Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Even Selichot prove you cannot separate Judaism from love of Zion

During the weeks before Yom Kippur, Jews throughout the world add special supplications to prayers called Selichot. The theme of Selichot is repentance and praying for forgiveness. But even within that theme, you cannot separate Judaism from the longing for Zion that comes in all prayers.

Here are some of the selections from today's Selichot (Nusach Ashkenaz):

The Lord is great and highly extolled in the city of our God, the mountain of His Sanctuary. Beautiful in its panoramic vista, the joy of all the earth is Mount Zion, on the northern edge [of Jerusalem] the city of the great King. Do good as You see fit, to Zion, may You rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Turn away Your anger and Your rage from Your city, Jerusalem, Your holy mountain. To recount in Zion, the Name, Lord, and His praise in Jerusalem. And may the Lord be pleased with the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem as in the days of old and in earlier years. The builder of Jerusalem is the Lord, the banished ones of Israel, He will gather. For the Lord will not cast off His people, and His inheritance, He will not abandon.
Then comes an entire piyyut (poem) with 23 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet, all discussing the Jewish longing for Jerusalem and its rebuilding. 
[Inhabitants] of Jerusalem, praise the Lord. O God, exalted with myriads of [angelic] hosts, seeking its welfare from the beginning to the end [of the year] providing it with benevolent rain. Your beautiful daughters [without sin] are like the corner of a king’s palace which are adorned with decorations. Open your mouths and sing together ruins of Jerusalem [when you are rebuilt].
One stanza even refers to the Stone that is the rock of the Dome of the Rock.
Let Jerusalem be called the throne of God in the coming times. The precious stone (the Temple’s foundation) will be recognized by throngs for its grace when all Israel comes to be seen when they beseech the Lord of Hosts [for His kindness] in Jerusalem.

I would bet that this poem alone mentions Jerusalem more times than all of published Arabic poetry between the 10th and 19th centuries combined.

And then in every day of Selichot we say:
Remember Your congregation which You have acquired of old, You have redeemed the tribe of Your inheritance, this mountain of Zion where You have dwelled. Remember, oh Lord, the affection of Jerusalem, the love of Zion, forget not until eternity. Remember, oh Lord,, to the sons of Edom, the day of Jerusalem, [it was they] who said, “Raze it, raze it to its very foundations.” You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to be gracious to her, for the appointed time has come.
One can understand that the Kinot - the poems said on Tisha B'Av - would be filled with references to Jerusalem and Zion. But Jewish prayers and poems, piyyutim and pesukim quoted, are intertwined with Jerusalem and Zion and the longing for the Land of Israel. While we do pray for personal things, Jewish prayers also ask for national redemption. Even the short prayer for rain is asking for rain in Israel, not the Diaspora. 

Judaism without Israel is simply not Judaism. "Anti-Zionist Judaism" is an oxymoron. 

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!