Happiness is more precious than wealth. Commit your total self to master it.
What will it take to make a strong commitment? Be aware of all the benefits of living a joyous life. Beyond all emotional, health, and material benefits, when you experience happiness and joy, you will be able to attain profound spiritual awareness and love for the Creator.
As the revered Chazon Ish wrote, "When a person merits becoming aware of the reality of the Almighty's existence, he will experience limitless joy. All of the pleasures of this world are as nothing compared to the intense pleasure of a person cleaving to his Creator." (Emunah U'bitochon 1:9)
Love Yehuda Lave
I returned August 15 to Jerusalem after a 16 day absence from Israel. I visited over 100 synagogues, graves and holy spots throughout Czech and Vienna, along with castles and tourist spots. My friend the Cabalist, says like the Bal Shem Tov, I was gathering up the holy sparks of Jewishness that has been trapped there and bringing the spiritual energy back to Jerusalem. I hope I have accomplished that goal, but I know for sure that I brought back lots of pictures. There are too many to share at one time so I am trying something new and sharing them day by day as experienced with a 16 day delay. I will repeat this introduction each day. I have been studying Jewish history and Israel in my time in Jerusalem, but the history of the Jewish people in modern times from 1492 to 1945 was in central Europe where the majority of the Jewish people lived. It is worth studying and knowing about and by sharing it with you my friends, I hope I am expanding your knowledge as well. It is also no accident that I chose to put a piece by Rabbi Kahane about not forgetting what Germany and Austria did to us in the Holocaust at the bottom of this piece. All food for thought.
Love Yehuda Lave
Czech Brno and First day in Vienna
We travel by car to Brno and by train to Vienna. Of course I had mixed feelings going to Vienna but it turns out to have the strongest Jewish community in Central Europe
Quotes on Compassion
Children, even infants, are capable of sympathy. But only after adolescence are we capable of compassion. Louise J. Kaplan Louise J Kaplan is a psychoanalyst, author, and feminist scholar.
Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation. Henry Ward Beecher Henry Ward Beecher was a prominent Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker.
It is not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns to compassion and understanding. Erma Bombeck Erma Louise Bombeck was an American humorist.
Why does God endow us with compassion? Franz Schubert Franz Peter Schubert was an Austrian composer.
Wisdom, compassion, and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of men. Confucius Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher.
Guilt is the price we pay willingly for doing what we are going to do anyway. Isabelle Holland Isabelle Christian Holland was an author of children and adult fiction.
Repentant tears wash out the stain of guilt. Saint Aurelius Augustine After his conversion to Christianity and baptism Augustine developed his own approach to philosophy and theology, accommodating a variety of methods and different perspectives.
If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution. Anon
We never repent having eaten too little. Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson was a leading American opponent of the international slave trade, and presided over its abolition in 1807.
Anton Chekhov was one of 19th C. Russia's most celebrated literary figures
Anton Chekhov was one of 19th C. Russia's most celebrated literary figures, a master of the short story. In his "Rothschild's Fiddle," he tells the story of a certain Yakov Ivanov who has just buried his wife. The poignant depiction of his emotional state and its connection with our Parsha will soon become evident.
"But as he was going back from the cemetery he was overcome by acute depression. He didn't feel quite well: his breathing was labored and feverish, his legs felt weak, and he had a craving for drink. And thoughts of all sorts forced themselves on his mind. He remembered again that all his life, he had never felt for Marfa [his wife], had never been affectionate to her. The fifty-two years they had lived in the same hut had dragged on a long, long time, but it had somehow happened that in all that time he had never once thought of her, had paid no attention to her, as though she had been a cat or a dog. And yet, every day, she had lighted the stove had cooked and baked, had gone for the water, had chopped the wood, had slept with him in the same bed, and when he came home drunk from the weddings, [she] always reverently hung his fiddle on the wall and put him to bed, and all this in silence, with a timid, anxious expression."
As we approach the Days of Awe, a certain trepidation grips us, as it should. Have we frittered away our time, squandering opportunities that, but for our failure to act, might have been beneficial to us? Have we failed to appreciate, ignored or even dismissed, the many small acts of kindness we've received by family and friends? Have we chosen to be oblivious to the innumerable ways we might have cheered and brightened up someone's day, offered an encouraging word, taken notice of a spouse's small accomplishments, complimented a child, smiled at a stranger?
Who cannot feel pangs of misgivings, a deep sense of loss and waste – guilt, as we await and anticipate the Day of Judgement?!
At the end of our Parsha, we read of the laws of eglah arufah. When a murdered man is found and the murderer is unknown, the scholars of the closest town sacrifice an animal and declare: "Our hands didn't spill this [man's] blood…" (21:7). Rashi comments, "Does anyone suspect that the scholars …were the murderers?" Why must they confess that they did not kill him? The answer: They were proclaiming that they were not guilty of taking no notice of him as he was departing, that they were not remiss in allowing him travel without food and escort. Therefore, they were not responsible for his murder.
