As I walk toward the old city of Jerusalem, just a few days before the 9th day of Av, a chill run through my body.
Can we still hear the voices in the old city of Jerusalem fighting the Romans away over the tall stone wall, hoping the terrible end that was foreseen will pass away?
Can we still feel the hunger in the bodies of our families and loved ones, in the air, that was so relevant at the time?
Can we feel the fear in our hearts of being exiled from our homes?
Can we still hear Jeremiah the prophet begging us to repent before the horrible decrees will occur?
Living in Israel and even more so in the holy city of Jerusalem, one always feels the voices of the past echoing in their minds and hearts, as they walk down the beautiful streets of the city; especially when the holidays or sad days of lamentations arrive, the voices of the past come alive.
If you were to close your eyes and pay close attention you can almost hear and feel our rich Jewish history, right under your feet.
So as I walked down to the Kotel through the beautifully paved and groomed gardens leading down to the wall, I stopped and closed my eyes.
There were no cobble stones, no groomed grassy areas, no cars and no traffic lights; no baby carriages and pretty dresses.
There was a terrible siege on my beautiful city. There were hostile Roman soldiers standing outside the walls of the holy city just waiting to destroy, kill and take over.
Hunger and fear were everywhere. I looked all around, I was looking for Yirmiyahu, the prophet. Why didn’t we listen to him? Was his voice harsh and demanding? Was he making things up? Was he not a reliable source?
And then I saw the prophet, walking down the streets calling out to all the Jews, telling them to repent before it’s too late. His face was so sad as the tears rolled down his beard; he had so much love in his eyes. Didn’t the people see it?
I continued walking until I reached the Western Wall, but there it was the holy Temple still standing in its place. I walked up to the woman’s section where I could get a better look at the most beautiful sight in the world. The holy Temple was standing in its place, yet the atmosphere was tense and frightening. How much longer would the holy house stand?
The Kohanim rushed around doing their daily worship, and the Levi’im tried to sing with all their might, yet the sounds that were heard all around were not happy ones.
All seemed so worried and yet hopeful that the end of this holy Temple wouldn’t come.
I couldn’t imagine any longer the thought of the evil Romans breaking down the walls of the old city and coming to burn down the most beautiful home in the world. That was too much for me to relive once again.
I opened my eyes and there I was opposite the western wall, no hunger in the air, no Roman soldiers, no fear and no Yirmiyahu. Where were they all?
Can we truly feel and live our past, or is it all left behind? Would we listen to Jeremiah if he were to come and speak to us again? Can we hear the Kohanim and Levi’im crying?
I kissed the Kotel as the tears rolled down my cheeks. What can we still feel today when we have everything we can possibly imagine? Do we really miss the worship of the Kohanim? Do we long to hear the Levi’im singing to Hashem in His house of prayer?
I closed my eyes once more and I could suddenly hear sounds, but they were not from the past, they were from the future. The same eyes which could see the past events, can definitely see the future events as well.
There was no hunger in the air, and no Roman soldiers.
The prophets were all there and the Levi’im were singing louder than ever. The Kohanim were running around so fast worshipping Hashem in the final Temple, and all of the people of Israel were dressed like kings and queens, praying and thanking Hashem for finally returning home.
I opened my eyes once again, gave a kiss to the holy wall and walked backwards gazing at the Kotel itself.
I don’t know when we will merit seeing the full redemption. But I do know that the holy Temple of Hashem will return and I pray that I will be right there to rejoice with all the people of Israel, G-d willing soon.