Parasha Bemidbar


Parasha Bemidbar

This Shabbat we will start reading the parasha of Bemidbar, which talks about the long stay of the Jewish people in the desert and their way to the Land of Israel.  

But this Shabbat I would like to tell you about one of the most significant events in the uprising of the people of Israel in our recent history in the Land of Israel.  

Yesterday we celebrated the day of the liberation of Jerusalem during the Six Day War, 56 years ago. Even years after the unification of the city of Jerusalem, thousands of visitors continue to visit the Western Wall, and it is impossible not to be moved by the sight of meaningful, emotional events being held in front of the Western Wall.  

The oath of allegiance of the IDF soldiers, the Memorial Day ceremony, the Nights of Selihot, Bar Mitzvahs for children from all over the world, and the morning prayer of Shavuot and Hoshana Rabbah that attract tens of thousands of worshipers to the Western Wall.  

The custom of gathering in front of the Western Wall began immediately after the liberation of the place in the Six Day War, and since then thousands of people have continued coming to the Western Wall every day.  

What distinguishes the Western Wall from the rest of the oldest archaeological places in the world? In contrast, in the other ancient places in the world, a person can afford to visit once or twice, but here, Jews never tire of visiting this holy place day and night, weekdays and Saturdays, days of sorrow, sadness and joy.  

What attracts them?  Not the ancient stones! Rather, it is the tremendous holiness that attracts the people of Israel.  The Jewish people know deep in their hearts that this is the cradle where the sanctity of the nation of Israel begins, these are the roots of the earthly sanctity of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel, which binds every Jew whenever he is there, the source of sanctity in the Temple, at the Western Wall.  

In the national anthem written by Naftali Zvi Imber, we find the yearn of the generations for Zion, and declare:  

 ”Our hope is not lost yet; the hope is two thousand years old”.  

We get to look at two thousand generational years, as a long chain of generations, which began here in Jerusalem with our ancestors, and reaches all the way to each and every one of us. Let’s assume our responsibility to continue this legacy by commitment to support our nation and our beloved Israel! 

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Refael Cohen 

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