web analytics
September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Magic in Jerusalem

Those who cannot find meaning in their countries of exile find it in this ancient city.
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Long ago I discovered that Jerusalem is an intoxicating city. It actually propels us to a different planet.

Rationally, it doesn’t make sense.

Of all world-famous cities, Jerusalem is probably the least likely candidate to be labeled “intoxicating.” Perhaps Paris, maybe Rome, possibly Madrid – but Jerusalem? Compared to the world’s great metropolises, it is essentially a small village. The streets are narrow; many of the houses are old and should long ago have been rebuilt or demolished but instead they still stand, paying witness that which once was and that which will be.

In Yerushalayim, past, present and future merge. Contemporary time does not exist.

It’s not that time stands still, for Israel is a state of the art country that in the span of a few short years has become the envy of the world in terms of its high-tech accomplishments. In the words of veteran business journalist and author George Gilder, “Israel…is second only to the United States in technological contributions. In per capita innovation, Israel dwarfs all nations.”

You have to concede it’s mind-boggling. Was it not just yesterday that the fathers and grandfathers of today’s Israeli innovators lived in primitive conditions in countries like Yemen and Iraq, or were living skeletons crawling out of Hitler’s satanic concentration camps?

And yet, despite all the advances, Jerusalem has managed to maintain its sanctity of yore.

I am in the Holy City. I walk its streets. I speak at gatherings. I catch a few minutes in a restaurant and people rush over – some who heard me years ago and others who heard me just today or yesterday.

Amazingly, I’ve discovered that those who cannot find meaning in their countries of exile find it in this ancient city. Whatever the town or city or world capital our people temporarily call home, a Jew rediscovers himself or herself here in Jerusalem.

I visit my aunt, Rebbetzin Zeesi Kohen, techya. She is the sister of my saintly mother, Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h. My aunt is 100 years old (to 120) but her mind is clear and she is truly amazing. My tears come gushing. I can’t control myself. I see my aunt and I see my beloved mother. The similarity is overwhelming. Her face, her eyes, her hands, her voice, her sharp wit – they all bring to mind my mother, whom everyone lovingly called Mama.

My mother was known as a “verbal surgeon.” She had this uncanny ability to cut to the chase. She was a no-nonsense person – a straight shooter. At 100, Aunt Zeesi is an exact replica of her. We hug. I kiss her hands. In the world where I grew up we always kissed the hands of our parents, elders, rabbis and rebbetzins. I ask for Aunt Zeesi’s berachah and she blesses me in the very same manner Mama did.

I see my cousins. They are all grandparents now, but as we hug and kiss we are back to the days when were small children visiting one another on Shabbos afternoons and playing together at family gatherings. Mishpachah, mishpachah – family, family. How sad that so many of us have lost that precious link.

Next, I go to an orphanage to visit little boys from the age of 6 to bar mitzvah. They are so beautiful, so respectful. They stand at attention. They are waiting with rapt attention.

I wonder: What can I say to them? It’s not consolation these children need but words of strength, strength that inspires, strength that will enable them to rise above their loneliness and overcome the many struggles of life. I share with them stories of my childhood. I tell them that once I too was alone.

I tell them just a little bit of my concentration camp experiences. I do not want to overwhelm them but I do want to give them a vaccine that will immunize them from all the evil of this world – a vaccine that will allow them to believe that no matter where life launches them, there is nothing to fear because above them is our Father and He is always there. “The Guardian of Israel neither sleeps nor slumbers.”

Each one of them, I say, is Superman, an image they all identify with. “You are Superman and I am Superlady because we stood at Sinai and our loving Father spoke to us and promised to always be with us – to accompany us wherever we go and in whatever situation we may find ourselves.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “Magic in Jerusalem”

  1. Simcha Arona says:

    Dearest Rebbetzin, You always touch my heart. I will never forget meeting you in Cleveland, Ohio; where you autographed my book to "Simcha and Simcha". My husband and I share the same Hebrew name. Shabbat Shalom and L'Shana Tova Tikatevu.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Yamam Hebron Shootout
Israel SWAT Team Exchanging Fire with Hamas Kidnappers in Hebron [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

We must eat, sleep, work, and care for our dependants. How much time is left over after all that?

haazinu A-Unique Nation

Once we recognize that our separation from God is our fault, how do we repair it?

Daf-Yomi-logo

Chatzitzah And Its Applications
‘Greater Stringency Applies To Hallowed Things…’
(Chagiga 20b-21a)

To choose life, you must examine your actions in the period preceding the Days of Awe as an unbiased stranger, and render your decision.

Rabbi Dayan took a challah and some cooked eggs. He then called over his 15-year-old son, Aharon. “Could you please ask your friend Chaim from next door to come over and help me with the eruv tavshilin?”

This world has its purpose; it has been ideally fashioned to allow man to grow.

A statement issued by the Frenkel, Yifrach and Sha’ar families thanks Israel for ‘justice served.’

Hamas’ tunnels were destroyed as were plans for their unparalleled terror attacks on Rosh Hashana.

Perhaps the most important leadership lesson Elkana taught us is to never underestimate the difference a single person can make.

“he’s my rabbi” the Black painter said with pride, pulling out a photo of the Rebbe from his wallet

The Torah notes that even when we are dispersed God will return us to Him.

Simply, for Rambam the number 14 (2×7) was his favored organizing principle.

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Our understanding of what is and what is not possible creates imagined ceilings of opportunity for us.

This young, innocent child gave me a powerful, warm surge of energy and strength.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Gratitude=Great Attitude. Appreciation is always appropriate.

The two words “thank you” have no time expiration; even if spoken after many years they’re as potent as ever.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/magic-in-jerusalem/2013/08/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: