Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Why Jerusalem Matters - For millennium of exile, Jews always turned toward Jerusalem. What memory were they eager to preserve?

Why Jerusalem Matters

For millennium of exile, Jews always turned toward 

Jerusalem. What memory were they eager to preserve?


Jerusalem has no strategic significance. It has no commercial or industrial importance, and it is not a cultural center.
How has this ancient city, unimportant as it appears, crept to the heart of contention between Israel and the Palestinians over the future of the land of Israel? Why should we care what happens to Jerusalem?
We need to begin by understanding the importance of memory. Memory isn't history or dead memorabilia. By defining the past memory creates the present. Repression of memory creates mental disease. Health comes from memory's recovery. Dictators consolidate power by altering memory. Stalin airbrushed Trotsky and Bukharin out of photographs. Revisionists deny the Holocaust ever happened. Why does it matter?
In Hebrew, the word for man is "zachar." The word for memory is "zecher." Man is memory. People who suffer memory loss through illness or accident don't just misplace their keys. They lose their selves. They become lost and adrift in time, because without memory, the current moment has no context, and no meaning.
When the Jews were first exiled from Jerusalem, King David said, "If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength. Let my tongue cling to my palate if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy." The memory of Jerusalem somehow is linked to our current vigor as a people. But how? What is the memory of Jerusalem, and what does it contribute to who we are?
The memory of Jerusalem somehow is linked to our current vigor as a people.
London comes from a Celtic word which means "a wild and wooded town." Cairo is an anglicized version of the Arab name for Mars, the Roman god of war. Paris is named for the Paris of Greek myth, who was asked by the gods to choose between love, wisdom, and power. He chose love ― the love of Helen of Troy.
The Talmud says Jerusalem was named by God. The name has two parts: Yira, which means "to see," and shalem, which means "peace."
Jerusalem was the place of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, and Abraham said of Jerusalem, "This is the place where God is seen."
Elsewhere, God is a theory, but in Jerusalem, God is seen, and felt, as a tangible presence. In Jerusalem we reach beyond the frailty and vulnerability of our lives, and we sense and strive for transcendence. Elsewhere we grope for insight. In Jerusalem we anticipate clarity. Paris may be for lovers, but Jerusalem is for visionaries.

