This Year in 1000 Oaks. Next Year...?
Dov Ben Essine from 1000 Oaks, California wrote:
Why is it that we are still saying "Shana Haba B'yerushalayim - Next Year in Jerusalem," since any Jew can now go there and live there of his own free will? Thanks for your answer.
Dear Dov Ben Essine,
The story is told of a poor man, Shmelke, who lived in a small village. The town folks wanted to support him, but without him feeling like he was accepting charity. So they came up with a plan: They hired him to sit at the city gates and wait for the Mashiach.
One day, a traveler approached the city and asked Shmelke what he was doing. "This is my job," Shmelke said. "My job is to wait here to greet the Mashiach."
"Does it pay well?" asked the traveler.
"Not really," said Shmelke, "but it's steady work."
When we say "Next year in Jerusalem" we mean that all Jews should actually be in Israel and in Jerusalem (not just as tourists!). We mean Jerusalem as it is ideally meant to be - with the Temple, the Sanhedrin and a Jewish Monarch. We're still waiting. Even we here in Jerusalem say "Next year in Jerusalem!"