This Wednesday, the 28th of Iyaar, the entire Jewish World will celebrate Jerusalem Day, the day when, in 1967, Jerusalem was liberated by the IDF from the Jordanians and for the first time in over 2000 years, the Temple Mount was in Jewish hands. Jews have never forgotten Jerusalem. Thousands of years ago, when our ancestors were first exiled out of the Holy Land by the Babylonians, they cried poignantly: "If I forget thee O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning. May my tongue stick to its palette if I do not remember thee, if I don't exalt Jerusalem during my greatest celebrations." On the 28th of Iyaar, 1967, the Chief Rabbi of the Israel Defence Forces, R. Shlomo Goren, carried a Sefer Torah to the Kotel, blew shofar and recited Psalms. Yitzhak Rabin, Chief of Staff, described the scene: “We stood among a tangle of battle-weary men who were unable to believe their eyes or restrain their emotions. Their eyes were moist with tears, their speech incoherent. The overwhelming desire was to cling to the Wall, to hold on to that great moment as long as possible.” The overwhelming announcement came "The Temple Mount is in Our Hands".
The Jewish People have always prayed facing Jerusalem. Every Passover seder has concluded with the words "Next Year in Jerusalem!". During every Jewish wedding, a glass is smashed in memory of the destruction of the Temple.
It is said that once Napoleon was passing a synagogue and heard sounds of lamentation. "Why are the Jews crying., he asked. "They are mourning the loss of Jerusalem," one of his officers replied. "How long ago was that?." he asked. "More than seventeen centuries ago," the officer replied. "A people that can mourn the loss of Jerusalem for so long, will one day have it restored to them," Napoleon said. And so it was, we have returned.
Jews have never lost faith that one day, Hashem would return us to our ancestral land and that He would have mercy on us and redeem us. There is a story told in the Talmud of the Rabbis standing on Mount Scopus looking at the desolation and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. One Rabbi burst out into tears as he saw a fox wandering through what was once the Holy of Holies. The rabbis wept. Rabbi Akiva smiled. "How can you smile?" they asked. "The place that was once the most sacred spot on earth is now laid waste and fox is walking across the Holy of Holies where once only the High Priest was allowed to enter, and only on the holiest of days. "I smile," Rabbi Akiva replied, "because the prophets prophesied that Jerusalem would be laid waste, and they prophesied that it would be rebuilt. Now that the one prophesy has been fulfilled, can we doubt that the other will be likewise?"
How can we doubt that the other will be likewise? Let us all raise up our voices and thank Hashem the Merciful for the great miracles that He has wrought for the House of Israel and pray for the time of the Final Redemption when 'nations shall not lift up swords against one another; neither will they learn war anymore'. Amen, Selah!