In Jerusalem, God is seen, and felt, as a tangible presence.
Jerusalem is a metaphor for a perfected world, and it gives us perspective on our lives. When Aldous Huxley said, "we have each of us our Jerusalem," he meant much more than a temporal city of taxi cabs and traffic jams. He meant a vision of what life might be.
The vision of life's promise is one we surrender at our peril, because it gives us the will to live. In exile for two thousand years Jews said "Next year in Jerusalem," and amidst poverty and oppression they preserved the dream of a world in which love and justice, not power and self-interest, would be the currency men live by.
Part of the name Jerusalem is "vision." The other part of the name is peace, but the peace of Jerusalem is not the absence of strife. Jerusalem has rarely known anything but strife. The peace of Jerusalem is the peace at the center of the spokes of a wheel, where opposing forces may be delicately balanced and reconciled.
The Talmud says that creation began in Jerusalem, and the world radiated outward from this place. Medieval maps show Jerusalem at the epicenter of Asia, Europe, and Africa. The world flows into this spot, and all life's forces resonate here. From this place, the whole world is cast into perspective.
Jerusalem, the center, which gives perspective to the rest of the world. Jerusalem where God is seen. Jerusalem the perfected world. Humanity has long understood that he who controls Jerusalem controls the world's memory. He controls the way God is seen. He controls the way life's forces are cast into perspective. He controls the way we collectively see our future.
Once the Temple Mount was the highest point in the city of Jerusalem, but in the year 135, Roman slaves carried away the dirt of the mountain, and turned it into the valley we now look down on from the Old City. The Romans expelled Jews from Jerusalem and barred them from reentering on pain of death. Jewish life, they proclaimed, has now ended.
The Crusaders rewrote Jerusalem's importance, the center no longer of Jewish national drama, but the site of the passion and death of Jesus. Like the Romans they expelled Jews, and destroyed synagogues.
The Muslims came after, and as those before them rewrote the memory of Jerusalem, expelling Jews and Christian. They systematically built mosques on every Jewish holy site. They airbrushed the past.
In rewriting the history of Jerusalem each of these cultures rewrote our place, the Jewish place, in history. They consigned us, they believed, to the dust bin of history ― a once great people, now abandoned by God; bypassed by time.
In Jerusalem, each culture rewrote the Jewish place in history.
But Jews preserved Jerusalem as a memory. When we built our houses we left a square unplastered, and we broke a glass at weddings in memory of Jerusalem. From all over the world we turned and prayed toward Jerusalem, and because memory was kept alive, the Jewish people lived.
When Jerusalem was liberated, time was conflated. The past became present. What we had longed for became ours. What we had dreamed of became real, and soldiers wept because an adolescent Mediterranean country suddenly recovered a memory lost for 2000 years. The past was instantly present, incredibly, transcendentally, transforming who we knew ourselves to be.
Who are we? We are not despised and impoverished itinerants, surviving on the fickle goodwill of other nations. We are not a nation of farmers recovering swamps, nor of warriors ― though when we need to be we are all these things.
We are a nation of priests and of prophets, a light unto mankind. We taught the world "to beat their swords into plowshares," "to love your neighbor as yourself," equality before justice, and that admiration belongs not to the rich and powerful, but to the good, the wise, and the kind. Hitler said, "The Jews have inflicted two wounds on humanity: Circumcision on the body and conscience on the soul." How right he was and how much more we have to do. How tragic when we fail ourselves.
Already divided by language, by geography, and even by religion, our people is bound only by threads of memory and of hope. These threads are exquisitely fragile. If they sever we will fragment, and the long and bitter exile of our people ― not yet fully ended, is consequence, says the Talmud, of the dissensions which sunder us from one another.
To this threat, Jerusalem provides counterpoint, for Jerusalem embodies our memories and hopes. Jerusalem is a living memory, a vision of God in our lives, an image of a perfected world. Jerusalem gives us the strength to achieve what we as a people must do, to unite ourselves, and to sanctify this world.
This is why Jerusalem matters.

