On the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz, I paused a moment to consider the day. Like many the middle of the day found me at work, sitting in an office in the Holy City of Jerusalem. As I sat in a modern office park in a rebuilt vibrant Jewish Jerusalem, I realized my incredible blessings in being a Jew working in a modern living Jewish Jerusalem, and tweeted about it.
Jerusalem is a central part of Judaism. In our central tefilot (prayers) 3 times a day we face Jerusalem, we pray that it should be fully rebuilt together with the Beis HaMikdash (the Holy Jewish Temple that should be on Har HaBayit, behind the Kotel / Western Wall). Whenever we eat bread we similarly pray that Jerusalem (and the Beis HaMikdash) be fully rebuilt.
When we marry we break a glass to remember the destruction of Jerusalem and G-d’s holy house, the Beis HaMikdash. We literally say that at the time of our greatest joy that if we don’t remember Jerusalem (and the Beis HaMikdash), our right hand should cease to function.
In Judaism we fast 3 times a year due to the fall and destruction of ancient Jerusalem and the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. We end the Passover seder with “Next Year in Jerusalem” – meaning we should merit to hold the Korbon Pesach (the Passover sacrifice) in the Beis HaMikdash and celebrate the seder in the city of Jerusalem.
On Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day, we pray through the avodah, reviewing in detail the Kohein Gadol (the high priest)’s service on Yom Kippur in the Holy Temple.
Jerusalem and G-d’s holy house (the Beis HaMikdash) are a central part of Judaism, our peoplehood and our national narrative.
Jerusalem may not be part of any particular Jew’s dreams or goals. But no Jew can (successfully) dispute that Jerusalem and the Beis HaMikdash – the Holy Temple, G-d’s holy house – are the heart of Judaism and the Jewish people. They are an indisputable central part of the Jewish narrative.
Doubtful? Not in the least.