Posts Tagged ‘Jerusalem’


The Lesson of the Languages

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

Debbie’s sister, her husband, son (The Question Machine), and her best friend, all Spanish speakers, have been with us for four days. Michael just returned from studying a year abroad in Argentina, and now speaks more Spanish than English. Basically, I’m under siege. I’ve tried explaining to them that when laying siege, it is preferable to speak the language of the besieged. They look at me with blank faces, as if they don’t understand English. At least, allow me to prove it to you:

“The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. They came up to Jerusalem and stopped at the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Washerman’s Field. They called for the king; and Eliakim son of Hilkiah the palace administrator, Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph the recorder went out to them.

The field commander said to them, ‘Tell Hezekiah:

‘This is what the great king, the king of Assyria, says: On what are you basing this confidence of yours?

You say you have the counsel and the might for war—but you speak only empty words. On whom are you depending, that you rebel against me?

Look, I know you are depending on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff, which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it! Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who depend on him.

But if you say to me, ‘We are depending on God our Lord’—isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You must worship before this altar in Jerusalem’?’

‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them! How can you repulse one officer of the least of my master’s officials, even though you are depending on Egypt for chariots and horsemen? Furthermore, have I come to attack and destroy this place without word from God? The God Himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.’

Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, and Shebna and Joah said to the field commander,

Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall’ (II Kings 20:17-26).”

I must admit that their request is strange: Why would the Jewish noblemen expect the Assyrians to speak in Aramaic so as not to intimidate the people of Jerusalem? Wasn’t that the point of their speech?

“They called for the king.” The Assyrians were not yet trying to intimidate the people, but the king, Hezekiah. They understood that he would be making the decision whether to resist or surrender. But the king will not; he cannot, take the bait. Hezekiah represents God’s Will. Hezekiah is making a statement that it is not he who will decide, but God.

This is one belief that was not shared by Zedekiah when Jerusalem was besieged by the Babylonians.

I believe that the Jewish noblemen expected and wanted the Assyrians to refuse their request. They wanted the people to hear that the Assyrians were not only launching a military attack, but were attacking the spiritual lives of the nation. The people would overhear, and by continuing to resist and fight would be fighting for their spiritual lives, not just for their city and kingdom.

Zedekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem expected God (See: Jeremiah-Historical Background) to save them from the Baylonian siege just as He had saved Jerusalem from the Assyrians when Hezekiah was king. They forgot the lesson of the languages.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Lamentations: Kinah 8: Line 1

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Spiritual Growth

“Would that I could soar to the sphere of the heaven.” This phrase is usually understood to be based on: “Behold, like an eagle the enemy – Babylon – will swoop down and spread its wings against Moab.” (Jeremiah 48:40) Moab, an ancient enemy of Israel, was confident that, because there were no indications that the Babylonians were planning to attack them, rejoiced at the vulnerability of Jerusalem. The prophet, in a vision in which he saw the future great achievements of Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (Vayikra Rabbah 13:5), envisioned their armies swooping down on Moab in a shock attack, much as an eagle swoops down on its prey.

This vision of Babylon’s great future is part of the idea that God will only allow a great nation to conquer Israel. God wants people to have the opportunity to understand that the success of the Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans against Israel was a gift from God. They were being used as God’s tool.

The Babylonian’s military successes were almost otherworldly. They were as swift as eagles.

The author of this lamentation is describing how he would need such miraculous assistance from God to be able to express the full extent of his lament over the destruction and exile.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin) describes the scene of the Babylonians successful breach of Jerusalem’s walls as one in which the army had almost given up on successfully breaking into the holy city. Rabha said: Three hundred mules loaded with iron saws which cut iron were given to Nebusaradan by Nebuchadnezzar while going to attack Jerusalem. And all of them were broken at one gate of Jerusalem, as it reads [Ps. lxxiv. 6]: “And now they hew in pieces the carver work thereof altogether with hatchets and hammers.” Seeing this he thought to return, but a heavenly voice was heard: “Jumper, the son of a jumper, O Nebusaradan, jump now, and thou wilst succeed, as the time for the destruction of the sanctuary and for the burning of the Temple has arrived.” And one saw remained with him, and with it he struck the gate, and it opened, as it reads [ibid., ibid. 5]: “(The enemy) is known as one that lifteth up high axes against the thickets of a forest.” Then he slew every one coming under his hand till he reached the Temple and kindled it. However, the Temple wanted to fly away, but it was prevented by Heaven and was trodden down, as it reads [Lamentations, i. 15]: “A winepress hath the Lord trodden over the virgin, the daughter of Judah.” Nebusaradan became proud of all this, and a heavenly voice was heard saying: “You slew a killed nation, a burnt temple have you burned, grind flour have you grind.”

