Soon after lighting candles and welcoming the Shabbat Queen an unusual sound broke the serene air in the hills of Jerusalem. Air raid sirens sounded in the capital city. It was not a test. It was not the system malfunctioning. Hamas was in fact sending rockets towards Jerusalem. We gathered in the safest place we could given the number of kids we had with us in the 90 seconds available (less because it probably took us 30 to realize what was going on). Everyone sat on the floor in the hallway and we played games for a few minutes and then continued with our usual Shabbat activities.
Jerusalem. A city Islam deems to be holy. Though many of the thousands of rockets that have landed in Sederot and in the former Jewish communities in Gaza over the past 12 years bore the words al-Quds, this is the first time missiles landed near the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
What a deeply holy moment to sing zemirot this Friday night in the Jerusalem community of Armon Hanatziv, a neighborhood with the most breathtaking view of the Temple Mount and to sing the words with newfound awareness:
יִבָּנֶה הַמִּקְדָּשׁ. עִיר צִיּון תְּמַלֵּא.
וְשָׁם נָשִׁיר שִׁיר חָדָשׁ. וּבִרְנָנָה נַעֲלֶה.
To be among the people living a thousands year old dream. To live in Jerusalem. To not wish for the fulfillment of the words in the zemer but to be the ones who left the exile and are not merely bearing witness to this miracle of return but to be actively engaged in rebuilding Jerusalem. Why have we merited to live in this generation? I can never know. I am in awe. Every second, every breath with every fiber of my being I am eternally grateful.
Hamas cannot take away our Shabbat. They cannot take away our Jerusalem. So many tried before them before being relegated to the trashbin of history.
This is the month of Kislev. Soon we will celebrate the independence day of the second temple period, Chanukah. for eight days we will kindle the lights of the chanukiah and as we sing hallel in honor of the autonomy we held over Israel in that time we will sing in wholehearted gratitude for the merit of living under Jewish autonomy in the Land of Israel in this time.
Thank you G-d for giving us this opportunity to live your Torah in the most real way. Thank you for opening our eyes and our hearts. Thank you for bringing us home. Please guard over our soldiers as they fight to guard over our Land.
Wishing us all a blessed week.
Just as we are the generation of the ingathering of the exiles may we be the generation that sees the rebuilding of the Temple and coming of Mashiach, speedily in our days.