Visitor Comments: 84

(84) Anonymous, February 18, 2014 4:06 PM
It will happen.
Jerusalem is where all mankind will see God, and there will be peace.
(83) Hannah Pham, February 12, 2014 11:32 AM
I'm sure will travel to Jerusalem at least once in my life!!!
(82) Scot Ashton, May 1, 2013 1:50 AM
Divine Energy of the Living G-D
They say, you remember certain moments your entire life through. When I touched The Stones at the Western Wall, I was struck with awe BEYOND human emotion. THIS is the Place where the LORD G-D calls his footstool---and I have tasted HIS Divine Presence there.Indeed, a great portion of the City is Holy. Praying at The Wall is not just an experience--it is Presence of the Divine. God Bless Israel now and FOREVER!
(81) Jennie, April 22, 2013 10:01 AM
I've been twice to Jerusalem and know what the others are talking about. It's the truth that sets people free.
(80) Liv, October 30, 2012 4:37 PM
Once i was in Jerusalem (Birthright program this yr) and i fell in love with it. PEACE for this city! I'll come back as soon as i will be able.
(79) Gillian, June 22, 2012 9:39 PM
Jerusalem in my Heart.
I have recently been to Jerusalem for the second time, but feel more with the City this time. Shalom
(78) Judith, February 13, 2012 11:36 PM
God made a covenant with Abraham. I feel blessed to have been around to see Jews return to their homeland. They are the most peaceful people in the world. They trust God and He will give them peace in their beloved Jerusalem. I stand with & pray for Israel.
(77) etta harper, October 24, 2011 12:36 PM
i have and will always support Jersusalem
(76) Dr Peter Mathews, September 17, 2011 8:06 PM
A brilliant insight into how language, culture and 'geography'
Nuances of meaning are lost in translation: this is why it's so inspiring to read what someone immersed in one of the West's foundational 'world-views' has to say about what it is to be a (literate) human being.
(75) Stewart Jailos, August 12, 2011 5:04 PM
An excellent article
(74) David Dunson, August 3, 2011 5:56 PM
Fully agree
I may say that no one in the American Government will ever destroy this, either. As an engineer, I appreciated Tom Hanks' movie "Apollo 13," and I could borrow a line from the movie.... I believe this will be our finest hour, and that the end that the enemies have declared for us, will not come to pass. I've visited Jerusalem twice and witnessed the light rail line being built past Zion Square, and I sat on the roof of the hostel there, for a long time, on the eve of the American Presidential election. I've never felt more "at home" anywhere. I could qualify my statement and say the best is yet to come, but it will not be until after much struggle. Jerusalem is the center of the world, and is very ancient (I saw Hezekiah's wall) but I believe is still in birth pains. There is one thing Bibi and all those in the Israeli Government should know: THEY CAN'T TAKE WHAT YOU DON'T GIVE THEM. There is already a state for them... those who don't want to live under Israeli sovereignty should move to Jordan. Many good people have suffered terribly since the Palestinian Authority took over Bethlehem. Nothing good came of it. I talked to a Christian Arab who still lived there, and he told me some things about it. Just tell us Americans NO and continue building Israel. I shall return! :)
(73) Pamela, July 12, 2011 3:44 PM
Very soon the Mashiach ( Messiah ) will come please G-D and He will show the Christians and Muslims , that Erez Yisroel ( the Land of Israel ) was given by G-D to the Jewish people with Jerusalem as the Jewish Capital . The Arabs were given by G-D Saudi Arabia.
(72) Auryt, May 30, 2011 8:21 AM
you put it all together so succinctly thank you
Thank you Rabbi for a most amazing analysis. I hope you do not mind if I use this as a lesson in my school
(71) Shirley, August 9, 2010 9:34 AM
I'm in tears!
Sheer poetry! I'm happy to say that I was moved to tears of inspiration, happiness, and hope! Please continue with your great teaching!
(70) Lea, August 9, 2010 9:33 AM
Beautiful Article