The walls, miraculously fell without resistance only at the final moment so that all would know that the Babylonians were simply God’s tools.

The Talmud (Gittin 56a) describes a similar situation during the Roman attack in Jerusalem: He [the Emperor] sent against them Nero the Caesar. As he was coming he shot an arrow towards the east, and it fell in Jerusalem. He then shot one towards the west, and it again fell in Jerusalem. He shot towards all four points of the compass, and each time it fell in Jerusalem. He said to a certain boy: Repeat to me [the last] verse of Scripture you have learnt. He said: And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel. He said: The Holy One, blessed be He, desires to lay waste his House and to lay the blame on me. So he ran away and became a proselyte, and R. Meir was descended from him.

Whomever the Nero , described in the story, was (we know that Nero never traveled to Jerusalem), he did not want to be God’s agent of destruction, only to be punished.

The Kabbalists associate wings with Din – God’s Attribute of Judgment. The eagle mentioned above, does not fly, as Din, when expressed as destruction, does not come from Above: It is the result of the destructive influences created by human beings, on earth.

Author Info:

Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Beyond Room

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays

I just read “Room,” by Emma Donoghue and haven’t been able to stop thinking about what happens when Room opens. Room, totally enclosed except for a tiny skylight, is the entire world of Jack, a five-year old prisoner who lives in Room with Ma. Room has everything Jack needs and desires, and Ma and he use their imaginations to fill their days, until Ma, who has been imprisoned for seven years, wants more for her son and they plan their escape.

I cheered for Jack as he affects their rescue, and was so focused on his experiencing Outside that I wasn’t prepared for how frightening and difficult it was for him to adjust to life outside Room.

Jack insists that Ma take him back to see the storage shed that was Room: “We step in through Door and it’s all wrong. Smaller than Room and emptier.”

This poignant novel reminded me that it is important to reflect on our exile from Jerusalem from the perspective of the people who experienced it, not just the suffering and horror stories, but the adjustment from Room to Outside:

Room opened for the Children of Israel on the 17th of Tammuz, when the Babylonians breached the walls of Jerusalem. Their Room was a tiny walled city; the center of their universe. Kings came and went. Invaders attacked, failed and left. Room remained a magically safe world. Life in their Room could not have been easy. Jerusalem was not in an agricultural area. It was not on any major trade routes. It was Room only because it was Jerusalem, the home of the Beit Hamikdash.

Three weeks after Room was opened, the Temple was destroyed, and Room’s inhabitants were introduced to Outside.

None of us would question whether Jack was better off Outside, with medical care, regular food, clothes, playgrounds, and other people. It’s shocking to read how unsafe Jack and even Ma felt Outside, and yet, we finally appreciate the intense challenge of leaving Room for Outside.

The world opened for the exiles. Their lived harsh and brutal lives eking out a living while their king and armies from far away places would regularly turn their lives upside down. But Jerusalem was their Room, and it took them time to adjust to living a far richer life in Babylon, Persia, and eventually all over the globe.

Life in the United States for a Jew is better than life in pre-WWII Europe. The Ghettos were our Rooms, and it took us time to adjust to Outside. It was difficult to lose Room no matter how harsh a world it was. All the rules are different. They were as confused as Jack about what was real and what was not.

Should we focus on how much we lost when Room opened? Shall we mourn over how much has changed because we no longer have our Room?

I suspect that the Three Weeks of Mourning that begin with the Seventeenth of Tammuz, from the opening of Room till the destruction of the Temple, are for us to focus on our adjustment to Outside: How much of Room did we take with us? Was the loss of Room a painful transitional adjustment to something better? What of Room do we miss?

