When Bill Gates was in Israel he only stayed in Tel Aviv. He said he was too busy and didn’t have time to visit Jerusalem. How strange. All of humanity in all of history has yearned to visit Yerushalayim, the spiritual capital of the world, yet this smart and wealthy man can’t make time?
I live on a street called Shivat Tzion, the Return to Zion, and most mornings you can see the Golden Dome of the Old City. As I look over to the Temple Mount, I think to myself, maybe my mother, who made aliyah to Yerushalayim and is now a guide for Temple Mount tours, is walking on that holy platform right now, and helping yet another person connect to the mystery and the wellspring of the Eternal City.
Once, when I led a Birthright tour, we had a Jewish Ethiopian guard. After a talk I gave about Jerusalem to the students, he came up and said: “When my grandfather was on his deathbed, he whispered the word ‘Yerushalayim’ and then his soul left him.” Indeed, Yerushalayim connects between Heaven and Earth and saying the name may ease the passage of the neshama to the next world. But it’s not only about the soul going up, it’s also about the spirit coming down: Like for the old Ethiopian, Zion should be the passion of every Jew – to see the revelation of Hashem coming down to “sit” in the earthly and rebuilt Yerushalayim.