Tuesday, October 27th 2020   |

Say Little, Do Much: Jerusalem


The Rabbis (Sanhedrin 37A) describe Jerusalem as tiburo shel olam — “the navel, the belly-button of the world!” Let’s contemplate this curious metaphor. The ancients not implausibly considered the Land of Israel (Jerusalem at its heart) as the center of the known world: the crossroads of Africa, Asia, and Europe.   “Jerusalem as Navel” further bespeaks the Holy City’s role as a link to our foremothers — and forefathers.

Jerusalem has been our source of life and spiritual nourishment throughout our history — as today.  We affirm in prayer the words of prophecy: Ki mi-Tziyon tetzei Torah… “From Zion shall go forth Torah, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” The emotional bonds between the Jewish People and the City of Jerusalem are, indeed, visceral.

Neil Armstrong also sensed the power of Jerusalem as he walked its streets: “I am more excited stepping on these stones than I was walking on the moon.”

Abraham Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd Lincoln, reported that the assassinated president’s final words were of his desire to visit the Holy City.

This year, Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day), celebrating the 1967 liberation of Jerusalem, coincides, appropriately enough, with Mother’s Day, May 13. May we celebrate tiburo shel olam with all the love and devotion that term suggests.  

(Rabbi Joseph H. Prouser is the rabbi of Temple Emanuel of North Jersey and the National Chaplain of the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.)

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