Yom Yerushalayim

By Samantha Hulkower

Jerusalem Day, known as Yom Yerushalayim in Hebrew, is the anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chief Rabbi of Efrat, says that Jerusalem is as important to the State of Israel as Shabbat is to the Jewish people. What is it about Jerusalem that makes it so contentious, yet so celebrated by Jews all over the world? 

There is a song "Jerusalem of gold" (Hebrew: ירושלים של זהב‎, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav) is an extremely popular Israeli song written by Naomi Shemer in 1967.  The original song described the Jewish people's 2,000-year longing to return to Jerusalem; Shemer added a final verse after the Six-Day War to celebrate Jerusalem's re-unification, after 19 years of Jordanian control.

A friend of mine recently broke two of the fingers on her right hand in a kick ball league accident (file under first world problems). While she could still function, it was very uncomfortable - not in a painful way necessarily, but awkward. She had to peck out emails instead of her usual speedy typing, cutting food took forever, and she gave up trying to blow out her hair. She told me that such a small injury was made all the more frustrating because it was having such a huge impact on her life.

That's what it means for Jews when the Psalmist says, "If I forget Jerusalem, let my right hand forget what it's supposed to do."  Sure, the Jewish people survived, from 1948, until Jerusalem was reunified in 1967, but it was not their natural way. There was something missing. Others might not see the necessity of a united Jerusalem being the capital, but for the rest of us, the distinction is obvious: since Israel won the city back after being attacked, Jerusalem, and the rest of the nation, has flourished. 

No comments:

Yashar LaChayal

The majesty of the Western Wall

Nefesh B'Nefesh