Beit Midrash

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What Upset the Kadis in Cyprus?


Rabbi Yosef Tzvi Rimon

Several years ago I was invited to participate in a gathering of religious leaders in Cyprus– Rabbis, priests and kadis – all from Israel. The purpose of this gathering was to try and mitigate the existing tensions in Israel by discussing subjects that were common to all participants. I accepted the invitation, hoping to contribute to serenity in our land.

I was asked to lecture on the subject of Jerusalem. I wished to avoid complications. Since I dislike conflict and confrontations, and abhor provocations, I decided to speak only about Jerusalem in the past, and not address the present and future.

I began the lecture with a presentation, explaining about Har HaMoriah, the Binding of Isaac, and where the Temple stood. Suddenly – pandemonium! Shouting! Kadis on the rampage! I couldn't understand what the uproar was all about; after all - I hadn't said a thing yet… One of the kadis rose and said: "The Temple never stood on the so-called 'Temple Mount'!"

I told him: "The presence of the Temple on the Temple Mount is simply indisputable – both historically and archaeologically. There are even ancient Moslem sources which state this clearly." But he would not budge and continued to yell: "The Temple was never there!"

Realizing I could not convince him, I asked: "Why are you so angry? Why do you care where the Temple stood?" His answer was: "If the Temple was where you say it was, it means that you were there before us, and if so – we would have to relinquish and turn the place over to you!"

* * *

"Yerushalayim must be sought after". The Mishna (Tractate Rosh Hashana p.30a) requires that we actively "perpetuate the memory of the Mikdash". This is the reason for R' Yochanan ben Zakai's decree to shake the Four Species everywhere (and not only in theMikdash) during Sukkot. The Talmud asks what the Scriptual source for this practice is, and bases it on a pasuk from the book of Yirmiyahu:

"Where do we learn that one must 'make a remembrance for the Mikdash'? It is written 'For I will restore health unto thee and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the Lord, because they have called thee an outcast: She is Zion, there is none that seeketh her out' – thus implying that Zion must be sought after."

Why do we need a pasuk to teach us to remember the Mikdash in practice? Is it not self-evident?

It seems that not only does the pasuk enable us to remember the Mikdash in practice – it also defines what constitutes a remembrance. The simple understanding is that this causes us to remember the past. However, the serious problem with memory is that we usually remember things of the past – that can never be again. The most obvious of them is a person who passed away (of course we await tchiyat hametim, the resurrection of the dead, but at the present time this is a memory of the past).

The pasuk in Yirmiyahu makes it very clear that we must remember Yerushalayim and theMikdash not only as something in our past – but rather looking towards the future – as something that must be sought after! Our memory causes us to seek Yerushalayimpersistently, to be constantly aware that she is ours – and that eventually she will return to us in her entirety! This is not only a nostalgic memory of our past – it is a yearning for the future, a quest – "Speedily shall the Mikdash be built"!

Yerushalayim must be sought after! If we understand this – then, please G-d and with the aid of many heartfelt prayers, we will merit seeing the swift re-building of Yerushalayim:

"And to Yerushalayim, your city, may you return with compassion, and may You dwell within it, as You have spoken. May You rebuild it soon, in our time, as an everlasting structure!"
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