Beit Midrash

  • Shabbat and Holidays
  • Jerusalem Day
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicatedin the memory of

R. Avraham ben David

Jerusalem Day's Moral

The Six-Day War, which brought the Jewish people face to face with the site of the Holy Temple, caused a great spiritual awakening among Jews. This awakening proved that Zionism had not finished its task.


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Jerusalem Day has become a day of joy more so for the religious Zionist community than for any other sector of Israeli society. On the day of Jerusalem's liberation, it was as if Zionism had added a second story. The first story was Zion, the second, Jerusalem. The Temple Mount, the Wailing Wall, the Old City - all of these symbolize Zionism's spiritual level, a level that rests upon the physical level. The Six-Day War, which gave rise to Jerusalem's liberation and brought the Jewish people face to face with the site of the Holy Temple, caused a great spiritual awakening among Jews. This awakening proved that Zionism had not finished its task; it proved that providing a practical physical solution to the problem of Jewish survival is not enough. The objective of Zionism goes beyond the mere return of the nation to its homeland. It implies the return of the nation to its God, its spiritual way, its Torah, and all that is sacred to her.

By virtue of the Six-Day War, the national religious community received an immense thrust. This new thrust, in turn, became a force that led to Jewish settlement all over the newly liberated territories, settlement with unmistakable religious significance. On the other end of the spectrum, in the secular leftist camp - a camp which saw Zionism as a primarily secular movement whose only goal was to solve the problem of Jewish survival, the task of protecting a scattered and disjointed nation, a hounded and humiliated people - the Six-Day War represented a crisis point in Zionist aspiration. The most serious blow, though, was the Yom Kippur War. At that point in time, it became clear to them that the secular concept of Zionism had not attained its goal. The dream of a Jewish State in Israel that would solve the Jewish problem, bringing, at long last, peace and quiet, was shattered: Here a Jewish State had indeed been established yet the problem had not been solved. It had, in fact, become intensified. The plight of the Jews in Israel was more difficult than that of the Jews in the Diaspora. In the State of Israel Jews faced war, terrorism, and isolation. The dream of being a "free nation in our land" had been shattered.

The excessive feeling of danger that existed on the eve of the Six-Day War, the fear of a terrible armed conflict with hundreds of casualties clouded the eventual military victory. It became apparent that, though we were victorious this time, even in the land of Israel our existence is not guaranteed. This difficult feeling deepened afterwards during the War of Attrition, and reached its peak with the Yom Kippur War. At that point, the crisis of the leftist Zionist idea reached full maturity. Since then, the Israeli left has been searching for a way to escape this mess, to escape the Zionist idea. They wish to nullify the concept of the State of Israel as a State of the Jewish people, a concept that leads to a split between Israel and the other nations of the world and causes endless hatred and enmity. The way to do this is by blurring the national Jewish identity of the state, by blurring the boundaries that separate Israel from the rest of the nations. Jerusalem Day, a day that is filled with a sense of deep Jewish identity, is not a holiday of the secular left. The left does not want a Jewish State any more, for our uniqueness is the source of all of the troubles of the state. Attempts by Jews to escape their own identity did not begin yesterday; this phenomenon has a long history. Still, they have never been successful. It appears that we must again carry out this clarification. We must once again discover that it is impossible to hide our Jewishness, and that trying to hide only causes it to burst forth with even greater strength.

We are aware that all of our difficulties are part of the process of Israel's redemption and we accept them lovingly. We are happy and grateful to the Almighty for the deliverance that these hardships carry with them. Therefore, Jerusalem Day is a day of thanks and praise to God, who returned us to Jerusalem and to the lengths of the Land of Israel, a day of prayer for complete redemption - that it should come speedily in our days, Amen.
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