Rebbe Tzaddok HaCohen offers an insightful psychological explanation of this episode. It is known that a person's stamina and strength are influenced by his state of mind and heart. A happy person is a confident and energetic one. Therefore, when a person leaves a city amidst gestures of kindness, he is buoyed by this communal display of caring and affection when bidding him farewell. Thus, should he be attacked, he will presumably be able muster the toughness to escape or fight back. If, however, the people of the city, in their benign neglect, ignore and do not equip him with food and levayah (escort), they will be answerable for his death because the feelings of dejection he experiences might so enervate his fortitude that when thieves or murderers confront him, he will not find sufficient courage to fend them off.
The lesson here is clear. The importance of giving chizuk to our fellow man is no small matter. Many people suffer silently, and when through small gestures of kindness, we telegraph to the "thou" that they are noticed and not alone, we empower them to face the many challenges in their life. The sheer magnitude of this mitzvah can be huge and of incalculable value!
Reb Yisrael Salanter taught that someone who goes around with a grimace, a perpetual frown, a sour face will be held accountable for all the people who become distressed because of that demeanor whether consciously displayed or not. Reb Yisrael attributes to him the halachic label of a "pit in a public domain, bor be'reshus ha'rabim." The Talmud rules (see Bava Kama 27a ff) that if one is responsible for placing an obstacle in a public area, whether intentionally or otherwise, he is liable for any injury incurred. Analogously, Reb Yisroel maintains that one who neglects to be concerned about how his expressions and actions can affect others, may be guilty of "damaging" them. An apathetic, dismissive wave, a rolling of the eyes, a coarse word, etc., all have the potential of spiraling down a person's mood into one of melancholy and gloom. By contrast, when a person is acutely aware of how his behavior can affect another and deliberately chooses to behave in a pleasant and amiable fashion, only Gd Himself can calculate the wonderful ripple effect this behavior can have, and if it was your decision, it redounds all to your credit!
Reflecting back on his life, Chekhov's Yakov could not suffer the painful remorse he felt in the bitter realization that he could have done more and didn't. And he dies.
Thankfully, that need not – must not - be our fate. We can elect to integrate the message of the eglah arufah into our daily lives and learn to be more aware, more attentive, more caring and sensitive, especially to those to whom we are closest.
And just as the eglah arufah ritual brought about atonement for the community, our acts of kindness can elicit a similar response from HaShem. We can be forgiven for our mistakes and happily enter a New Year new and better people.
Kahane on the Parsha
Rabbi Meir Kahane Parshat Ki Teitzei
"Remember what Amalek did to you...do not forget."--Deuteronomy 25:17-19
"Remember." "Do not forget." Strange. If we are commanded to remember what Amalek did unto us, why the added admonition- "do not forget"? Let me explain by way of a parable, but a parable that really happened. The place was the Jerusalem Press club, Beit Agron. Kach had called a press conference for the foreign news media to present to them some of the main candidates for the Knesset on its list. With the polls showing a sharp upsurge in support for Kach, curiosity and interest in the candidates were high.
As usual, the correspondents were asked their names and affiliations, and one replied: "Unger, from Europa." Europa? Unfamiliar but perhaps a small freelancer. The press conference began and sailed along with nary a hitch. The candidates spoke briefly, politely, impressively. And then it was time for questions and answers. The first to raise his hand was the gentleman from Europa. A yarmulka-wearing man, I must add. This time, however, he said: "My name is Unger and I represent the German and Austrian press." Hearing this, I said to him: "Had I known that, I would not have allowed you in. We have a firm policy of not allowing representatives of the German and Austrian news media interviews, or to attend our press conferences. Please leave."
At that point, there arose one of Israel's resident anti-Jewish foreign correspondents, Dan Fisher of the Los Angeles Times, who piously proclaimed: "He is a colleague." And he, too, left. He was followed by a number of others, including a clearly religious woman from Efrat, named Leslie Gottesman. End of "parable" and beginning of understanding.
That, dear Jew, is the reason why G-d wrote, "Remember," and knew that it was necessary to add: "Do not forget." Every Jew remembers what the Germans did unto us. Indeed, sad to say, the Holocaust has become, for huge numbers of Jews, a major reason for being Jewish. Perhaps THE major reason. There are men and institutions who make their living and their fame from the Holocaust, and what would Eli Wiesel be without it and where would Wiesenthal and those who run his center in Los Angeles be without it? And there are annual Holocaust Day memorials in both Israel and the Exile. And there are university courses given on the Holocaust. And everyone remembers. And, of course, everyone forgets. For one can remember and, at the same time, forget. What do we remember? That the "Nazis" (not the Germans) did horrible things to our people and we must always remember the events of the past. But what of the present? What do the sins and crimes of the German past mean for the present? Are the German sins limited to the genreation that lived at that time? Is Germany today not the Germany of yesterday, so that we are allowed to visit Germany, vacation in Germany, send Israeli children on cultural trips to Germany, to sporting events in Germany (even as we welcome German cultural and sports groups to Israel), greet the German president in israel as the Israeli army band plays the German national anthem, allow the Germans to open an embassy and consulate in Israel, and have the Germany flag fly over the Holy Land? Is this what we mean by the commandment to "remember"?
