Living Torah by Rabbi Ari Enkin

Throughout Scripture, we find two very prominent terms which are used to describe Jerusalem: “Jerusalem” and “Zion”.Rabbi Enkin Ever wondered what each of these words mean, what they represent, and why there are interchanged?

Whenever Scripture uses the word “Zion” it is generally associated with or referring to the Davidic monarchy along with the physical and material aspects of Jerusalem. For example, when King David wanted to transfer the capital of Israel from Hebron to Jerusalem, he had to deal with Jerusalem’s Yevusite residents, who opposed the move. (Big surprise!). Therefore, David was forced to conquer “the fortress of Zion” and then took up residence there. The Book of Samuel (II, 5) describes this as follows: “And David conquered the fortress of Zion, which is the city of David….And David resided in the fortress, and he called it the city of David…” Hence the city of David, the city of the monarchy, is Zion.


After the conquest of Zion, David’s kingdom expanded and grew. Chiram, king of Tyre, sent a complimentary crew of workers and cedar trees in order to build a house for David. “And David knew that G-d had prepared him as a king over Israel, and that he had taken up his reign on behalf of His people Israel.” In other words, when David saw the success of his actions, and that the Gentile kings were sending him gifts and helping him construct his home, he understood that it was all from G-d. Again, we see David’s monarchy growing and expanding from “Zion”

On the other hand, the name “Jerusalem” the expresses everything that is holy and spiritual: the site of the Temple, the seat of the Sanhedrin, the site of the binding of Isaac, and much much more.


The message is clear: we can’t have “Zion” without “Jerusalem” and we can’t have “Jerusalem” without “Zion”. The Jewish state, especially its eternal capital, must be a place where the material and spiritual go hand in hand. We must work to ensure a strong military and security (“Zion”) alongside a city that is spiritual, where God’s word is studied, where there is religious freedom for all (“Jerusalem”).

Based on the teachings of Rabbi Dani Isaac, Dean, Beit Orot Yeshiva on the Mount of Olives.