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Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - 3 Cheshvan 5781
 
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Our Holy City
We are currently in the three-week mourning period commemorating the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple nearly 2,000 years ago. A generation before the destruction, Jerusalem was ruled by Hyrcanus II, a member of the Hasmonean dynasty. Hyrcanus's reign suffered from weakness and instability. His brother Aristobulus waged a civil war against him for control of the throne. At a certain point Aristobulus declared victory and seized power over Jerusalem. Hyrcanus's loyalists besieged the city but could not breach its walls.

Despite the battle, both sides had an unspoken agreement: the service of the Temple must not be interrupted. Because of the siege, there was a shortage of animals within the city, and the soldiers of Hyrcanus would deliver animals from outside to the soldiers within.

This state of affairs continued until Hyrcanus followed the evil counsel of his advisor Antipater, who told him that the only way for him to achieve victory over his brother would be to interrupt the service in the Holy Temple. Hyrcanus proved himself willing to interrupt the most holy and precious thing to the Jewish nation, only to restore his own throne. Hyrcanus stopped the delivery of animals across the city walls, and in the end, with the help of the Romans, he retook the kingdom--but only temporarily. Not long afterwards the Romans removed him from the throne, and with this marked the end of the Kingdom of Judea. Several decades later, the Temple itself was destroyed.
*
At the time of this writing, we are still anxiously awaiting the Redemption and the rebuilding of the Holy Temple. However, to our great distress, the history of the time of Hyrcanus appears to be repeating itself.

Twenty years ago, if you had told an Israeli citizen that there would come a day that Jerusalem would be up for negotiation, to divide according to international consensus, he would have accused you of paranoia. Jerusalem, our beloved gem, acquired through the blood of our holy and devoted soldiers, through open miracles--who could ever think to negotiate it away?

Former Knesset Member Geulah Cohen relates that following the Six-Day War, during a private audience, the Rebbe brought up the possibility of Jerusalem being negotiated away. At the time she could not understand what the Rebbe meant. In fact, because of her great respect for the Rebbe she refrained from repeating the Rebbe's words, worrying that it would make him look foolish.

The reality today surpasses anything that could have been imagined. Israel's current government is prepared to compromise on everything: Judea and Samaria; the Golan; even Jerusalem, if only to find favor in the eyes of the nations. No foreign power would have the audacity to demand what Israel itself has proposed to negotiate.

*

The powers that be must internalize the lesson of history: when you sell your soul, eventually you will be the loser. Perhaps you'll gain some temporary benefit--and even that is questionable--but regardless, the benefit will not last. These concessions will inevitably result in serious consequences for the security of the nation, G-d forbid.

Now that we are in the three-week mourning period for the destruction of Jerusalem, we must remember those events and take the lessons of history. However, we do have a spark of hope--just as the Rebbe foresaw the current woeful situation, he also foresaw the imminent Redemption, and his prophecies will surely be fulfilled.

 

 


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