A prophecy fulfilled

Every Shabbat, I pass through a public park where dozens of parents and children, senior citizens on benches, teenagers in circles, and just ordinary folk are idling away a Jerusalem Sabbath afternoon. In a flash, the words of the prophet Zechariah come to life before my eyes: “Old men and old women will again sit in the squares of Jerusalem, each with staff in hand because of their great age. And the streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets” (Zech. 8:4–5).

It was precisely this image that Rabbi Akiva conjured up in the Talmudic story in which he laughed at the sight of foxes prowling in the Holy of Holies of the destroyed Temple, while the three rabbis who accompanied him cried. His imagination carried him far beyond the immediate reality, to the distant future and eternal truth. I feel the full intensity of God’s abundant goodness, which has allowed me to live in Jerusalem, the royal sanctuary and the desired destination of ordinary people who wish to live a life of love and goodness.


Excerpted and reprinted with permission of the author from “A Royal Sanctuary: Three Scenes for Jerusalem Day” (The Israel Democracy Institute website, May 27, 2014)

Benjamin (Benny) Lau

Posted by Benjamin (Benny) Lau

Rabbi Dr. Benjamin “Benny” Lau is the rabbi of Jerusalem's Ramban Synagogue and the Director of the 929 Tanakh B'Yachad daily Bible study initiative. Previously, he was the Director of the Human Rights and Judaism in Action program at the Israel Democracy Institute, and was the Director of the Center for Judaism and Society, the Institute for Social Justice, and the Beit Midrash for Women at Beit Morasha of Jerusalem.

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