on the NIGHT of Yom Yerushalayim...it meant SO much at that moment. It was followed by Tefilla Chagigit for Maariv in honor of the special day!
This afternoon, we are all going in to Yerushalayim to take part in the RIKUDGALIM, a flag dance with 75,000 of my closest friends. We will all dance in the streets of Yerushalayim to further accomplish that which it says in the Navi Zecharya:
עוד ישבו זקנים וזקנות ברחובות ירושלם
Yes, the time HAS indeed come that Rabbi Akiva referred to at the end of Masechet Makkot. We do see the streets of Jerusalem filled with young and old...dancing, singing and living as FREE Jews under JEWISH leadership (flawed, but Jewish!). We have been zoche to also say:
עקיבא, ניחמתנוִ עקיבא, ניחמתנו
(Akiva you have comforted us--with your vision of Yerushalayim).
Yes, we are indeed comforted that Jerusalem is our's. Yes, we are comforted that Jerusalem will BE"H NEVER be in the hands of an oppressor again. And yes, we are indeed comforted that people can live as free Jews in the Land of Israel. No, we do not have a Bet HaMikdash and no, the government of Israel is not Mashiach ruling over the Jews. No, it is not perfect! But...JERUSALEM IS OUR'S FOREVER, no matter what any administration of any other country may claim!
The worst part of the day? The sad fact that there are still Jews around the world who do not recognize that today, YOM YERUSHALAYIM, is a cause for celebration. That instead of Hallel, they are reciting Tachanun. It is also sad that such a significant percentage of people do not recognize the NISSIM GLUYIM (revealed miracles) of the Six Day War and are not "makir tov" (do not show gratitude) to Hashem for what He has done for us. If only R' Akiva could stand near Har HaBayit now and declare that he sees that vision of Zecharya come true with his own eyes...then we could ALL say: AKIVA NICHAMTANU, AKIVA NICHAMTANU!
Yom Yerushalayim Sameach to ALL Jews, no matter what they choose to say/not say in Tefilla. Next time you are in Israel, make sure to stop by the Old City of Jerusalem. You will recognize it by the white dome of the Churva Synagogue which has been re-built...just like Jerusalem itself!
אִֽם־אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְֽרוּשָׁלָם תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִֽי
With Greetings from Hashem's Home Town...
Israel's newest Great Uncle