Zionism and The Rabbi’s Ancient Word Code

Did the Rabbis of old who authored the classic Jewish Shabbat liturgy still used today embed certain Zionist messages in the prayers that were specifically intended to draw attention to specific ideas about the Land of Israel in general and the City of Jerusalem in particular?

Were these Zionist messages and ideas lost over time? The Rabbis inserted one phrase from the Torah over and over again in everyday Jewish prayer. It is recited twelve times bythe praying Jew on Shabbat. One time for each of Jacob’s twelve sons.

The verse is from Exodus 15:18 and is translated as “G-d Shall Reign For Eternity.”

On a Shabbat the phrase is repeated many times: in the evening at Ma’ariv, in the morning at Shacharit and at Mussaf, and in the afternoon at Mincha for a total of 12 times. No other phrase from the Chumash (the Five Books of Moses) is repeated so often on Shabbat. The next most often repeated phrase is the Sh’ma and it is recited much less.

Exodus 15:18 is the final verse in the famous Song at the Sea, sung by Moshe [Moses] and the entire Jewish People after the crossing of the Red Sea in the weekly Torah portion Beshallach. We recite the full Song every Shabbat morning.

The entire Jewish People sang the Song. An interesting thing to note is that this was one of the moments in history when total Jewish unity was demonstrated. The people all sang the same song and everyone was singing it for the first time. Did the entire people experience a Divinely inspired vision? If they did, it must be pointed out that a part of the prophecy was the commitment to build a Sanctuary (Holy Temple, Beit HaMikdash) for G-d in the City of Jerusalem.

In the verse immediately before Exodus 15:18 the Temple Mount is described as the foundation (of the world) and the holy place of G-d.

The praying Jew is meant to internalize the message of the Song at the Sea many times throughout the year, and especially each Shabbat. The Song at the Sea is not just to be recalled at the Pesach Seder. We don’t even recite the Song at the Seder. But we do recite it every Shabbat. The message is: The earth is G-d’s. The earth will always be G-d’s. G-d as owner decides what part of the earth is designated for who and for what purpose.

G-d has chosen just one people to have a special, unique responsibility to worship Him with ritual sacrifice on His Holy Mountain in the Holy City of Jerusalem in His Holy Land, the Land of Israel.

This people – the Jewish People – were miraculously delivered from bondage in Egypt and we recall that every Friday night when we recite Kiddush over wine.

The Jewish People’s reciting of “G-d Shall Reign For Eternity” twelve times every shabbat is undoubtedly meant to be a reminder that the Jewish People have a responsibility on the Temple Mount. Are we missing the message?

“G-d Shall Reign For Eternity” is four words in Hebrew.

When modern Jews read a four word combination they are probably limited in their ability to place the four words in the context of the original source of the phrase. The Chumash, it should be clear, held much more of a central place in the lives of the Rabbis who compiled the Siddur and the lives of the members of their communities than to us today. The Chumash was their literature, history, study object, sacred scripture, poetry and music. Talmud and Tanach would not have been as familiar to the common Jew at the time before the printing press as the Chumash was.

And the verse the Rabbis choose to use again and again from the Chumash – “G-d Shall Reign For Eternity.”

Jews must re-internalize the message in its proper context: a striving for the re-built Temple on the Temple Mount in our days.

And until that time, let us do things that the generation of our grandparents and great-grandparents could not do because there was no sovereign Jewish state with control over Jerusalem. Let us examine how we can recreate a Jewish presence with formal prayer services on the Temple Mount.

As Israel’s greatest national poet Uri Zvi Greenberg (1896-1981) wrote: Whomever controls the Temple Mount controls all of the Land of Israel.

By Moshe Phillips
Moshe Phillips is national director of Herut North America’s US section. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and more about Herut can be found here: https://herutna.org/.

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