Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tenth of Tevet

"Master of the world, the people of Israel are your tephillin; when a simple Jew drops his tephillin on the ground, he picks them up and kisses them. When the people of Israel suffer and are thrown in the dust, isn't it proper that you should pick them up and kiss them?" --Rebbe Levi Yitschak of Berditshev, Ukraine, late 1700's

Tomorrow is the fast of the Tenth of Tevet which marks the day that the wicked Babylonians and Romans began the siege of Jerusalem, the beginning of the end for the First and Second Temples. The Sages declare that every generation in which the Temple is not rebuilt is like the generation in which it was destroyed. Due to our many sins, the Temple has not yet been rebuilt, namely because we have failed 'to set Jerusalem above my highest joy' (Tehillim 137:6). Unfortunately, the Israeli government has not learnt this holy lesson and is prepared to sacrifice Jerusalem.

As long as we don't have a Temple, we are in exile. The Jewish people are in exile physically since we are still endangered and besieged by our enemies, and the world as a whole is in the spiritual exile of agnosticism, heresy, doubt and meaninglessness. When the Temple will be rebuilt, G-d's presence will be manifest on Earth and we will all bask in His glory.

"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. Upon the willows in the midst thereof we hanged up our harps. For there they that led us captive asked of us words of song, and our tormentors asked of us mirth: 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.' How shall we sing the Lord'S song in a foreign land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I remember thee not; if I set not Jerusalem above my chiefest joy. Remember, O the Lord, against the children of Edom the day of Jerusalem; who said: 'Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.' O daughter of Babylon, that art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that repayeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the rock."

May we merit the rebuilding of Jerusalem, of the Holy Temple, and may Hashem comfort Zion speedily in our days. Hashem, pick up Your holy tefillin and bring us home. Amen, ken yehi ratzon!

PS Sign the Jewish Declaration to the World and "raise Jerusalem above your highest joy"

Cross-posted to Goat's Barnyard