I was giving a business lecture in Jerusalem. Outside the windows of the conference room it was a beautiful day with an incredible view. Jerusalem of Gold was living up to it’s name as the morning orange-tinged sunlight reflected off the sand colored Jerusalem stone buildings.
During the break I grabbed my lunch and just sat by the window. The cool breeze washed over me as I absorbed the view…the new spindle bridge, Ramot in the near distance seen through the cables of the bridge, green and red buses going under the bridge, people walking over it. A number of construction platforms, scaffolding, near it – I wonder what it’s for, I thought the work on the bridge was done. A building foundation to the right where work seems suspended, several active construction sites to the left…Jerusalem is growing.
Is this it? Is this what Jews have yearned for, for over 2,000 years? Is this what returning to Jerusalem is?
I sat with some cousins in the past, together at a sidewalk café in Israel. We enjoyed the sun, the drinks, the Jews going by. And I asked them “what do you think our (common) grandparents would say, seeing us sitting together here, making our lives in Israel.
One answered, “He would be proud. For him, Israel was a hope as it started to become real as our people returned. For his grandparents, Israel was a yearning that a few were trying to make possible, but for most was simply not possible. For their grandparents, Israel was a dream, a promise, and the past. Israel was a prayer, not an option, not a reality. He would be proud that his great-great grandparents prayer, his grandparents dream and promise, and his hope was make real by his grandchildren living here today.”
Jerusalem is a living, breathing, growing city. A place to do business, a place to govern a country, the holy city as a place for religion and belief and connecting with G-d, a place to live. And while today we don’t yet see that direct connection with the Divine Presence in the holy Beis HaMikdash (the holy temple of Jerusalem not yet rebuild), there is no place in the world where connecting to G-d is closer.
We’re Jews, we take G-d with us wherever we go. We don’t live like monks on the mountain, we’re not gurus meditating in the secluded spot for 20 hours a day. A Jew giving a business lecture in the holy city of Jerusalem…yes, this is it.