This Jerusalem Day, we need unity in more than just our government – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on May 25, 2020

For 2,000 years, our ancestors prayed and yearned for a return to Jerusalem at the most meaningful moments of the year: at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur service and of the Passover Seder.As we celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem on this Jerusalem Day, let us examine some classic sources on the citys deep, spiritual meaning in our faith.Psalm 122 is filled with King Davids strong emotions about Jerusalem. In verse three, he sings that it is a city united together. The Jerusalem Talmud (Chagiga 2:6) explains that this means it is a city that makes all of Israel into friends.While the rest of Israel was divided with each of the 12 tribes receiving its own portions of land, Jerusalem is shared by two tribes: Judah and Benjamin. Judahs mother was Jacobs first wife, Leah, while Benjamin was born to Jacobs second wife, Rachel. There was a strong rivalry between the sons of the two mothers, to the point that Leahs sons sold Joseph into slavery. Jerusalem being shared between these two camps demonstrates a reunification and recognition that while we may be different in how we live our lives, we must remain unified.The deeper level of Jerusalems unifying power relates to the three times a year when Jews from every tribe and background were commanded to come to Jerusalem to worship God together. The Malbim, a 19th-century biblical commentator, explains that this triannual gathering reminded the Jewish people that despite their differences they were one nation that shared a God whom they were coming to praise and worship. The Malbim compares that event to different organs and limbs coming together to form a single body. Jerusalem reminds us that when all is said and done, all we have is each other and our joint faith, and we must not let our differences tear us apart.This message can be seen in the word Jerusalem, a combination of two words: yeiraeh, which means appear, and shalem, which means complete (based on Genesis 14:18 and 22:14). When we look at others, we should not focus on their flaws and that with which we disagree, but they should appear to us as complete even if we know they arent perfect. It can also mean that when the Jews come together to worship in Jerusalem they appear complete because of the unity that is generated.THERE IS a traditional story that captures one last dimension of Jerusalem. There were two brothers who lived next door to one another. One was married with many children and the other was single. Both had fields which yielded strong harvests, and both were very wealthy. The single son was troubled by the fact that his brother had so many mouths to feed, and would sneak into his brothers field from time to time to give him extra crops from his own field. The married brother felt bad for his single brother and since his crops were all that he had in his world, he would sneak into his brothers field to give him more crops from his own. They were both perplexed about the extra crops that they would find from time to time. One night the two bumped into each other as they were delivering crops to the other. They suddenly realized what was happening, and cried with tears of joy and love as they hugged one another. At that moment, God decided that this was where his Temple would sit.See to it that the other has completion. That can be another way of translating the two words that form the name Jerusalem. Be kind. Be loving. Be giving. Jerusalem reminds us of the importance of living lives of selflessness and making sure that we take care of the needs of all who live around us.Jerusalem Day this year follows the formation of the unity government between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. After more than 500 days of tearing each other apart, a fourth election would have been catastrophic for Israel. Creating this government was not easy for either of the sides, and each had to make heavy compromises. And for this government to work, they will have to continue making compromises on a near daily basis, as they try to work through their differences on the issues of the day.But, as Jerusalem everlastingly reminds us, we need unity. We need to put aside the harsh rhetoric and find ways to work together. We need to stop harping on that which divides us and make progress regarding that which unites us.We must also get back to the most basic lesson of Jerusalem: caring for the needs of others. Seeing how we as a people, and the ministers as members of this wide-ranging government, can heal the wounds in our society and help the most needy especially in light of the coronavirus crisis when so many need assistance.As we celebrate this Jerusalem Day and give thanks to God for the miracles He performed 53 years ago, we should also be thankful for the miracle that took place in Jerusalem this year, with two political adversaries coming together to try to unite and help a country filled with individuals who are in great need.On this Jerusalem Day, let us offer a public prayer that they be successful in this mission.The writer served as a member of the 19th Knesset.

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This Jerusalem Day, we need unity in more than just our government - The Jerusalem Post

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