Archive for the ‘Kotel’ Tag

“Har HaBayit is in our hands” or is it?

In 1948 the State of Israel come into being. After being attacked by many of its new neighbours the city of Jerusalem was not shalem – whole.If one wanted to see the old city it was from afar. It took another 19 years for the dream to come true and for the people to hear from Motta Gur z”l “Har HaBayit is in our hands,the Temple Mount is in our hands”. Rabbi Goren z”l blew the shofar at the Kotel (Western Wall), Jews started flocking to pray there for the first time for many of them. Since then we have been able to go and pray as free people at the Western Wall, however is Har HaBayit in our hands?
At the end of the six day war all of the Temple Mount was in our hands. Not for long as control was handed over to the Wakf. Why we might ask. Maybe will still are not worthy of it. In 1948 we did not merit the whole of Jerusalem being returned to us and the same for 1967.
No one denies that there were miracles done on our behalf during both these and other wars Israel has fought over the past 60 odd years but we have to remember where they came from – G-d. It is through Hashem’s goodness towards us that we have been able to reclaim first a big chunk of our land and then managing to add more as time goes by. It might take a while but we will get there.
“If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill.”

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Yom Hazikaron

Yom Hazikaron – Rememberance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars and for Terror Victims – has no particular halachic laws. It is a day that was decreed in law by the Knesset in 1963. However the practice of commemorating this day started in 1951 to make the connection between Independence Day (which is the day after) and the people who died to achieve and maintain this freedom.

Yom Hazikaron starts at sunset and is marked with a countrywide one minute siren at 8pm. This is followed by memorial ceremonies all over the country with the official ceremony taking place at the Kotel (the Wailing Wall) with the President and other national leaders taking part.

By law all places of entertainment are closed and flags are flown at half mast. In the morning at 11am there is a second siren lasting for two minutes. During both sirens, people stop what they are doing, get out of their cars, stand up in the stoped buses etc. and pay their respects to the fallen. One custom that some people have during the sirens is to say a chapter/s of Tehillim (Psalms) quietly to themselves.

From the start of Yom Hazikaron in the evening until the beginning of Independance Day the next evening, both television and radio programmes are dedicated to and tell stories of the fallen. Most people in Israel know of someone that has a family member, friend or acquaintance that have fallen in one of Israel’s wars or in a terror attack, and therefore the day takes on a very significant meaning.

Most Shuls say in the morning prayers special prayers for the fallen.
Most workplaces are open as usual however close slightly early for people to get ready to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut – Independence day that follows.

This is written in memory of Alan Sober Z”L who died in the first Lebanon War.