Thank you for this beautiful article. I was blessed to be able to live in Jerusalem for two years, and it changed me forever. I agree with the person who spoke of the Old City. My first visit to the Western Wall brought me to tears - to see G-d's people praying prayers they had prayed for two thousand years in Jerusalem was wonderful and awe inspiring. You can feel the presence of G-d there.
(69) Anonymous, July 5, 2008 7:52 PM
How this article impressed me
This article goes directly into my Jewish soul and my heart.
(68) Anonymous, September 4, 2007 10:22 PM
How to accent the truth of Jerusalem
What if there were banners and signs over all the streets and thoroughfares of Jerusalem, provlaiming 'LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF"in all necessary languages..would that not be daily reminder to all,in Israel and the world, of the reason for the Jewish state?
(67) Douglas Dickson, July 15, 2007 8:57 PM
Jerusalem does matter, well written
Well written, I am inspired.
(66) Anonymous, June 3, 2007 12:35 PM
Words of Truth
Imagine the impact, if above every street and major artery in Jerusalem signs were suspended, to light up at night "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF" in every relevant language,reminding the world of the raison d'etre of Israel and Jerusalem.
(65) shuli, December 27, 2006 11:32 AM
well done,i enjoy reading this,but it made me cry,it is very imotional writing. full of truth.
(64) Santee, December 17, 2006 5:58 PM
Commments on lively parsha`s Joseph`s Dream
I enjoyed the article so much , It touched me and makes me cry when I read that article although I read that verse in the Bible many times , I know that its continued next week and i just can`t wait to read it. Thanks for such article.
(63) maggie.bug.chisasibi, December 12, 2006 10:35 AM
What a wonderful website! thank you for this wonderful knowledge.
(62) E."david", September 5, 2006 2:31 PM
I love learning every day !
A long time ago (in the 50's & 60's) I went to school with a Braverman in Burbank,CA we were forced friends because of the alphebet lineup at the time. I've always wondered why the interest in "Jerusalem" it's such a small place I'm sure there could be much better places found ? Then I read this article ! This makes more sense than any thing I've read in the past.
(61) RaymondBastarache, September 5, 2006 11:55 AM
(60) nell, August 12, 2006 12:00 AM
How True!
I was there and I know now what the Rabbi is talking about. Jerusalem is truly a life changing experience. Thank you!
(59) Anonymous, June 16, 2006 12:00 AM
As a christian I am interested in knowing the scriptures from aJewish perspective.
I believe Jerusalem is where God has established His Throne.Those who are chosen by Him will He gather to see the fulfillment of His purpose and plan.Peace will surely come until such time God will spread His wings like the mother eagle and protect not only Jerusalem but the entire nation of Israel.
(58) Anonymous, June 14, 2006 12:00 AM
If we continue to live in the past, or if we are constantly looking to the future, we will never experience Moschiach. We must only live in the present, abiding by the Torah precepts that we love God above all else, and by extension, that we love all others as we love ourselves. In other words, we must do no harm. To accomplish this, we must lose our ego, both individually and collectively. All conflict derives from the ego, which in turn derives from the Satan, who is with us in this physical world to help us make our correction. Peace will come on all levels (Moschiach) when the ego is no longer paid any heed.
(57) Ligia, May 27, 2006 12:00 AM
Jerusalem- Is real our GOD lives there!
I've never been to Israel,but one day I would like to go. I think one's memory is sooo! important,and when you lose some of your memory; it's always nice to replace it with the good news from God. How funny it always begins & ends in Jerusalem.
(56) Elias Ghosalkar, May 26, 2006 12:00 AM
Rabbi Nachum you are right when u say one feels G-d's presence in Jerusalem. Thanks a lot for such a wonderful article. All i can say is that we can feel G-d's presence in every grain of sand in Jerusalem and we Jews have to make sure we never ever lose our Jerusalem again.

