Our Rabbi & Yom Yerushalayim

Yom Yerushalayim
28th of Iyar 5727 - The Day of the Liberation of Jerusalem

That Very Wednesday
"...We are reminded of that very Wednesday. How is it possible not to remember? It is impossible to forget. An emissary of the Chief Rabbi [of Tzahal], Rav Goren, came to me. To hear the news, we were, of course, incredibly excited. Afterwards a telephone message arrived from Rav Goren. We did not have a telephone in our house. It was therefore quiet, but messages sometimes came to us through our neighbors. Thus, they sent in the name of Rav Goren that he wanted to let us know that they were drawing near, they were currently located in the area of Rockefeller [Museum] and they were going to the Kotel, and that I should be ready to travel there. When the driver arrived I asked him: ‘How did you enter?’ He said to me: ‘All of the gates were open before us.’ He brought me in an army jeep. We drove and drove. I asked him: ‘Where are you going to bring me?’ Suddenly he said to me: ‘We are on the Temple Mount.’ I was dismayed. We were across from their building [the Dome of the Rock]. The passage was in fact through the Lion’s Gate. It was then impossible to approach any other way. They therefore brought me in through this passage. There were groups of young men there. Large groups of the soldier of our Army were passing from all sides, and I heard a voice yell to me: ‘Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah!’ This was Chanan Porat. There were other Torah scholars, a large camp of soldiers of the Army [who were] Torah scholars! We arrived at the Kotel. We danced, we rejoiced, we were moved, we embraced and kissed each other with the soldiers. There is no need to relate the genius, the righteousness and the holiness of our Master, the Chief Rabbi of Tzahal (Shilt"a) [ztz"l], who went with courage at the front of the Army, at the front of the conquerors with two weapons. Do you know what his two weapons were? A small Torah scroll and a small shofar! Afterwards, he said to me: ‘We have completed this visit at the Kotel, now I am going to Hevron.’ I jumped. I was dismayed. I was afraid. I could not understand. The Master of the Universe! What is the meaning of this? He was going to Hevron with the two weapons, with the small Torah scroll and with the small shofar! The next day they informed me in the afternoon: Rav Goren is at his father-in-law’s house, Rav David Cohain [This was already after the conquest of Ma’arat Ha-Machpelah - the Cave of Machpelah]. This was how it occurred. ‘Were our mouth as full of song as the sea...we still could not thank you sufficiently’ (from the prayer ‘Nishmat’ recited on Shabbat and holidays). How is it possible, Master of the Universe, not to see this? How is it possible not to fill ourselves with faith, how is it possible not to fill ourselves with the most glorious holiness for what the Master of the Universe has done, does and will do for us, before the entire world, before all of the non-Jews, before all of the believers and all of the nonbelievers?" (Sichot Rabbenu, Yom Yerushalayim 5733 [1974], #9).

Right after the liberation of Temple Mount, our Rabbi and "The Nazir" were brought there in an army jeep. They were not told about this and they suddenly realized they were on the Temple Mount, but decided it was acceptable for the moment to be on the Temple Mount based on the concept of "kiboosh" (acquiring land through conquering). In general, it is forbidden to be on the Temple Mount at this time (because we are impure). On the way back from the Kotel, our Rabbi wanted to return by a different route, but they were told that it was dangerous so they went through the Temple Mount. (Iturei Yerushalayim #6)

It was so very natural that the first citizens who arrived at the Kotel on the first day of its liberation were our Rabbi and Rav David Cohain "The Nazir."

Regarding the prayers of Minchah which he prayed with the paratroopers, our Rabbi said: "This was like the prayer of Neilah (the concluding prayers of Yom Kippur) in the yeshiva."

When the book "Be-Shesh Acharei Ha-Milchamah" of Yosi Gamzu was published, it included the song "Ha-Kotel - The Kotel" and one of the stanzas began: "He stood facing the Kotel, with us, the elderly Rav," accompanied by the picture of our Rabbi. Our Rabbi said: "I am not elderly." (Gadol Shimusha p. 17 #20)