Lshanah Habaah bYerushalayim

By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 6, 2009
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Lshanah Habaah bYerushalayim, Next year in Jerusalem, is what we proclaim at the end of the Pesach Seder (as well as at the end of Yom Kippur).

It is not, primarily, the expression of a preferred destination for the following Pesach holiday, equally replaceable by Eilat, Tenerife or Hendon. Many Hagadot add the word habnuyah, rebuilt, to the end of the phrase. Were hoping for a rebuilt Temple and the

re-institution of aliyah lregel, the mass pilgrimage of the Jewish people to Jerusalem on the three foot festivals of Pesach, Shavuot and Succot (Deuteronomy 16:16).

Historians estimate that 100,000 visitors converged on Jerusalem every Pesach at the end of the Second Temple period, almost doubling the local population. (Today you can tour the infrastructure supporting that mass influx which archaeologists have uncovered in the Ophel Gardens near the Temple Mount.)

It is also a straightforward expression of the 18-centuries-long Jewish dream to return to the Land of Israel. Our ancestors, who annually declared their faithfulness to that dream, might have had a hard time understanding Jews who today have the opportunity freely to fulfil it but who decide that they would rather not.

Finally, its a hope for a better future for the Jewish people and the whole world.We pray that the utopian turn history took with the exodus from Egypt continues and completes itself through the dawning of an age of universal peace and freedom.

    Last updated: 12:31pm, March 6 2009