Lets pray we accomplish the task (of being the Light unto other Nations)G-D has given us and never turn our back on HIM or HIS word (Torah).

May He Bless us all and also the Land of Israel. May we see the re-buidling of the Beit HaMikdash and see our beloved Jerusalem return to its glorious past.
Barukh Hashem

Eli (Mumbai - India)
(55) Aviel Suaul, May 26, 2006 12:00 AM
yehei ratson melfanecha, May it be Hashems will, we all return to Yerushaliem.
(54) Anonymous, May 26, 2006 12:00 AM
Remembering Jerusalem
To me it is incredible that anyone imagine GOD lives in Jerusalem. What did the people who lived there before the Israaelites believe? Do you know or care? Would you have respect for their religion? Do you think they were entilted to worship differently form the Jews? When I was in that city, I felt the weight of all the people who have loved this place. I fell in love with it. And for that reason I am not comfortable with various greedy aloof MEN assume it is their right to speak for me.
No, Jerusalem should Never be surrendered to foreign powers. Good dependable friends are few and need o be watched wih utmost care.
(53) Anonymous, May 24, 2006 12:00 AM
I continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem .
I have been to Jerusalem twice & intend to come again as often as I can.I have never found another place on earth like Jerusalem.
(52) Rifki Ross, May 23, 2006 12:00 AM
My state of being when there found expression in the eloquence of your words.
"Elsewhere G-d is theory, but in Jerusalem G-d is seen and felt as a tangible presence." This expresses the "intentioned" nature of my time spent there. Every step, every act, whether intrinsically sacred or mundane, becomes elevated in Jerusalem. One breathes G-d into one's self when there.
(51) david, May 23, 2006 12:00 AM
the world will be sanctified by Jerusalem.....
(50) y. lichtman, May 23, 2006 12:00 AM
beautiful piece.
after the miracle of '67 we moved from memory to the prospect of the actualization of our dreams.our history achieved relevance and immediacy.and, yes, our unity was enhanced- the prerequisite for the realization of our destiny.
(49) Tova Saul, May 22, 2006 12:00 AM
Thank you. Gorgeous.
(48) Rev.Manasseh Ole Mankuleiyo, May 22, 2006 12:00 AM
Jerusalme after 3000 years
This article is an eye opener, it tells the history and story of Yira..Shalem accurately
It articulates my spiritual roots and who I truly am as a follower/servant and believer of the G-d of Abraham , Ysaak and Yakob
Toda, Rabbi Nahum Braveman for such insight, Tjis maasai from Kenya is glad to forward it to may
(47) Sarah, May 22, 2006 12:00 AM
Jews Yearn for Jerusalem
As a small child I recall that in my parents' home we had only one tiny picture hung up on the wall. It was a picture of the wailing wall in Jerusalem. I was told it was brought over from Europe after WW11. Although my parents had not one picture of their parents, having escaped to Siberia from Poland with nothing, that small picture told it all.
We treasure this holy city and always have. We mention it repeatedly in our prayers and face it when we pray. We are even admonished about the consequences if we forget it ( as Rabbi Braverman quotes, "Let my right hand lose its strength, let my tongue cling to its palate.")
How can anyone challenge these facts?
My Mom A"H feared flying, perhaps due to a heart condition, and never did so. But it was her will to be buried in Jerusalem. And Mom, A"H" is resting there now.
Maybe Yira can be defined as fear (of G-d), something which we need to have, in order to live in Shalem, peace.
(46) Margy Stoner, May 22, 2006 12:00 AM
rooted in the land
As president of the Jewish Student Union at my Jesuit-Catholic High School, I along with my Co-President, decided it would be nice to put up posters around the school that objectivly educate the students at our school about Israel. However, this came with much controversy as our assistant principal ordered they be removed and my moderator questioned as to whether Israel is an integral part to Jewish heritage and religion. One thing that is very difficult for those outside of Judaism to understand is our connection to the land. The Jews have never had huge waves of conversion, have never forced their religion on others, and have ALWAYS maintained their connection with the land of Israel. We are a small people with history of exile after exile--first in our homeland, and then all over the world. We have layed down our roots only to have our limbs chopped from the trees of our labor after years of growth. Isreal, Jerusalem--these are things we will always have. Even though many Jews have never seen Israel and never will, we all pray together--"Next year in Jerusalem" Because we know that even if we do not have the land, we HAVE the land. It is in our blood and has held us together.
(45) Yedidyah Schiermeyer, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
ERROR: King David didn't say it.
The jews were exiled from Eretz Yisroel LONG after King David died. He didn't write the tehillim about sitting byt the waters of Babylon. The sons of Korach did.
(44) Anonymous, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
jerusalem is a beautiful place
jerusalem is a beautiful place. il has many historical sites as well.althogh i've never been to israel, i know it matters and i will support it
(43) Anonymous, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
Nicely done!
Jerusalem has always been a central rallying pont of Judaism. I do believe though that David siad what he did long before the exile was upon us and that the name 'Jerusalem' (Yerushalaim) can also be interpreted and they will see the whole or complete/peace.
(42) Anonymous, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
Thank you for this beautiful strong expression of the meaning of Jerusalem.
(41) bill quillen, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
Great article
Visited Jerusalem in 1983.An impressive place and the history makes it all the more interesting.
Indeed, the future of the world rests on that city.
(40) alex laughlin, May 21, 2006 12:00 AM
wonderful to read
What has been written should be published in every news paper published in every english country of the world
(39) Keith Skillicorn, October 27, 2005 12:00 AM
With Jerusalem now so much in the news and with the President of Iran openly calling for the destruction of Israel as per the will of the "god" Allah, my interests have been stimulated. I empathise with the People of Israel. Hang in there !

