Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Defining Moment

During the period of the Omer, we celebrate the two redemptions that happened in the last 60 years:

  • Yom HaAtzmaut - The 20th day of the Omer
  • Yom Yerushalayim - The 43rd day of the Omer

What is the celebration of Yom HaAtzmaut? The 20th of the Omer, 5708, was the day that David Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of Independence for the State of Israel. This was a calendar day before the British Mandate ended. The British left Eretz Yisrael some 12 hours after the Declaration was declared.

Yom HaAtzmaut obviously marks the fact that we have our own homeland, but it also marks the fact that the Jew stood up, unashamed. We woke up from our slumber, and Hashem made us successful over the course of the coming war. The name of the day is fitting. An essential Tikkun of Am Yisrael's personality had finished.

What is the celebration of Yom Yerushalayim? The Six-Day War began on the 41st day of the Omer, and ended on the 46th day of the Omer. The war was pushed upon Israel, and the Jews fought valiantly. Over the course of those 6 days, the majority of the biblical Western Eretz Yisrael came under Jewish control. There was no essential change in Jewish action between that day and the other 5 days of war. Yerushalayim was another Tikkun, adding Yerushalayim on top of Yehudah. In this way the 5708 and 5727 are related, the beginning and the end to one story.

As it says in Zechariah 12:7

והושע ה' את אהלי יהודה בראשנה, למען לא תגדל תפארת בית דויד ותפארת ישב ירושלים על יהודה

And Hashem will save the tents of Yehudah at first, so that the glory of the House of David and the glory of the residents of Yerushalayim will not be exalted more than (that of) Yehudah.

Yom HaAtzmaut has an aspect of Awakening from Below, and Yom Yerushalayim has an aspect of Awakening from Above. However, the work of Awakening from Below is not done.

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