Fireworks at the US Embassy, Jerusalem (Courtesy of FB screenshot: US Embassy Jerusalem)
Although July 4, is tomorrow, the US Embassy in Israel pre-emptively celebrated America’s 243rd Independence Day on Tuesday. The gala event was hosted by the US Embassy in Jerusalem. During his speech, the Ambassador, David Friedman, said: “leshanah Hazeh BiYerushalayim” (This year in Jerusalem).
At first glance, saying a phrase like ‘this year in Jerusalem’ may seem like a rather insignificant statement. But those who understand the wider context of the phrase are prone to interpret those words differently. That’s because there is a phrase that Jews proclaim during their prayers at the end of Yom Kippur and during the Passover feast that goes: “lshanah habah biyirushalayim habnuyah’’ (next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem). The phrase was initially coined by 11th century Spanish Rabbi Isaac Ibn Ghiyatt who wrote a poem called Yedidekha me-Emesh which contains the phrase. Last year, when the 242nd Independence Day celebration took place in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu relayed the passage to Friedman: “lshanah habah ’’ (next year in Jerusalem).
The ‘rebuilt Jerusalem part refers to the rebuilding of the Temple. However, Friedman made a clever play on words by replacing the phrase ‘leshanah habah’ (next year) with ‘leshanah hazeh (this year). And although he stopped short of saying the ‘rebuilt Jerusalem part’, it can be implied by those familiar with the phrase, that the natural continuation of the sentence is ‘in re-built Jerusalem’. That’s because there is no other context in the Hebrew language where the phrase ‘this year in Jerusalem’ or ‘next year in Jerusalem’ is used aside from the continuation of the phrase which invokes the building of the Temple.
Therefore, it is entirely plausible that Trump’s Israel Ambassador, David Friedman implied that the Third Temple will be rebuilt this year in Jerusalem. And right after he said it, he made the Jewish blessing on a glass of wine and drank it.
Just two days after swinging a 10-pound hammer to inaugurate the Pilgrimage Road archaeological site, Friedman showed no signs of fatigue. During his speech, the ambassador made a compelling connection of America’s founding fathers to Jerusalem.
The ambassador said: “The Declaration of Independence provided that every human being was created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
“The notion that essential human rights came from God and not man was a revolutionary concept. It made those rights permanent, undeniable and immune from the vagaries of politics, not only in the United States but around the world. How did our founding fathers know which rights God considered unalienable? Remember, the Declaration of Independence doesn’t just say these rights are important – it says these rights are divine. Well, I’m sure many of our founding fathers read John Locke and Thomas Hobbs and other great thinkers. But I’m even more certain that they read the Bible. Especially because all of the unalienable rights identified in the Declaration of Independence find their home in the Bible itself. Many believe – and certainly, our founding fathers believed – that the word of our creator is expressed in the Bible, and, as recognized by the prophet Isaiah, that word emerged from the city of Jerusalem. As Isaiah said, ‘out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.’”Friedman proclaimed.
“To understand this connection between the birth of our nation and the City of Jerusalem is to understand all that has transpired since between Israel and the United States. It is to understand why the Pilgrims risked their lives in the 17th century to reach a new world and establish what many of them referred to as a ‘new Jerusalem’” he added.
As is the tradition, the event concluded with a fireworks display.