Living Torah by Rabbi Ari Enkin
United With Israel Friends, shalom!
In honor of “Yom Yerushalayim”, (“Jerusalem Day”) the day upon which we celebrate the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem in June 1967, I will be posting a series of articles this week that highlight the beauty, importance, and centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish and Israeli life.
When the State of Israel was established in May 1948 and proclaimed its independence, the neighboring Arab armies all attacked the fledgling Jewish state. The Jordanians managed to capture the Old City of Jerusalem and at the same time either expelled its Jewish inhabitants or took them as prisoners to Jordan. It was what became known as the “Six Day War” in which Israel liberated Jerusalem from the Jordanian occupiers.
As everyone knows, Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish life since Abraham was instructed to bind Isaac on the altar when God desired to test Abraham’s allegiance. In fact, according to many Jewish commentaries, the creation of the world began from the site of Jerusalem. Jews for centuries continue to mention Jerusalem in all prayers every single day, as including longing reference to Jerusalem at religious ceremonies, including weddings and the Passover Seder.
Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish nation since David made it his capital in 1000 BCE and no other nation ever designated Jerusalem as its capital. Ancient Arab empires always ruled from Damascus and the Ottoman authorities administered from Constantinople. The Jordanians kept Amman as their capital when they controlled Jerusalem from 1948-1967. In fact, during this entire time the Jordanians included Jerusalem in all of *one* official ceremonial visit. Jews throughout the world have always faced Jerusalem whenever they pray, while Muslims turn their back on it.
…much more to come
Rabbi Ari Enkin