Sunday, September 04, 2005

Arriving into Jerusalem

Before getting to Jerusalem, I had a long layover in Greece. I got to explore Athens, the capital of a culture described in the Jewish tradition ”as the most physical culture in the world”.


In that culture, people used to worship the human body and everything physical. Well, things have not changed. While most of Greece is very religious, it is also very physically inclined. It is ironic that when we passed by a church in the bus, everyone would do the sign of the cross. However, advertisements in the main streets of Athens resembled the almost pornographic pictures you only see in convenience stores which are in very bad neighborhoods of Montreal. This irony was probably the best way for me to get to Israel. I was going down into the very definition of Galut in order to the jump back up to Israel. I was going into a place where religion was just superficial into a place where we can live our religion. I was living a real aliyah.

I then got to Jerusalem, slept a night at my cousin's house before I was to go to the yeshiva the next day. We went altogether to welcome the group flight. Rav Motty Elon, our Rosh yeshiva, was there. We all danced at the airport and tourists were taking pictures of us. Rav Elon gave a speech there where he told us that someone had just told him that after making aliyah five years ago, he was becoming very depressed with all the latest happenings in Israel. However, after seeing us dance, he told Rav Elon: "Achshav yesh li koach": Now, I have strength to go on.

After arriving at yeshiva, we went on the roof and saw the har habayit: the place where the beit hamikdah used to be built. There we tore our clothes in mourning but we couldn't cry. We couldn't cry because we knew the beit hamikdash is being rebuilt as we speak. Therefore, we sang, we danced. Rav Elon came while we were dancing and spoke again. There, he spoke about the amazing miracle that happened in 1967 which lets us stand on the roof of Yeshivat Hakotel and see har habayit. He told us the next step is the building of the beit hamidash and tehiyat hametim (the resurrection of the dead). He said that just as it seemed impossible 50 years ago to be in the old city of Jerusalem, so to it seems impossible to have the beit hamidash and techiyat hametim, but it will happen. It is happening right now.

We then danced down to the kotel and prayed arvit there. We danced there as a yeshiva along with anyone else who wished to join.

Basically, this past day was a day of pure kiddush hashem. It was a day where we were able to live our Judaism, finally, after 2000 years of exile. It was also a day of prayers, especially, prayers so that all of our brothers come and join us in this redemption process.

L'shana haze biyerushalaim

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