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Yom Yerushalayim: First Kingdom, Then Temple

Let us discuss, once again, the connection between the Torah aspects of Jewish life, and the national aspects thereof – expressed only in an independent Jewish state. This topic can be intriguingly analyzed in terms of the actions of the founders of the first Jewish commonwealth, Kings David and Shlomo, father and son.

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Rabbi Yossef Carmel

Iyar 26 5782

Translated by Hillel Fendel

Let us discuss, once again, the connection between the Torah aspects of Jewish life, and the national aspects thereof – expressed only in an independent Jewish state. This topic can be intriguingly analyzed in terms of the actions of the founders of the first Jewish commonwealth, Kings David and Shlomo, father and son.

After being crowned as King over all 12 tribes in the city of Hevron, David took the following measures to unite the nation:

A. He sought a capital city that would symbolize this national unity, and therefore conquered Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). Among this city's advantages in this context were these:

1. No Jews had lived there for several centuries, since the days of Yehoshua bin Nun; the tribe of Yehuda captured it shortly after his death, but did not settle there.

2. The city actually connects between the sons of Leah and those of Rachel, because the border between the tribes of Judah and Binyamin passes right through it (Yehoshua 15,7-8).

3. There is a Rabbinic opinion to the effect that Jerusalem was not divided among the Tribes, meaning that it belongs to the entire nation.

B. David then forged diplomatic ties with neighboring countries, guaranteeing a supply of raw materials and engineering skills that would enable him to carry out national construction projects. As is written: "Hiram, the king of Tyre, sent emissaries to David [diplomatic ties] and cedar trees [raw materials] and carpenters and masons [engineering knowledge] (Shmuel II 5,11)."

C. David then brings up the Holy Ark to the City of David, i.e., Jerusalem, as a first step towards the construction of the Holy Temple there. He thus turns the city into the nation's spiritual-Torah capital.

We learn from David's actions that the order is as follows: First independence and politics, and only afterwards – the Holy Temple.

With Shlomo, too, we see the same order: The first two chapters of the Book of Kings deal with the question of who will succeed David as the monarch; the next three chapters discuss the political, economic and international standing and building-up of Shlomo's kingdom; and only then, in chapters 6-8, do we begin learning about the Holy Temple and its construction. First kingdom, then Temple.

Let us add that after the Temple chapters, the Prophet/author once again reverts to the diplomatic aspects of King Shlomo's kingdom. By doing so, he "wraps" the issues of the spirit with national politics, such that there can be no separation between the two.

This is also the same order of events as during S'firat HaOmer. How so? Pesach, when we begin the count, commemorates our transition from enslavement to freedom, both physically and politically. But only afterwards do we reach Shavuot, the festival that marks our attainment of spiritual freedom. Receiving the Torah enables us to introduce spiritual content to our national framework.

In our own times as well, we were gifted with political independence on the fifth day of Iyar, 1948 – and then, just 19 years later, we merited the liberation and unification of Jerusalem and the return of the Holy Temple site to our hands, on the 28th day of the same month.

Let us pray that we will merit very soon that the political entity that has been granted us will become increasingly Jewish in its very essence, enabling us to develop it such that its very epicenter will be its Torah values.

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