Live From Israel #4

“If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,” said the psalmist in 137. I’m sitting at the South Wall excavation area near the temple mount in Jerusalem. I hear the Muslim call to prayer as Friday noon approaches. I am looking at stones on the walls, some of them Herodian, which means from Yeshua’s time. Not far from me is a large pile of massive stones right where the Romans threw them in 70 C.E.

As we came up to Jerusalem from Bethlehem yesterday, I remembered Jerusalem. In a way, I had forgotten her. Even after entering Israel, I was in the north. Even from that proximity I could forget her.

I did not feel it–the elation, the joy, the sense of rightness that often comes to me in Israel. I didn’t feel it until we began our ascent.

Then we read and sang psalms of ascent. Then I enjoyed a familiar pleasure from my many tours here. When we ascend to Jerusalem, the driver usually plays a Christian gospel song. It is such a powerful experience for me I sometimes here it in my dreams: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, hark how the angels sing, ‘Hosanna in the highest, hosanna to your king.'”

In a way, the world has forgotten about Jerusalem. The muzzin’s wailing call for all the world to bow to Islam’s god gives the lie to this city’s status. At least one of the Muslim’s praying on Jerusalem’s temple mount right now is a dear friend of mine. Yet still, they should not be praying to Allah from up there.

David bought that temple mount. Solomon built on it. It is Mt. Zion, not the place of Allah.

The muzzin’s wail is testimony to the failed liberal policy of Israel’s secular and left-wing government. It has been forty years since the fateful decision to allow the Muslims to keep ruling on God’s holy mountain. That sacrifice of appeasement has not bought a moment’s peace.

Still, as I ponder this from just below the prostrating crowd, I feel a potential in Jerusalem. Those Muslim prayers will one day be changed. People will sit in these courtyards and hear Levitical choirs, silver trumpets, harps, and lyres. There will be dancing in Zion. Arabs will be here too, not to bow to Allah, but as children of Adonai. They will be joined by all nations coming here to adore Israel’s God.

And there will be one king, Yeshua.

And so, I sit in beautiful but flawed Jerusalem. Its beauty already makes me weep each time I have to leave. How will Messiah improve it? This is what stirs me. Messianic Jerusalem is coming and for now I am content to sit in its mere shadow.


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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3 Responses to Live From Israel #4

  1. Jim says:

    Thanks, Derek, for letting us share your thoughts by reading your blog notes during this your most recent trip to Israel. Best wishes, Jim

  2. Jon Olson says:

    Derek, twenty years ago I saw the movie “Kaddish” and met Yossi Klein haLevi. His story is fascinating and he is a person of integrity. On that basis, I recommend you consult his writings since then. Below is copied from Winkopedia.

    Yossi Klein Halevi (born in 1953) is an author, journalist and researcher of Israeli culture and society.

    Halevi was born and raised in New York in a Jewish family. He completed a BA in Jewish Studies in Brooklyn College in 1978, and completed his MA in Journalism in Northwestern University. In 1982, he moved to Israel, together with his wife Sarah (nee Lynn Rintoul).

    In 1985, the documentary film “Kaddish”, produced by Steve Brand, which focuses on his relationship with his father, a Holocaust survivor, was released. The “Village Voice” called it one of the best ten films of the year.

    He worked as a senior writer for the bi-weekly magazine the Jerusalem Report, from its founding until 2002. Halevi wrote a column for The Jerusalem Post, and wrote regularly on Israeli issues for the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times, and occasionally for the New York Times and Washington post.

    His first book, “Memoires of a Jewish Extremist”, was published in 1995. In it, he tells of his youthful attraction to, and subsequent break with, the militant Rabbi Meir Kahane.

    In 2001 he published “At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land”. The book tells of his spiritual journey as a religious Jew into the worlds of Christianity and Islam in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Halevi joined the prayers and meditations in mosques and monasteries, in an attempt to experience the devotional lives of his non-Jewish neighbors and to create a religious language of reconciliation among the three monotheistic faiths.

    Halevi has been active in Middle East reconciliation efforts, and serves as chairman of Open House, a Arab-Jewish eduacational project in the working class town of Ramle. He was a founder and board member of the now-defunct Israeli-Palestinian Media Forum, which brought together Israeli and Palestinian Journalists.

    Halevi is a senior fellow in the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based academic research institute. He is Israel correspondent and contributing editor of The New Republic.

    Halevi is a frequent lecturer on American and Canadian campuses, focusing on politics and culture in Israel.

    Currently Halevi is writing a book about the paratroopers who reunited Jerusalem in the Six Days War.

  3. Catherine Symonds says:

    Derek, your “Live from Israel” postings re-create last year’s tour so vividly in my mind. I so wish I was there again right now. It’s amazing how homesick I still feel for Israel.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this year’s tour with those of us who couldn’t make it this year. It enables me to experience some of the excitement y’all must be feeling. :o)

    Aloha & Shalom Aleichem,

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