Keith Skillicorn
(38) Anonymous, August 22, 2005 12:00 AM
My love for Israel is so big. God said,"Jerusalem is His home".
I would like to visit Israel again, but
have lost my right leg, even though I walk on my new one it would be hard.
I pray for the peace of Jerusalem daily.
(37) Alex, June 22, 2004 12:00 AM
It is a wonderful piece. I thought though that its name comes from Yirush - inherited and Shalaim - complete, meaning that this is the place without which our spiritual heritage is incomplete.
(36) Lillian Wein, May 22, 2004 12:00 AM
I needed to know this history of Jeruselem now.
Thank you for enlightening about Jeruselem. I am ready to learn everything.
(35) Volvi, May 18, 2004 12:00 AM
My understanding on the meaning of the name of Jerusalem is Yira-Faith, Shalem-fulfilled. Meaning that Yerushalayim is the place where ones ultimate faith in God is fulfilled. Makes more sense to me than city of peace, being historically the most fought after city in the world where hundreds of thousand perished in.
(34) Yosef, May 17, 2004 12:00 AM
slight correction
This is a beautiful article. The quote from Tehillim towards the beginning though, wasn't written by King David. It was written by probably one of the Leviim. Dovid haMelech never lived through any exile from Jerusalem- he in fact claimed it as the capitol of the Jewish people to begin with.
(33) Susan Curtis, July 27, 2003 12:00 AM
I really loved this article.
I enjoyed reading this article about Jerusalem. This writer wrote this How I really feel about the past and present. Don't tell my Rabbi, but he is Israeli and this just says it all. thank you
(32) Diana Littrell, June 11, 2003 12:00 AM
Support and Awed by Your Website and People
Everyone should know about your website. I have learned so much and I know that others would change their minds about the Jewish people and the Jewish religion and how peace loving you are. The average person gets their news from liberal news cast and their support goes towards the Palestinians Someday you will be able to live in peace. God Bless You.
(31) Joseph K., May 29, 2003 12:00 AM
Happy yom yerushalayim dear aish!!!
todaravah,kol tuv.
(30) DIDIO ARIEL UREÑA, May 28, 2003 12:00 AM
(29) Marcos A. De Barros, May 28, 2003 12:00 AM
The true wonderful city!
Unlike other cities of the world, Jerusalem does not evoke romanticism, but the presence of our G-d.
(28) Avi, May 28, 2003 12:00 AM
Thank you
Thank you, Rabbi Braverman, and thank you, Aish HaTorah, for the beautiful essay on the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. May we all merit the rededication of the Beit HaMikdash, BiM'hera BeYamenu---Amen! Yom Yerushalayim Same'ach to everyone!
(27) robert john michael, October 4, 2001 12:00 AM
very interesting and educational material. God continues to work out His great programme regarding the end of this age.
(26) Anonymous, June 10, 2001 12:00 AM
How beautiful
Now the words of love for jerusalem are coming unto my e mail format - the heart of the Jewish soul is speaking up
Baruch HaShem to be heard both by the outer and the inner ear

The spirit of our people is gathering its strength and finally saying Jerusalem is one and Jerusalem is ours, Israel is ours and the forces that have been working against this under the deliberately misguided oppression of the 'oslo peace accords'directed against the Jewish people is being answered with truth.

Now we need to reclaim our Torah provided for land, all of it, and its occupation by forces of lies, deception, duplicity, and hate by the contrived 'palestinian' people whose occupation of all Jewish land must end.
(25) Jonathan Levine, January 18, 2001 12:00 AM
could not agree more.
I could not agree more on the importance of jerusalem. What is worse than war, an unjust peace. The Jews of europe who died by Hitler would have loved to have a country to fight for. Some of the peace nicks act like arafat has won a war he lost!! and so has the palestinian. what this is , is pure apeasement , not peace.
(24) M. Fattig, October 27, 2000 12:00 AM
God's will always will prevail
I find it interesting that when ever the conversations and discussions of Israel are debated, God is left out. God wills the Jews to be in Isreal. This fact can't be denied if anyone reads the Holy Bible. It matters not that some don't believe in the Bible because God does and he will never fail the Jews now that they are in their homeland. Your essay speaks the truth in reason and history which needs to be brought to light and I commend you. Jerusalem must remain in Jewish hands.
(23) chin wah yong, October 24, 2000 12:00 AM
If all you say is true but then the fact is, this holy place is the center of conflict instead of place of peace. Sorry if i don't know anything about jewish or islamic but one thing i know if we care too much of the past we will forgot what is the vision of future, and a good future will someday become a good past, doesn't it?
(22) Jeff Leavitt, October 24, 2000 12:00 AM
Thank you for having this essay.
This was a beautiful essay. I am appreciative of Rabbi Braverman and Aish Ha Torah for producing it. I am more inspired now than ever before to visit Jerusalem....Thank You!!!
(21) Seamus Warren, October 24, 2000 12:00 AM
Indisputable Fact?
Dear Rabbi Nachum Braverman,

What you have written here seems so simple and straightforward a child could understand it.

I admit that perhaps I don't know my history well enough and shall study the history of the region in more detail, but I'd always thought Jerusalem lay at the heart of the Jewish homeland.

If what you say is truly indisputable fact. If the Jews were the original settlers and builders of Jerusalem; if they were expelled from their own city and homeland; if Christians and Moslems have built Chapels and Mosques on top of Jewish holy sites then the answer is so simple. The Jewish people and State of Israel should have full rights to do as they please with these sights and Jerusalem.

Again I say, THIS IS SO PAINFULLY SIMPLE if the history of the city and its original occupants is true.