Are we trying to recreate Room in Outside?

Life in the Jerusalem Room was not a perfect environment, just as Jewish life in the cities and villages across Europe was not paradise. When the walls of our Room were breached, we had an opportunity to consider which parts of Room we would take with us to Outside.

I wonder what I would have chosen to take.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Hallel: Rosh Chodesh Tammuz: Paragraph One: Ezekiel

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

The opening paragraph of Hallel is always the invitation to the Hallel that follows. It is the call to sing Hallel, and sets out the parameters of the Hallel to be sung:

Ezekiel: Reconnecting to God as Hallel Singers

Ezekiel is addressing a much different audience than was Jeremiah. Ezekiel begins with an awesome vision, a promise of what was still possible for the Jews to achieve in their relationship with God, even while in exile in Babylon. He was speaking to the first exiles from Jerusalem, people who found a home even in exile. The people were comfortable where they were and were losing their connection to Jerusalem and the Temple.

They are crushed by the impending doom of Jerusalem, and wonder whether this is the end of their relationship with God. In the midst of this tragedy, Ezekiel urges them to reconnect to God as Hallel singers, who can create new realities through singing Hallel:


Praise, you who serve God!”

Sing if you are still among those ‘who serve God.’

Your singing God’s praises even during these tragic times is a declaration that even those in exile are still Servants of God.

“Praise the Name of God.

Let the Name of God be blessed from now and forever.”

From sunrise to sundown, the Name of God is praised.

God is above all the nations. His Glory is beyond the sky.

Who is like God, our Lord, Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?

Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.

Who Makes a home for the childless woman and joy for the mother of children. Hallelukah!”


I read this paragraph as Ezekiel calling on the Jews to reconnect to God as Hallel Singers, who still feel that they can impact the world through their Hallel. He is speaking to people such as those of us who comfortably live outside of Israel and do not experience the immediacy of the worry and pain of those who merit to live in the Holy Land. His message is that we must connect to our being Servants of God by becoming Hallel Singers, who sing before tragedy strikes, during times of tragedy, and after we are saved from suffering.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.


Background Text: Ezekiel’s Hallel for R”C Tammuz Pt 5

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.  Who makes a home for the childless woman and joy for the mother of children.” Ezekiel 36:  33 “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’

37 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to Israel’s plea and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, 38 as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed festivals. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”


Background Text: Ezekiel’s Hallel for R”C Tammuz Pt 4

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Who is like God, our Lord, Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?” Ezekiel 34: 20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken.

25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign LORD.’”


Background Text: Ezekiel’s Hallel for R”C Tammuz Part 3

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“Who lifts up the lowly from the dust, raises the destitute from the garbage dumps to be seated with leaders, the leaders of their people.” Ezekiel 16: God’s Beloved; As Royalty: 1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices 3 and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. 4 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. 5 No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised.

6 “‘Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, “Live!”[a] 7 I made you grow like a plant of the field. You grew and developed and entered puberty. Your breasts had formed and your hair had grown, yet you were stark naked.

8 “‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.

9 “‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11 I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12 and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. 14 And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.


Background Text: Ezekiel’s Hallel for Rosh Chodesh Tammuz Part Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

“God is above all the nations.” Ezekiel 9: God’s Agents: 1 Then I heard him call out in a loud voice, “Bring near those who are appointed to execute judgment on the city, each with a weapon in his hand.” 2 And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.

3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

5 As I listened, he said to the others, “Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6 Slaughter the old men, the young men and women, the mothers and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary.” So they began with the old men who were in front of the temple.

7 Then he said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courts with the slain. Go!” So they went out and began killing throughout the city. 8 While they were killing and I was left alone, I fell facedown, crying out, “Alas, Sovereign LORD! Are you going to destroy the entire remnant of Israel in this outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?”

9 He answered me, “The sin of the people of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great; the land is full of bloodshed and the city is full of injustice. They say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land; the LORD does not see.’ 10 So I will not look on them with pity or spare them, but I will bring down on their own heads what they have done.”

11 Then the man in linen with the writing kit at his side brought back word, saying, “I have done as you commanded.”

Ezekiel 10: “His Glory is beyond the sky.

