JERUSALEM IN THE SNOW (PART 7)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

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Jewish roots in Jerusalem and Judea, for the last 3,000 years.

"Im eshkachech Yerushalayim, tishakach yemini, Yidbak leshoni lechiki im lo ezkerechi"- As Psalms 137:5-6 proclaims, "If I forget thee oh Jerusalem, May I lose the use of my right hand, May my tongue cling to my plate, if I do not remember thee."

As says the Talmud in Kidushin 49b, "Ten measures of beauty descended on the world, nine of those were taken by Yerushalayim."

According to Jewish tradition, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish national life for about 3,000 years, since its conquest by King David. It was the capital city of Judea under the descendants of David and after the return from Babylonian exile. In the Jewish religion, Jerusalem is revered with spiritual ties to a glorious past, and the historic depth of connection with the city has made it a natural choice as the seat of the first Israelite Royal Palace, thus the name 'City of David'. The beloved king's son, King Solomon The Wise, inherited the kingdom after his father's death, and unlike David, the great warrior who shed a lot of blood throughout his life, thus was forbidden to erect a holy temple to God. Solomon, a man of peace, was given the mission. Having accumulated great wealth, King Solomon earned the respect and admiration of foreign royalty, as well as the love of his subjects. His name became synonymous with wisdom, statesmanship and compassionate ruling. His reign brought in a period of prosperity, spirituality, great innovations in infrastructure, such as the aqueducts, as well as architectural and intellectual growth.

King Solomon received his subjects for private counsel and helped resolve conflicts using his brilliant mind and psychologically astute human insight. The famous story of two women both claiming to be the mother of an infant prompted the brilliant king to ask a servant to cut the baby in half with a sharp knife and said to the women they'll just simply share him. He knew the true mother would rather lose her child to the other woman than see him die and indeed, one woman cried out "No, let her have him, but don't let harm come to him." The other woman didn't react, making it clear to Solomon who the true mother was. 

He built the magnificent First Temple to the Lord with the most exquisite materials: cedar from Lebanon, Parian marble from a great distance and with it's mystical holy of holies ,the Tabernacle, which served as the seat of the Cohen Gadol (The Grand Priest), who was the only one allowed to enter the hallowed space after a process of purification. Jews came to worship and bring sacrifices to be burnt at the altar. The Pilgrimage to the Golden City became a sacred practice for many, three times a year for key holidays.

Thus, Jerusalem and Har Habayit has become a national religious center since ancient times and remained that after its destruction and desecration by the Romans and other invading occupying forces. 

Jerusalem is revered as the site of the ancient temples built by King Solomon and rebuilt after the Persian exile and greatly renovated by Herod, but destroyed by Trajan about 70 AD. After destroying Jerusalem, Trajan returned to Rome in triumph and constructed a triumphal arch, with the inscription "Judea Capta" and bearing on it the booty he had captured from the Jewish temple. These treasures were in turn looted by barbarians and carried off to North Africa, where they were subsequently lost.





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