How can others claim ownership in the face of such information.

Perhaps assistance to answer the question of ownership or "landrights" or the ownership of "sacred sites" should be provided by the non-religious international community by simply dealing in historical fact. These people would have little interest in where Isaac was sacrificed or where Mohommad Ascended, or where Jesus' Tomb is, they would just deal in fact.
(20) Miklos Szabo, October 24, 2000 12:00 AM
Jerusalem is yours
Dear friends,

In these days when it seems the war is inevitable, when it may seem the tiny (in number in comparison with the enemies) nation of Israel is living the last days of existence, when it seems the whole world is very sensitive to the so called "jewish violence against the neighboring arab nations" but to totally blind to the reality to what is really going on Erec, we, Hungarian Christians pray to the Lord every day so that He gives you - His nation - more strenght, wisdom, persistence and peace. Oh, if we could help more! We believe the end times are very close and the land and the city will soon forever belong to you, because God said that this land is given to Abraham and his seed. And if God sad something to be so it will be so.

God bless all of you!!
(19) Donald Butler, October 24, 2000 12:00 AM
Long Live Jewish Jerusalem
When I read your essay, I was reminded of a conversation that was said to have occurred around 1916 between Chaim Weizman and Lord Arthur Balfour. Mr. Weizman was a British Jew, and Lord Balfour was the British foreign minister. Lord Balfour, seeking Jewish support for British actions in the Greaat War, offered Uganda, British East Africa, as a Jewish homeland. Mr. Weizman refused to consider it. "Would you accept Paris instead of London?" asked Mr. Weizman. "We already have London," replied Lord Balfour. Mr. Weizman's response summed up 4,000 years of Jewish history. "We held Jerusalem when London was a swamp!"

Let us never forget that Christian and Moslem interest in Jerusalem exists ONLY because of it's Jewish past. While Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in both the Tannach and the New Testament, it is mentioned NOT ONCE in the Qu'ran.

Let us also remember that, during the 19 years of Jordanian rule (1948 - 1967) over Jerusalem, the Jordanians destroyed EVERY JEWISH SYNAGOGUE.(Where was the self-righteous United Nations while this was going on? Sleeping.) NO JEWISH WORSHIP was permitted at the Western Wall. In contrast, Israel allows one and all to visit this great holy site.

Only Israel will administer this great city to allow fair and equal access for all. May they long do so.

