"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jerusalem or Cesarea

FNQ – thought for the week

Yom Yerushalayim passed before I found the time to share a thought about the holy city but better late than never so here goes.

We live in confusing times. The Talmud says (Megilah 6a) that if someone tells you that Jerusalem and Cesarea are destroyed or that both are built up don't believe him. Only if he tells you that one is destroyed and one is built up can you believe him. Jerusalem and Casarea here are not merely referring to the cities themselves but rather to the cultures and values which these two cities represent. Jerusalem represents Jewish values and the service of G-d whereas Cesarea is symbolic of Roman and by extension all of Western culture. The gemara is saying that there is no room for both of these world views only one can be on top and the other by definition must lay in ruin. 

So now comes the question. Today, 5770, is Cesarea built or is Jerusalem built. Throughout most of history, and certainly the 2000 years prior to the establishment of the State of Israel, the answer was obvious. Cesarea and the west dominated the world while Jerusalem and the Jew remained desolate and homeless. It would appear that the answer one would like to give is that both are built. America (Rome's heir) is economically robust, provides freedom unmatched by any society in history and has a military reach that spans the globe. Jerusalem is also a bustling metropolis with a vibrant Jewish life and a Torah presence unequaled since the days of King Solomon. But to give this answer would be to claim that the postulate of the Rabbis is mistaken which is unacceptable.

I don't know the answer to this question it is beyond me as I find no resolution satisfactory. I am left with a contradiction. Jerusalem though not complete and lacking its heart and soul, the Beit Hamikdash, does not lay in ruin. And yet the west still rules and its influence and culture are the dominant forces in the world today.

All this not withstanding Yom Yerushalayim is a day to rejoice and give thanks for the incredible gift we were given 43 years ago. To walk the streets of Yerushalayim and wail at the wall that wails back is a fulfillment of the hopes and dreams of Jews over the past 2000 years. Many things in life are complex but let us not allow the complexity of our times to stand in the way of recognizing the clear gift and opportunity we have been given in the establishment of the State of Israel and building of the modern Jerusalem.

One final note. With regards to the lite rail, my money is on the Moshiach.

What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question

No comments:

Post a Comment