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Jerusalem: Home To More Miracles Than Ten

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

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The Talmud1 records ten Miracles that occurred at the Holy Temple in Jerusalem on a regular basis:

1. No woman ever miscarried because of the smell of the holy meat.

2. The holy meat never spoiled.

3. Never was a fly seen in the slaughterhouse.

4. Never did the High Priest have an accidental seminal discharge on Yom Kippur.

5. The rains did not extinguish the wood-fire burning upon the altar.

6. The wind did not prevail over the column of smoke [rising from the altar].

7. No disqualifying problem was ever discovered in the Omer offering, the Two Loaves or the Showbread.

8. The people stood crowded but had ample space in which to prostate themselves.

9. Never did a snake or scorpion cause injury in Jerusalem.

10. [Despite the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and the small geographical nature of Jerusalem] No man ever said to his fellow "My lodging in Jerusalem is too cramped for me."

Today, some 2000 years after the Romans destroyed the Holy Temple and forced the Jewish People out of the land, I think we can list another two miracles:

1. The Western Wall still stands.

This holy site is still clearly defined and recognizable. After centuries of exile, more than a millennium away from our land, despite the many nations that made every effort to destroy our people and erase our memory from history, not withstanding the hateful destruction of hundreds of Jewish communities around the world, the Wall still stands.

2. (This might be the greatest miracle of all): We still go visit that Wall.

Our enemies turned our synagogues into theaters and factories. For hundreds of years they closed our schools, burnt our holy scrolls, and destroyed our books, depriving millions of a Jewish education. Our foes outlawed, threatened, attacked and denounced our religion. Our friends attempted to persuade, invite, and encourage, us to explore new religions.

And we, well, we remain Jews. We still go back to our original Holy sites.

We still visit our Wall!

“Return unto Me, says the L-rd of hosts, and I will return unto you”.2

G-d, we have returned.

Please give us not only a wall, but a Temple; not only a land, but a secure and peaceful home.

You said you would!

Footnotes

  • 1. Ethics of our Fathers 5:5
  • 2. Zechariyah 1:3

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Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Omer
Starting from the second day of Passover, we count forty-nine days. The fiftieth day is the holiday of Shavuot. This is called the “Counting of the Omer” because on the second day of Passover the barley “Omer” offering was offered in the Holy Temple, and we count forty-nine days from this offering. [Literally, "Omer" is a certain weight measure; the required amount of barley for this sacrifice.]
Western Wall
The western wall of the Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem. "The Divine Presence never left the Western Wall," and to this day, the Wall remains a holy shrine and a place for prayer.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Temple
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.