The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Jerusalem of My Soul

Twilight in Jerusalem.

I've been procrastinating ever since I returned on Monday morning . . . Though this post, the first in the series of my report on the trip, is not a complete as I would have liked it, I felt the need to get it out now. Its rough edges and mistakes, then, are to be viewed with a forgiving eye.

SO without further ado, I present:

A collection of my thoughts and my experiences on my first three days in Israel in the Holy City of Jerusalem, along with numerous pictures in the style unique to Letters of Thought.

Just click on the link . . .

My first view of the Israel's coast - from the plane.

On Thursday evening, the third of Shvat, I departed on an all Lubavitch Birthright group.

I've traveled extensively around America and Europe in the past. I've been from Asti to Zhitomer, but never to Israel -the land that I face three times a day in my prayers.

El Al's slogan is הכי בבית בעולם, literally 'the most at home in the world, and frankly, I have never experienced a flight that was so heimish before. As was to be almost expected from a flight almost entirely of Jews, the placed buzzed with chatte;, people walked about, schmoozed in the aisles, helped themselves to snacks and drank bottles of wine from the inflight kitchen all in the presence of the indifferent (helpless?) stewardesses. After all though, why shouldn't a bunch of Jews feel at home with each other.

We arrived Friday morning, and left Ben Gurion for Jerusalem, only barely missing President Bush's traffic causing motorcade on his return from his time spent in the Holy Land.

We arrived in the Hotel Dan Panorama (which, by the way, has expensive Wi-Fi, nice -though not amazing rooms, and an unbelievable breakfast buffet), and set up for Shabbos.

Mincha time came, and before setting off for kabbalas Shabbos by the Kosel, we made a minyan in the hotel.
While praying the words that I say thrice daily ' . . . to Jerusalem your city return in mercy . . . and rebuild it speedily in our days as an eternal edifice' danced before my eyes. Here I stood in Jerusalem, the city that I faced in my prayers, that I besought the Creator to rebuild, that I kept in front of my eyes . . . Here I stood in that very Jerusalem.

The prayers ended.
The sun began to set over the hills and roof tops, bathing white walls of Jerusalem stone in hews of rose and champagne.

Passing the lone windmill built by Montefiore, it's sails unmoving since there creation - frozen, as if in time by, a lack of wind to turn them - we descended into the gei ben hinnom, the valley that lent it's name to gehenom, Hell, and ascended to the gates of Jerusalem.

As we wound our way through the streets of the old city, we were joined by dozens of others. Like rivulets merging into the great river, and then making their way as one into the sea, we all flowed towards one point . . .

The sun set, rose and champagne mellowed to shades of indigo and violet, the air was cold, and we began to sing. A group of Argentinian students turned a corner and began to sing with us,
"Hakodesh Baruch Hu, Anachnu Ohavim Otcha -The Holy One, Blessed be He, we love you!"

Ecstatically they began to jump up and down, twirling and spinning, we danced through the thickening crowds . . .
And then we stopped.
We could all see it ahead of us, cast in lights, calling to us . . .

The Kosel, the Western Wall.


The City of David:

The Entrance to Ir David.

A land of . . . pomegranates

"All the nations of the earth shall behold that G-d's name is proclaimed upon you and they shall fear you"

A Group Shot

The far end of the Western Wall

An ancient Mikvah, from within.

The Chuldah Gates

Note the back of the car: Ein Od Milvado -there is nothing besides Him

The Western Wall Tunnels


The two soldiers hy"d killed in Chevron only two weeks before our visit.

By Yad Vashem

The most power testament to the Holocaust - an opening to the Judean hills and Jerusalem.

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cheerio said...

there is no blue like the blue of the sky in israel, no stone as golden as the jerusalem stone.
I miss it!
Seeing these pictures, reading your descriptions brings my memories back with a vengeance.

Batya said...

Gorgeous pictures, but ... Jerusalem...
Next time, watch the sunset in Shiloh.

Mottel said...

I've seen them before when I did J-pix and put up your images . . . Stunning.

therapydoc said...

Makes me homesick. So beautiful. You're a terrific photographer.