After hundreds of years of bondage and slavery, the children of Israel lost the courage to experience faith and dreams. When it seemed they were beyond retrieval, the outside world began to deteriorate:
Yet when an opportunity arose, their deep yearning burst forth as a sigh;
“And it came to pass in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto G-d by reason of the bondage. And G-d heard their yearning cry , and G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And G-d saw the children of Israel, and G-d took cognizance of them.” (Exodus 2:23-25)
Many , many decades later the same opportunity arose and a similar cry was heard…and then answered
Before those fateful days in June of 1967, the radio waves were filled with hatred and threats against the small sliver of a country called Israel. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt declared on radio;
“We intend on beginning an all out campaign, it will be a total war and our basic purpose is the eradication of the Israeli state” (27.5.67).
Ahmed Shukeiri the head of the Palestinian resistance movement also delivered the following statement:” Israelis who were born in Palestine that will still be alive after the war will be allowed to live in Palestine. But based on my best estimation not a single one of them will still be found alive.” (26.5.67)
Similar threats were being aired every day by leaders of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Even the darling of North American media, King Hussein of Jordan joined the war that began in June of 1967 with the following words,” Kill the Jews with everything that comes to your hands. Kill them with your arms, with your hands, with your nails and with your teeth.”
The days prior to those fateful days were days filled with prayers, concern and gloomy and dark fears. Then everything changed in a flash of divine intervention.” Thou didst turn for me my mourning into dancing; Thou didst loose my sackcloth, and gird me with gladness ;”(psalm 30:12).
Yet before those terror filled days we noted how the yearning and the sighing for Jerusalem arose even in the midst of the fears of total annihilation
One prominent example was the dramatic almost prophetic speech given by Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook a short time before the six day war.
During Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations at the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva the Rav who was the head of the yeshiva got up to speak of the importance of this celebration of Israel’s independence.. Yet this time Rav Tzvi Yehuda felt compelled to recount the difficult feelings he had experience on that first day of Independence nineteen years earlier. He recalled how he could not participate in the rejoicing when the 1947 UN Partition Plan was approved ;
“But I could not go out and join in the celebration. I sat alone and silent; a heavy burden lay upon me. During those first hours, I could not resign myself to what had been done. I could not accept the fact that, indeed, “They have divided My land” (Joel 4:2).”
At this point his voice broke and in a thundering cry called out;
“And where is our Hebron? Are we forgetting this? Where is our Shechem, our Jericho? Have we forgotten them?”
That cry was heard in the heavens.
There was another event as well that occurred in the next evening where a different sort of cry was heard.
Naomi Shemer was asked by the mayor of Jerusalem to compose a new song for the Israeli Song Festival that was being held on May 15 1967, the night after Israel’s nineteenth Independence Day.
The Master of ceremonies explained that this song was not one of the songs in competition but was simply a song to honor Jerusalem. Naomi Shemer chose a then unknown singer called Shuli Natan.
Shuli came on the stage simply with a guitar and a penetrating but tremulous voice. The crown became transfixed. When she finished the crowd made up of all types of Israeli simply burst into wild applause and cheers and would not stop.
The master of ceremonies tried to quiet the audience but could not. He told then that there were more songs to be heard but they would not stop. They were captivated by the yearning for Jerusalem.
(To hear the song and the reaction click here
Within a month the city of Jerusalem was liberated and re-united in fulfilment of the verse from psalm 122:3 “Jerusalem built up like a city that was joined together within itself.”
A cry , a Song and wild Cheering went up to the heavens
And G-d heard their yearning cry , and G-d remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And G-d saw the children of Israel, and G-d took cognizance of them ( Exodus 2:24-25)
Chag Sameach Mitzapim Legeulah
LeRefuat Yehudit bat Golda Yocheved