Going to Yeshivat Ohr Etziyyon tomorrow for my interview...
Leaving yeshiva on Sunday, going to my cousins, and leaving Tuesday morning, on the same flight as Tuvia.
Wow, it's been a year already...
As the title implies, we had an shabbaton in the Old City this Shabbos. We stayed at Netiv Aryeh, in their dorms. It was cool going to sleep, waking up, and I was right there, right where the Beis HaMikdash was not even 2000 years ago...
Friday night we davened at the Kotel, and Avi told me he didn't want to do Kabbalas Shabbos--it was too noisy. So I did it. It was great, so fun. I did Carlebach, as was wanted by the guys, and lotsa people joined. But in order to get everyone to hear, I had to go louder, but the only way I was able to do that was go up a note (at least I think that's what I did). I was worried I wouldn't be able to reach the notes, but BH, I was able to reach, and if I do say so myself, quite nice. After Lecha Dodi, we were dancing for like, 10 minutes about. As R' Lipman mentioned at Shaloshudes, Jews from all walks joined us, from American Yeshivish, to American Mordern Orthodox, to Israeli Chiloni, Chayyal, Chassidim, Chareidim, Israeli Yeshivish. It was awesome, such achdus.
After the eating, Jaunty (he's back! Woo!) went with us to Mei'ah She'arim to go tisch hopping. We went to Slonim and Toldos Aharon. As someone who loves tischen (pl.), I must say, it was quite shvach. At Slonim, all the niggunim (tunes) just weren't. Well, they were niggunim, but they weren't musical, they were like Rosh HaShana-Yom Kippur niggunim, and weren't nice at all. Then we got to the last one which was musical, kind of fast, and it was great--but then the other guys wanted to go. Then we went to Toldos Aharon where, also, wasn't so good. The Rebbe was making Qiddush. It was around 1145 at night. He finished Qiddush at around 12, and then washed, made HaMotzi, and then had some fish, and they sang Kol Mekadeish, but also, it wasn't so musical, it was just like, kind of saying it with a tune, but not singing. Daniel and I left at 1230, after everyone else had left earlier at around 12. I guess it was just one of those Shabbosim.
We davened Shachris at Menachem Tziyyon, across from the Menorah (from the Temple Institute) in the Cardo, had a small tour around the Jewish Quarter from Jaunty, and lunch. At 430, we had our tour of the Muslim Quarter...
I must say, it was amazing, it was beautiful. Arabs all around, a few Jews here and there (70 families we're told), 5 or 6 yeshivos (no, we didn't go around the whole thing, the the part near the Kotel). It was dirty, garbage all over the place, people living on top of each other. The yeshiva Ateres Kohanim, it was soo nice--it was cramped, barely any room to move for 150 guys. Arabs all over Yerushalayim. Wonderful, I don't think it can get better. And you know what the best part was? Wow, this was amazing. while we were looking through the "Iron" Gate (a wooden green door at an entrance to Har HaBayyis (Temple Mount)) onto Har HaBayyis, just even to take a look to what it looks like, to see where the Beis HaMikdash used to be, the Kedusha that was once there, and, still is a bit, 1 man and 3 women just casually walk right in, right in front of us, on to Har HaBayyis. Just, straight through, the police not stopping them, just walking through. I thought to myself, wow, I'm so glad I'm here, I get to see Arabs walking on the holiest palce on Earth.
And the best part is: Whenever we look at Har HaBayyis, we see this gold, glaring reminder that we don't have it. It's there, just sticking out from the middle, as ugly as ever (waking up at 1615 from my Shabbos nap to the Arabs "davening Mincha" (lehavdil alfei alafos) was especially great).
For those of you who couldn't tell, there's a puddle here right next to the computer, from all sarcasm that was just dripping from that last two paragraphs.
Arabs, who hate us more than Red Sox and Yankees fans hate each other, living in our Holy City. Not to mention that somehow, the Muslim "Quater" is the biggest quater of the city (leave it to the British to screw something like that up). Baruch HaShem, there are 70 Jewish families who live there, 6 yeshivos there. The security is actually quite good--all throughout the tour, there were police here and threre, undercover police to escort those who wanted; we saw Jews walking back and forth, chassidim, yeshiva guys, women with kids. It was nice, it's quite safe, but garbage all over the place, so cramped, graffiti everywhere; it smelled like hash (not like I know what that is or anything....). It is true what the Gemara says, the closer you get to the Beis HaMikdash, the more desecrated it got. It was terrible.
How'd it get like this? We weren't keeping the Torah. That's why the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed, twice (the first because of the big 3: immorality, murder, idol worhip; the second, because of hatred of fellow Jews). If we just keep the Torah like we are supposed to, and be menschen (pl. of mensch), the Arabs will not be there anymore, we will have the Beis HaMikdash, Maschiach will be here. R' Lipman mentioned that everyone is involdved somewhat in kiruv, not just people who work in it. If one is acts nicely towards everyone, says hi to people in the street, that in itself is a way of kiruv. There are many stories of great rabbanim who are remembered by these random people because they said "good morning" to them everyday, or something like that. So simple.
Yes, there are many Jews who aren't keeping the Torah. Most of them are under the category of tinnok shenishbah-a baby that was captured. In that case, the baby isn't really at fault, because, it was captured as a baby, what does the baby know? Most of the people like that we have today, are considered t"sh because that's how they grew up, with no Torah around them; it wasn't there fault. Yes, work needs to be done to bring them back, but you never know what a simple "hi" can do.
Well, I didn't expect this post to go there necessarily, but like, we just gotta keep the Torah. And yes, I'm talking to myself too, don't worry.
Please God, soon, we will be zoche to have Yerushalayim all to ourselves, with Maschiach sitting on his throne, and Har HaBayyis in our hands once again, with the Beis HaMIkdash on it.
PS - Avishai.
There, I menioned you.