Rabbi’s Commentary

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Ask the Rabbi: Attachment to Israel

November 1, 2016

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein

Dear Friend of The Fellowship,

Today I answer the question, “how did the Jews maintain their attachment to Israel throughout centuries of exile?”

Well, to fulfill their vow never to forget the Promised Land during their exile, the Jews introduced the theme of Israel into virtually every aspect of daily life and routine. This enduring attachment to the land of Israel is beautifully expressed in the words of the Psalmist: “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy." (Psalm 137:5-6)

To this day, Jews everywhere face toward Jerusalem when reciting their daily prayers. A prayer for return to Zion is part of the standard Jewish blessing over meals. The High Holy Days services and the Passover seder meal conclude with the fervent hope and promise of "Next year in Jerusalem!"

The restoration of Israel and the ingathering of the exiles are at the heart of all Jewish prayers for redemption and for the coming of the Messiah. Jews commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples and the exile from Jerusalem with an annual day of fasting and mourning (Tisha b'Av). It is customary for the groom to break a glass with his right foot at the conclusion of a Jewish wedding to symbolize the destruction of the Temple. Through these customs and rituals, Jews demonstrate their trust in God's faithfulness and keep alive their hope of “returning to Zion.”

With prayers for shalom, peace,

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
President and Founder, International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada


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