In searching for a definition-link in my last post, I came across this site: Farbrengen.com. I've seen their material in their occasional holiday paper publication in the past, and it's a nice site to visit. Their home page has some great thoughts pertinent to this blog's focus:
Throughout the year, children, families and tourists have been brutally murdered. On September 11, the world witnessed one of the most horrific terrorist acts of history. A reason offered by the terrorists and their sympathizers? Jerusalem.
Jewish mysticism teaches that Jerusalem is the barometer of the world. She cannot be at peace if the world is at war, and what occurs within her walls affects all of humanity. All prayers travel through Jerusalem to the Heavens; simultaneously, G-d showers blessings upon Jerusalem, and from there they radiate into the world.
She is remembered every day in each of our (Jewish) prayers, at (Jewish) weddings, (Jewish) funerals and at every Jewish occasion. Synagogues all over the world face her direction. Though our ancestors were exiled from Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago, she has never left us. Is it not significant that the entire world is so concerned with what Jews have focused on for thousands of years?
The Midrash tells a story of two brothers who lived on separate sides of a mountain. One was blessed with a wife and children, but was poor; the other was blessed with wealth, but had no family.
They became partners in a farm and split its produce evenly. Since they loved each other dearly, each felt the other’s plight. The wealthy brother thought, “My brother has a large family. He needs this more than I,” and he would secretly move some of his produce to his brother’s section in the middle of the night. The brother with the family thought, “My brother is all alone, with no one to take care of him. He needs this more than I,” and he would secretly move some of his produce to his brother’s section.
Each was amazed that, no matter how much he gave away, his produce did not diminish. Knowing that G-d works in mysterious ways, they didn’t question too much. Then late one night, they ran into each other at the top of the mountain. Both were carrying some produce. They fell into each other’s arms and cried.
Their actions, so pure and selfless, affected the very mountain upon which they stood. G-d vowed that His presence would never leave this place. This farm later became a village, then a city, and eventually the capital of the Jewish nation under King David. Her name: Jerusalem.
These acts of kindness which gave birth to Jerusalem sustain her to this day. Unlike any other city, she represents a state of consciousness to which we can all aspire. In fact, the Torah tells of the day when Jerusalem will extend throughout the globe.
The Zohar teaches that the world is now on the threshold of this consciousness, and that the forces of darkness and despair will stop at nothing to prevent her dawn. Particularly at this critical time, our every thought, word and deed can illuminate the world. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches, “All it takes is one good deed to change the world for good.”
Their mysticism article is quite nice as well.