Who is like God, our Lord, Who lives up high, but drops down to see what happens (to us) in the (lower) heaven and earth?”

God’s Glory Departs From the Temple

1 I looked, and I saw the likeness of a throne of lapis lazuli above the vault that was over the heads of the cherubim. 2 The LORD said to the man clothed in linen, “Go in among the wheels beneath the cherubim. Fill your hands with burning coals from among the cherubim and scatter them over the city.” And as I watched, he went in.

3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court. 4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD. 5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty[a] when he speaks.

6 When the LORD commanded the man in linen, “Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim,” the man went in and stood beside a wheel. 7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out. 8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like human hands.)


Background Text: Ezekiel’s Hallel for Rosh Chodesh Tammuz Part One

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Ezekiel 4: Siege of Jerusalem Symbolized 1 “Now, son of man, take a block of clay, put it in front of you and draw the city of Jerusalem on it. 2 Then lay siege to it: Erect siege works against it, build a ramp up to it, set up camps against it and put battering rams around it.

3 Then take an iron pan, place it as an iron wall between you and the city and turn your face toward it. It will be under siege, and you shall besiege it. This will be a sign to the people of Israel.

4 “Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself.[a] You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. 5 I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

6 “After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year. 7 Turn your face toward the siege of Jerusalem and with bared arm prophesy against her. 8 I will tie you up with ropes so that you cannot turn from one side to the other until you have finished the days of your siege.

9 “Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in a storage jar and use them to make bread for yourself. You are to eat it during the 390 days you lie on your side. 10 Weigh out twenty shekels[b] of food to eat each day and eat it at set times. 11 Also measure out a sixth of a hin[c] of water and drink it at set times. 12 Eat the food as you would a loaf of barley bread; bake it in the sight of the people, using human excrement for fuel.” 13 The LORD said, “In this way the people of Israel will eat defiled food among the nations where I will drive them.”

14 Then I said, “Not so, Sovereign LORD! I have never defiled myself. From my youth until now I have never eaten anything found dead or torn by wild animals. No impure meat has ever entered my mouth.”

15 “Very well,” he said, “I will let you bake your bread over cow dung instead of human excrement.”

16 He then said to me: “Son of man, I am about to cut off the food supply in Jerusalem. The people will eat rationed food in anxiety and drink rationed water in despair, 17 for food and water will be scarce. They will be appalled at the sight of each other and will waste away because of[d] their sin.


Background Text From Jeremiah’s Call To Sing Hallel on Rosh Chodesh Tammuz Part Two

by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays, Prayer

Jeremiah Chapter 10:1-16: 1 Hear what the LORD says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the heavens, though the nations are terrified by them. 
3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless; 
   they cut a tree out of the forest, 
   and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. 
4 They adorn it with silver and gold; 
   they fasten it with hammer and nails 
   so it will not totter. 
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field, 
   their idols cannot speak; 
they must be carried 
   because they cannot walk. 
Do not fear them; 
   they can do no harm 
   nor can they do any good.”

6 No one is like you, LORD; 
   you are great, 
   and your name is mighty in power. 
7 Who should not fear you, 
   King of the nations? 
   This is your due. 
Among all the wise leaders of the nations 
   and in all their kingdoms, 
   there is no one like you.

8 They are all senseless and foolish; 
   they are taught by worthless wooden idols. 
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish 
   and gold from Uphaz. 
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made 
   is then dressed in blue and purple— 
   all made by skilled workers. 
10 But the LORD is the true God; 
   he is the living God, the eternal King. 
When he is angry, the earth trembles; 
   the nations cannot endure his wrath.

11 “Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’”[a]

12 But God made the earth by his power; 
   he founded the world by his wisdom 
   and stretched out the heavens by his understanding. 
13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; 
   he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth. 
He sends lightning with the rain 
   and brings out the wind from his storehouses.

14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; 
   every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. 
The images he makes are a fraud; 
   they have no breath in them. 
15 They are worthless, the objects of mockery; 
   when their judgment comes, they will perish. 
16 He who is the Portion of Jacob is not like these, 
   for he is the Maker of all things, 
including Israel, the people of his inheritance— 
   the LORD Almighty is his name.