Off the Pulpit: The Sacred City, Jerusalem

By RABBI DAVID WOLPE

Over three thousand years ago Jerusalem was chosen. There are indications it was a place of distinction before, but David’s decision to choose a capital city located between the North and South — as Washington, D.C. is in the U.S. — was decisive.

In the great poet Yehuda Amichai’s imagination, Jerusalem still whispers its original Jebusite name: “Y’vus, Y’vus, Y’vus in the dark.” The silent stones speak of ancient peoples, and even today notes are placed in the wall as if to coax the mute rocks into eloquence.

Through endless songs and photos and explanations people have tried to capture the specialness of a city whose reunification was celebrated this past week. Although writing of his home in Sussex, Kipling may have put it best for lovers of the ancient city of David as well: “God gave all men all earth to love/ But, since our hearts are small/ Ordained for each one spot should prove/ Beloved over all.”

Jerusalem, so often conquered and degraded, is rebuilt and gleams.Once again, as in the time of David, it stands as the undivided capital of Israel, one spot that proves beloved over all.

(Rabbi David Wolpe is the senior rabbi of Sinai Temple of Los Angeles.)

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