Friday, December 21, 2007

Yerushalayim, Sir, Yerushalayim!

Dear Sir,

A few weeks ago I started receiving an unusual type of spam in my work email. I was subscribed (without my permission) to your excellent halacha mailing list. (It happens to be a wonderful idea and I wish you much success with this endeavor.) While I felt it was not proper derech eretz to subscribe someone to a list without their permission, even if it is for Torah, ("derech eretz kadmah laTorah" after all), especially using someone's work and not personal email address, it is still nice to learn a few halachos a day. Surely no one would object to Torah and this no doubt was exactly what the conceivers of this new Halacha list were thinking when they scoured the web looking for any email addresses they could find listed on the Internet of people working at frum organizations.

The email I received read:
Welcome to the Daily halacha e-mail!

Two short halacha's each day - Monday through Friday - plus Friday a special Halacha L'kovod Shabbos and candle lighting times for NYC.

The last part upset me. You listed candle-lighting times for "the heart and soul" of the Jewish people, New York City - but completely omitted Yerushalayim! So I wrote to you:
Please unsubscribe me.

I don't need to be part of a mailing list that forgets to list lighting time for Yerushalyaim Ir Hakodesh!

Kol Tuv,

And you promptly replied:
Hi Pinchas,
You have been unsubscribed.
We do not list lighting time for Yerushalayim because we only have some 50 subscribers from EY, but we have 2500 in the NY area. I hope you understand that.
Of course I understood - but there was even more that you didn't understand! Still I decided not to pursue the matter until today. When I was once again subscribed to this list but this time you used my Kumah mailing address (and presumably everyone else here at Kumah.)

Well, if you are going to start emailing Kumah we are going to explain to you, and all our visitors why omitting mention of Yerushalayim Ir Hakodesh is not a light matter. It demonstrates the golus-yid's (exile Jew's) total and complete detachment from his roots.

Now let us forget the obvious question of how you could claim you only have 50 subscribers from Eretz Yisrael, when you are subscribing people without permission and don't even know who we are or where we live. Let us set that aside. Let us pretend all 2550 subscribers were living in New York City, the center of the Jewish world, after all. I would still argue that Yerushalayim should be mentioned if another city is listed.

I quote Gil Troy, who wrote:
In synagogues throughout the world, when taking the Torah out of the Ark, Jews sing "kee mi tzion tezeh Torah, u davar Hashem me'Yerushalayim," the Torah will come forth from Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. "Zion," the Biblical name for Jerusalem, is not just the three-thousand-year-old capital of the Jewish people, it is the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual center of Jewish gravity. Mentioned over six hundred times in the Bible, it was the city of David the heroic, who conquered it, and of Solomon the wise, who built the first of the two Temples there. During the many centuries of exile, Jerusalem symbolized both the glorious past of the Jewish people -and their hopes for the future. Much of Jewish prayer, in fact, entailed reflecting on what once was in Jerusalem as a way of conceptualizing what again might be there.
Sir, the Jew must always be focused on Yerushalayim. The clearest example of this we learn from celebrating Purim in Yerushalayim on the 15th of Adar. Our sages explained that because of the extra day needed in Shushan, that city would celebrate a day later then the rest of the world. But this presented a dilemma! How dare could the Jewish people honor the Persian city, the New York City of the day, above Yerushalayim? What an embarrassment to Yerushalayim it would be - even if only 50 Jews lived there at the time! A solution was devised (all cities that were walled in the time of Yehoshua Ben Nun would celebrate on the 15th and this would include Yerushalayim) just to avoid this embarrassment and to keep Yerushalayim central in the minds of the Jewish nation.

Today, more than ever, at a time when the nations of the world and some of our misguided Jewish brethren speak openly about plans to divide Yerushalayim, about plans to rip apart our true heart and soul, is it absolutely imperative that we ALWAYS keep Yerushalayim in mind and that we not forget about it while giving other cities precedence. For if we ourselves forget about Yerushalayim how could we have the audacity to complain to others about the injustice of dividing it?

So I repeat, and I speak for everybody at (and Please unsubscribe all the accounts you signed up from our organization so long as you continue to forget to list the candle-lighting time for Yerushalayim ahead of the candle-lighting time for New York City.

I will close with Mr. Troy's eloquent words:
"Im eshkachech Yerushalayim, tishkach yemeeni": If I forget, if I FORSAKE, you O Jerusalem, may my right hand lose its cunning, may my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth. If we abandon Jerusalem, we betray the essence of our being, that which makes us human, our hands and our mouths, our bodies and our souls.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


You could have also mentioned that the next time there is a Shabbos MeVorachim the Moled they give is not from BoroPark,Lakewood or even Monsey but from the true center of the Jewish World - Yerushalim Ir HaKodesh.

10:43 PM  
Blogger Chai18 said...

spot on

12:38 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...


All I can say is Yasher Koach. You are right on target.

4:43 PM  

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