Many of us look at Yom Yerushalayim as the day on which the IDF liberated the Old City of Jerusalem from the Jordanian forces. There’s no doubt as to the miraculous nature of this war. Even otherwise secular generals attributed much of the war to what they called “luck”, but what classical Jews term “Hashgacha Pratit”, Divine Providence.
Last night, I had the opportunity of viewing a superb History Channel documentary on the Six Day War. Awareness of the military component of the war – coupled with an understanding of the religious underpinnings of what happened 43 short years ago – is certainly crucial to the forging of a serious modern Jewish identity.
The greatest miracle, in my mind, is that many Jews actually took this one step further – and allowed the war to impact on their personal life decisions. Jerusalem became a city that many could now see themselves visiting for extended periods of time. Some were prompted to make aliyah.
The war and the re-unification of the city ignited Jewish pride and introspection the world over. Jews now began to consider: “Perhaps there WAS something in this ancient faith that warranted re-examination!”
I reached Israel for the first time 16 years later, in September of 1983.
Waking up in Jerusalem, I sometimes had to “pinch myself” to confirm that it was real. Spending my days poring over our ancient sources ultimately changed the direction of my life: I met my wife Miriam that year, and less than two years later, we were married and began to build our family. For all of this, I have tremendous “hakarat hatov”, a deep sense of gratitude.
Since then, any growth that I have experienced Jewishly, any positive Jewish influence we’ve had on our family or others…can be traced back to the Six Day War and the Liberation of Jerusalem .
Inspiration. Focus. Direction.
I’m a child of the 60’s.