2 Tishrei 5781 / Sunday, September 20, 2020 | Torah Reading: Rosh Hashana
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Jerusalem Forever

Why are we once more faced with the threat of losing parts of Jerusalem, Heaven forbid? Each Jew has a share in Jerusalem, the heart and focal point of our people…


“Any nation that is foolish enough to attempt severing any part of the Temple Mount and Jerusalem from the Jewish people hasn’t learned the lessons of history.” -Rabbi Lazer Brody
Lately I’ve been going to the kosel HaMaaravi (the western wall) to do hisbodedus (personal prayer).  I got excited about the idea when I heard that the legendary Rabbi Levy Yitzchok Bender (1897-1989)  -  the spiritual guide for thousands of Breslever Chassidim – many of thembaalei teshuvah, used to walk to the Kosel for Hisbodidus every single day that he lived in Jerusalem. Rabbi Bender was known to have not missed one night of reciting Chatzot (the midnight prayer lamenting the Temple’s destruction) and hisbodedus in seventy five years. It is also known, in Breslever circles, that there is no other place where Rebbe Nachman’s spiritual presence can be felt more than the Kosel – with the exception of Uman.
Standing at the most revered site in Judaism – literally the spiritual junction of heaven and earth - I was reminded of G-d’s promise to the Jewish people: “Behold, He (G-d) stands behind our wall… What is special about the Western Wall…G-d swore to the Western Wall that it would never be destroyed” (Midrash Raba, Shir Hashirim).
Also - in his vision of the future third Temple, the prophet, Ezekiel saw that at end of our present exile, upon the re-building of the Temple, that Hashem’s Glory will fill the new Temple and G-d will once again dwell on the Temple mount as he did in the Temple built by King Solomon. (Ezekiel, 43:2-5). Ezekiel prophesized that the next Temple, may it come speedily in our days, will be an eternal edifice and permanent dwelling place forthe G-d of Israel on the temple mount in Jerusalem my friends – you can take that to the bank.
It also states in Genesis Rabba (an early Jewish text), that the site of the Temple mount is one which the nations of the world cannot taunt Israel and say “you have stolen it”, since the site was purchased by King David “for its full price.”
So how should Israel respond to those who are denying our right to the spot that G-d designated for our Holy Temple?
My beloved spiritual guide, Rabbi Lazer Brody, cuts right to heart of the matter: “The entire world and certain evil leaders are denying our right to the area of our own Holy Temple. Once again, we have no cause to be angry at them, for as soon as we make real teshuva, they will crumble. But, until we make teshuva, those evil leaders should be forewarned that by disenfranchising Israel from what they call East Jerusalem, they are in effect trying to disenfranchise The Almighty. Cherished brothers and sisters, that won’t happen, period.”
Unfortunately we need not go back very far in history to see the evidence of our beloved Rabbi’s warning to the nations - when the world witnessed the tragic downfall of Japan a mere ten days after they entered into an agreement to sell nuclear rods to Iran and publicly denied Israel’s right to Jerusalem.
We are all so blessed to be in the prayers of my spiritual guides – Rabbi Shalom Arush and Rabbi Lazer Brody, May Hashem Bless them always. It is rare that Tzadikkim reveal to us the nature of their prayers to G-d on our behalf – but at particularly trying times – like these - for their own reasons, Tzadikkim sometimes do share their most private conversations with G-d openly with us – possibly because, after they receive a strong revelation of G-d’s Will, they want us to join them in praying for what G-d revealed to them.
Rabbi Brody continues: “Ever since the massive pressure began to divide Jerusalem and sever us from Judea and Samaria, I’ve been begging Hashem that not a single Jew should lose his home anywhere in our beloved holy homeland. Hashem helped me understand that Jerusalem is the heart of all the Jewish people. If you cut yourself off from any group – not only Chassidic, Lithuanian, Nationalistic or Sephardic but Conservative and Reform as well, then you cut yourself off from a part of Jerusalem. No wonder Jerusalem is under the threat of being split?  It’s all the result of infighting and hated, no matter how seemingly justified it may be…So if you care about Jerusalem remaining unified, love every Jew. You don’t have to agree with his ideology or lifestyle, but you are commanded to love him like yourself…Think about it, for I know it’s true…more than ever, Jewish unity should be our goal.”
Last night, following Rabbi Brody’s shior (lesson), some of us went to the Kosel together to pray Maariv (the evening prayer) and to do our hour of hisbodedus. As I stood at the junction of heaven and earth, Hashem opened my eyes - and I saw all around me – every kind of Jew that Rabbi Brody spoke about. Then I realized just how close we were - literally just yards away from the spot where the world was created; where Abraham, our father bound Isaac; where Jacob, our father slept and saw a ladder ascending to Heaven; where Rebecca prayed; where the stone tablets that Moses received are buried; where the Holy Ark holding the tablets rested during the first Temple era – tears began to flow and Hashem helped me to do what I came there to do – teshuva.

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