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Why Do Jews Love Jerusalem?

The Jews' love of Jerusalem as Judaism's permanent capital stems from the Torah itself. The Holy City is referenced hundreds of times throughout Tanach (the Five Books of Moses, Prophets and Writings, also known as the Written Torah). The Talmud elaborates in great depth our bond with that city. On the other hand, it is never mentioned in the Koran, no matter what is claimed by the Muslim world.

Concerning our fixation on Israel in general and Jerusalem specifically, one may ask, "Why do we focus so much attention on one place? Is G-d's Presence not found everywhere?"

The question may be broadened regarding time as well. We can ask, "Why are certain days considered holy? Can G-d's presence not be experienced at any time?"

The answer is it is true that G-d's Presence can be experienced everywhere at any time. That is because G-d is unlimited and indeed created both time and space, and so He is superior to both. Nonetheless, the Torah (a creation of G-d that also supersedes time and space) decrees that there are special times and special places.

As the Torah represents G-d's immutable will, we see that the holiness of Jerusalem does not waiver nor diminish. It has always been and will always be the holiest place in the world.

In fact, we find that the holiness of Jerusalem surpasses that of Mt. Sinai. That is because the holiness revealed on Sinai came through G-d's arousal and revelation to the people. The people themselves did not cause the giving of the Torah to occur. On the other hand, the holiness of Jerusalem came specifically as a result of the efforts of humankind. It was human hands that built the Holy Temples and consecrated the ground of Jerusalem. This adds to the permanent holiness.

King David, great prophet that he was, purchased the land for the Holy Temple from the local inhabitants, knowing full well the holiness of the site. It was, after all, on that site that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice. It was on that same site that Jacob laid down his head and had his prophetic dream of angels on the ladder. The site of the Temple is a veritable gate to Heaven found here on Earth.

The Jewish heart stirs upon approach to the last remnant of the Holy Temple that we have. The Wailing Wall, also known as the Western Wall, was built as a retaining wall during Herod¹s renovations of the Temple Mount above it. 

Oh, the stories the stones could tell! All of the heartache and suffering of Jewish history is contained in those massive stones. Millions of tears have been shed and millions of prayers have been uttered in that holy place. The lower stones have been polished by the hands leaning on and caressing them, as countless Jews have touched their hallowed surface, attempts to touch the "Face and Heart of G-d," as it were.

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By Yeruchem Eilfort   More articles...  |   RSS Listing of Newest Articles by this Author

Rabbi Yeruchem Eilfort is director of Chabad at La Costa, California, and welcomes readers' comments and questions.

The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or Chabad.org, and is produced by Chabad.org. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.

4 Comments Posted
Reader Comments
Posted: Aug 7, 2005
The Kotel
Someday I hope to pray there and touch the stones myself.
Posted By Kevin Smith (Gilad Benyamin), Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

Posted: Aug 7, 2005
Nice article. Timely; if only we all felt the same about the rest of the Holy Land.
Posted By M. Cohen, Carlsbad, ca

Posted: Aug 12, 2005
This article stirs my heart and reminds me that the Almighty will gather us from the 4 corners of the world. See you there!!
Posted By Gideon, Beltsville , MD

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