Happy Jerusalem Day! Hello to our friends, I invite you to celebrate Jerusalem Day with us, the day in which we thank God for His great grace, for fulfilling the words of the prophets in our time. I personally thank God that I was privileged to live in this time of the rebirth of Israel, and that I was fortunate enough to be born, and continue to live, here in Jerusalem.
We thank God for the privilege to see the words of the prophets fulfilled in our time, and right before our eyes.
Jerusalem Day is a national holiday, celebrated on the 43rd day of the Omer. On Jerusalem Day, festive ceremonies are held to commemorate the eternal capital of the people of Israel – the holy place we aspired to see and touch, but could not, during 2000 years of exile, suffering, wandering, and persecution.
In 1998, the Government of Israel officially established Jerusalem Day as a law in the State of Israel. The explanation given is:
“With the 30th anniversary of the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, it is time to officially recognize this as a national holiday. The essence of Jerusalem, the highest level of hopes and aspirations, which we exalt above our chief joy, should be commemorated on a day that symbolizes its centrality in the life of the people of Israel who returned to their land, established their state, and declared Jerusalem their eternal capital.”
We live in a very special period in history, the time that God re-established the State of Israel and brought the people of Israel back home from the four corners of the earth. Possibly the greatest aspiration and expectation of every Jew is the desire to return home to the land of his forefathers, to the land of Israel.
Every Passover, which is the holiday of freedom, and every Yom Kippur, which is the most solemn day in Judaism, we end by saying “next year in Jerusalem.” This saying is to show that every Jew wants to immigrate to Israel, and to go up to Jerusalem.
And if he still has not made it to Jerusalem, he hopes and prays to reach it in the next year.
I will end with a beautiful psalm that demonstrates the love of the people of Israel towards the city of God, Jerusalem:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built like a city that is closely complected together. That is where the tribes go up – the tribes of the Lord – to praise the name of the Lord according to the statement given to Israel. There stand the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.’ For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’ For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.” – Psalm 122 [NIV]
Psalm 122 is one of the most exciting psalms. The ancient words spoken by the pilgrims 2000-3000 years ago have become relevant again in our time.
Let’s think about it. For hundreds of years, Jerusalem was occupied by many conquerors. The Jews were expelled from it, and returned to it, and again they were expelled and returned, again and again.
Think about it how few generations can say: “Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.”
This psalm claims that anyone who wants to know how to deal with Israel should look at Jerusalem. We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem. And the matter of peace in this psalm is twofold, both as an honest interest and as a wish and a demand:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
When we walk through the streets of Jerusalem we see history revived, we live here and are fulfilling the great dream of all the prophets, we stand here and fulfill the return of Zion!
“Next year in Jerusalem.”