Love of the Land

For the week ending 22 May 2010 / 8 Sivan 5770

Churvat Yehuda Hachassid

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

The recent Arab protests against the dedication ceremony of the Churvat Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid Synagogue in the Old City of Yerushalayim recalls something written centuries ago about the Arab attitude to a Jewish presence in the Holy City.

Rabbi Gedalia was one of the Jews who accompanied Rabbi Yehuda Hachassid (not to be confused with the famed Torah giant by the same name who wrote Sefer Hachassidim centuries earlier) and his followers in 1701 on a mission "to bring the redemption of the Jewish People closer through prayer, fasting, charity and mourning for the exile of the Holy Presence."

Taking note of the Arab resistance to Jews even establishing a synagogue so close to the Temple Mount, he called attention to the fact that the gematria (numerical equivalent of the letters) of the word shualim in the prophet's description of "foxes walk there" on the Temple Mount is equal to the term Hayeshmaeli describing the Arab who assumes that only he has a right to be there.

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