“Next year in Jerusalem”
It is impossible to understand the customs, not only the religious ones, in Jewish culture, without turning back to the earliest history of the Jewish nation and ancient Israel. Many of those customs symbolically refer to the rituals performed in the Temple of Jerusalem; however, they follow them to a far more modest extent. Also, the Judaica presented on our website reminds us of the function and sometimes even the appearance of objects in the temple, the existence of which a pious Jew should never forget.
According to tradition, the Jews are descended from the patriarch Abraham, who lived around 2000 BC. Initially, they were a nation of shepherds and nomads, but soon they succeeded in creating a strong and independent country in the territory of today’s Palestine. One of the most important manifestations of strengthening the national and religious identity of the Israelites was the construction of the monumental Temple of Jerusalem around 1000 BC by King Solomon. This was where the so-called Most Holy Place (also known as the Holy of Holies) was located. According to the faith, it was sanctified by the divine presence in which the Ark of the Covenant was kept together with the Tables of the Ten Commandments. It is to this place that the aron (ha-) kodesz refers in today’s synagogues. In the 6th century BC, the invasion of the king of Babylonia, Nebuchadnezzar, put an end to the ancient state of Israel. The temple was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt, thus creating the so-called Second Temple. In the 4th century BC, Palestine was occupied by Alexander of Macedon, and, in 63 BC, it was taken over by the Romans. In 70 AD, Roman troops demolished the Second Temple, and, in 135 AD, the Roman Emperor Hadrian drove the Jews out of Jerusalem and forbade them from entering the city.
In the history of the Jewish people, the times of diaspora, i.e. the scattering, have begun, which, apart from the contemporary state created in 1948, continues to this day.
The Temple of Jerusalem has never been rebuilt. What remains of it is the Wailing Wall (West Wall). According to tradition, sheets of paper with requests to God are placed in the crevices between the stones from which it has been created. The longing for a single centre of religious worship and the reunification of the entire Jewish nation preoccupies the life of a religious Jew. It is also expressed in faith, that, after the coming of the Messiah, the Temple will be rebuilt.
This is also the genesis of the famous wish Leszana Haba B Jiruszalaim (“Next year in Jerusalem”, meaning the Holy City, the seat of the Temple), which is spoken during the Passover. Those celebrating the holiday in Jerusalem add: “In Jerusalem rebuilt”, emphasizing the fact that there is no Temple there.
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