Lest my statements appear to be self-serving, let me say that I am a Christian, not Jewish.
(18) alfred bunny, October 20, 2000 12:00 AM
About Paris...
Just to correct you: the name of Paris doesn't come from the Greek Myth, but from the Parisii, the celtic tribe that was living on the place.
(17) Anonymous, October 20, 2000 12:00 AM
Well done!
You have anticipated my thoughts and provided the words better than I. Thank you.
(16) Bev Maes, October 16, 2000 12:00 AM
Thank You
Thank you for your explanation on Why Jerusalem matters so much. I am not Jewish but am very interested in your culture and religion and often look up sites on the internet so self-educate. For the first time I think I understand why Jerusalem is so important - especially now as we watch events unfolding in Jerusalem.
(15) Phyllis Burrowes, October 15, 2000 12:00 AM
I have been greatly enlightened and impressed.
It is difficult to comment on this article. Instead, I prefer to look ahead,as the Jewish prophet Isaiah proclaimed (see Isaiah 60:13-22). In the not too distant future, Jerusalem will indeed be the 'vision of peace' it was destined to be -- "for God is not a man that He should lie". I have been truly moved reading this article by Rabbi Braveman. SHALOM.
(14) Anonymous, October 13, 2000 12:00 AM
Jerusalem our CITY
Rabbi Braverman's article on Jerusalem hits the spot! I am giving it to a young man who is not well versed in our Jewish History. Perhaps this will encourage him to want to know more.
(13) Anonymous, October 13, 2000 12:00 AM
I was just wondering, who lived in Jerusalem before the Jewish people?
(12) Stephanie Kern, October 12, 2000 12:00 AM
many Christians support Israel
There are many who claim the Christian name but who are not truly representing Christianity. As a Christian who supports the state of Israel and your right to be there, I am sorry for the historical precedent set by such "Christians" in the past, and I reject Arafat's declaration that he is champion to the Christians and Muslims alike. There are many, many Christians who believe that the land is God's land, which He entrusted to the people of Israel, and now that you are regathered as prophesied, He will never allow you to be removed again. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, support you in your stand that it is the undivided, eternal capital of Israel, and stand behind your right to the Temple Mount.
(11) Anonymous, October 12, 2000 12:00 AM
I find your article very interesting and have learned very much from it. Many questions answered. Thank you.
(10) Anonymous, October 12, 2000 12:00 AM
What a Powerful article! The land of Israel belongs to the Jewish People. Eretz Yisroel is ours. It does not matter who governs it. Throughout the rule of the Romans, Turks, Moslems and the British it has been OURS. Even if the Palestinians rule over parts of it (Yericho, Shechem etc) it will always be OURS.
And if as a nation we prove ourselves worthy, G-D will send Moshiach and the redemption to show the world: The Jews are my chosen nation and Eretz Yisroel belongs to the Jews,
May it happen quickly and in our days, Amen.
(9) Dann Glenn, October 10, 2000 12:00 AM
The Line in the Sand has been Drawn
Rabbi Braverman's eloquent words can only be understood by those that have respect for the true chronological order of history. As a Christian I understand full well that my and other religions were spawned from Judaism.
Any culture or people that would arrogantly rise up against a nation that has offered the olive branch is never going to be negotiated with succesfully, I'm sad to say. Here comes the prophecy. In my opinion the Palestinians are spurned on by hatred rather than any so-called true calling from the Lord. As a composer I have always been tempted to use Jerusalem as a subject, but find it Holy, and beyond art. It is next to impossible to grasp this Holiness while flinging rocks at an enemy brought on by one's self. So sad.My prayers are for resolution.
Dann Glenn
(8) Jesse Lui, October 10, 2000 12:00 AM
To Jerusalem: love from Hong Kong
I'm a Chinese Christian living in Hong Kong. I love the Jewish people because of my faith. I was in Jerusalem in 1995 and standing on the Mt. of Olives, I heard God speak to my heart:"My mighty arm is indeed all over the world, but my heart will forever stay in Jerusalem". Israel, I'm praying for you at this hour.
(7) Zenith Merrill, October 9, 2000 12:00 AM
Am Israel Chai!
I am heartbroken that the Palestinians, who have been offered so much by the Israeli government, would be so blinded by hatred, and misled by their leaders, as to destroy Joseph's ancient (3500 year old) tomb...
The Almighty has promised in the Tanakh that when Israel is returned to their land, their eternal possession, they will never be taken from the land again.
We may all take Him at His word.
L'Shana Tova
(6) Jane H. Miller, October 8, 2000 12:00 AM
Why does Jerusalem matter
A most inspiring article, as all commentary is at Aish.com
(5) Teresa Irvine, October 7, 2000 12:00 AM
Please, no more war!
As a protestant, I have very strong feelings about Jerusalem. I want the beauty and the memories of this holy place to be untouched, unharmed. My heart is broken by the spilled blood of the people. Thank you for this site.
(4) kimi, October 5, 2000 12:00 AM
Thank you for your thought provoking article.
What a lovely and thought provoking article. May G-d continue to bless the work of your hands and may your words touch the hearts of many.
(3) Tom Price, October 5, 2000 12:00 AM
Lovely Article,Wise Words.
Jerusalem is a holy city.It is magical,spiritual and truly wonderful.The article reflects the importance of this place to God and all of mankind.The entire world should join together to ensure the safety and security of Jerusalem.Israel belongs to the Jewish people and the Jewish people will always share Israel with pride to the rest of the world to the benefit of all humanity.
(2) Dave Clapham, October 4, 2000 12:00 AM
this is very good!!!
most excellent!
(1) Anonymous, October 4, 2000 12:00 AM
I'm not Jewish but I'm so touched by your article. I believed that Israel truly belongs to the Jewish people and for peace to come about the Palestinians have to accept this fact before any other consideration.

I come home everynight and checked the news about what is happening there. I wished I can do something for the Jewish in Israel.

Certainly my prayers are for them daily and the peace of Jerusalem. I pledge my support in whatever way I can.

Published: November 2, 2008

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