Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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Modern Aliyat HaRegel

by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths

It’s been my privilege to visit Jerusalem over a number of Jewish holiday seasons (Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot).  These holidays are called Aliyat HaRegel, which means going up (to rejoice with G-d), by foot, as in the times of the Holy Temple, everyone (who was able) was enjoined to visit Jerusalem for these holy days.

Without the Holy Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (destroyed by the Romans over 1,000 years ago, replaced with a church which was subsequently destroyed by the Muslims and replaced with the current Dome of the Rock mosque) we are not obligated to come to Jerusalem for the holy days.  Yet over the past 15 years I personally have seen a growing explosion of Jewish traffic to Jerusalem, particularly the Old City and the Western Wall, on these days.

To prevent the whole area becoming one huge auto traffic jam, the roads towards the Old City are now closed during the holy days.  Travel is via buses, light rail, or as in older times…by foot.

On entering the Old City (we took the light rail and walked to Jaffa gate, after getting off 1 station too far by Damascus gate – and I chose not to walk through the Arab quarter with my children in tow), we entered the Arab Shuk and hit a human traffic jam.  After 30 minutes barely making it 2 blocks, we turned around and went back through the Armenian quarter to the Jewish quarter.  It was wall to wall people!  When we finally got to the Western Wall plaza, we had another wait just to get through security…

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On entering the Western Wall plaza, it was just people people everywhere.  Baruch Hashem, it seems we’re ready to resume aliyat haregel!  Hashem, bring us back the Beis HaMikdash, we’re all here waiting!

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1 comment:

  1. I went today for the blessings of the Cohanim. Just putting ones feet onto these Holy stones sends a rush of an overwhelming "welcome". I felt such a caressing warmth, and a feeling of reaching a very Holy place after being away for a while. I found it not as full as last year, but better organized. Also the ladies section went all the way back with a long long Mechitza. Amazing how many ladies were there. The Kessim were impressive, with their bright fabric umbrellas. The women were gentle and very tsnius in their white long dresses. Think I'll make this into a blog post! With my pictures.s


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