Love of the Land

For the week ending 4 February 2012 / 10 Shevat 5772

Yerushalayim Service, Peace and Perfection

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The eternal capital of the Jewish homeland has a name bestowed upon it by the Creator as a combination of names given to it by two of His favorite sons.

After brilliantly passing the Divine test of his faith by being prepared to offer his beloved son as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah, the Patriarch Avraham called the location Yireh. He prophetically anticipated that this would be the site of the Beit Hamikdash and named in honor of the service to G-d which would take place there.

In an earlier phase of his life, Avraham was welcomed, after his miraculous military victory over four mighty kings, by Malki-Tzedek, King of "Shalem" who brought out bread and wine to greet him. The welcomer is better known to us as Shem, the righteous son of Noach, who gave the city he ruled its name.

The Midrash describes the Divine consideration that went into endowing the city with its final name.

"If I call it Yireh like Avraham did, the righteous Malki-Tzedek will feel slighted, and if I call it Shalem like Malki-Tzedek did, the righteous Avraham will feel slighted. I will therefore call it Yireh Shalem Yerushalayim to satisfy both."

Shalem means peace and perfection while Yireh means service of G-d. Only when man serves Hashem can he hope to achieve the peace and perfection symbolized by Yireh-shalem Yerushalayim.

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