And if so, what in the world is this eternal guilt that the Torah places on an Amalek? Are the sins of the generation that attacked the Children of Israel so brutally, and with intent to wipe them out, to be eternalized forever more, unto generation after generation that did not participate in it? Was there an Amalekite embassy in the land and a president to visit us while the Children of Israel's army band played "Amalek Uber Alles"? And was there an exchange of cultural and sports groups with Amalek and did Amalekhantsa Airlines advertise its flights to their cities in the Canaanite Post of Eretz Yisrael? And did Israelites vacation and gamble and gambol in the Amalekite cities?
To remember IS NEVER ENOUGH. To remember is the GENERAL ADMONITION: Remember what they did to you, things so terrible and horrible. And consequently, do not forget. Do not forget that these are unforgivable sins and that they forever stain and tar and mark the nation itself and all who represent it. Remember the horrors and never forget that they are unforgivable.
That is the lesson for us as we contemplate Germany and its sister harlot, Austria. Remember what the German people did to us and never forget that it is a horror and crime that is permanent and unforgivable. It may be true that a particular or individual German who was not born at the time, or who was too young to have participated in the horrors, is not to be banned and barred on a personal basis. But, certainly, if he represents, in any capacity, Germany or anything German, he is to be barred and there can be no ties with him in that capacity. That is why a person who may not even be German himself, but who represents that accursed land, is forbidden to be seen in our midst.
Because one must always remember and, in addition, never forget.
The Jewish Press, 1988
If one brings peace to one's own household, it is as though one brought peace to all of Israel (Avos De R' Nosson 28:3).
A scourge has plagued our people throughout its entire history - internal strife. A unified Jewish people has such strength that the Talmud states that when there is brotherhood among all Jews, God overlooks even their worst transgressions.
How can such peace be achieved? The Talmud suggests a simple approach: start with the family.
Domestic peace is achieved only when husbands, wives, parents, and children learn to respect each other's wishes, to yield personal preferences, to listen to others' points of view, and to resolve differences amicably. Children who grow up in a family where there is no strife or envy and where everyone makes an effort to accommodate and maintain peace will incorporate these attitudes as part of their character. They will then practice them when relating to people outside the family.
Expecting people to behave in ways to which they have not been accustomed previously is unrealistic. Children who were raised in homes where there was frequent bickering, with no yielding and no compromise among the parents, and where sibling rivalry was not appropriately resolved are unlikely to build a harmonious and peaceful society.
Today I shall ... ... beginning with myself, try to establish peace within my home by avoiding harsh speech and actions, being tolerant of others' opinions, and being willing to compromise.
See you Sunday, Shabbat Shalom
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States
Have compassion on people who become angry easily. The person may have negative feelings about himself. By understanding the source of his anger, you will be able to deal with him more effectively.
As regards yourself, if you have chronic feelings of guilt or inadequacy, you are apt to lose your temper easily. For this reason many perfectionists have bad tempers. Since they make almost impossible demands of themselves, they feel tense and strained, which often leads to anger.
While always trying to improve, accept yourself. This will lead to the most healthy growth.
Love Yehuda Lave
I returned August 15 to Jerusalem after a 16 day absence from Israel. I visited over 100 synagogues, graves and holy spots throughout Czech and Vienna, along with castles and tourist spots. My friend the Cabalist, says like the Bal Shem Tov, I was gathering up the holy sparks of Jewishness that has been trapped there and bringing the spiritual energy back to Jerusalem. I hope I have accomplished that goal, but I know for sure that I brought back lots of pictures. There are too many to share at one time so I am trying something new and sharing them day by day as experienced with a 16 day delay. I will repeat this introduction each day. I have been studying Jewish history and Israel in my time in Jerusalem, but the history of the Jewish people in modern times from 1492 to 1945 was in central Europe where the majority of the Jewish people lived. It is worth studying and knowing about and by sharing it with you my friends, I hope I am expanding your knowledge as well.
Czech farmland at night
Boarding a moving ship as it can't stop as it is going through an ice field
This pilot is about to board a moving ship!
One of China's most complex interchanges...
It's called Qianchun Interchange (黔春立交) and located in Guiyang, the capital city of Guizhou Province in Southwest China.
Their tongue is like a sharp arrow (Jeremiah 9:7).
Some people would never physically injure another person. The sight or even the thought of violence makes them cringe. They may not realize that their words can cause more damage than their fists ever could. A physical injury eventually heals and may even be forgotten, but an insulting word can penetrate to the depths of someone's being and continue to reverberate, long after a mere physical wound would have healed.
I have seen this phenomenon in my own practice. Many children are spanked by their parents. Still, with the exception of cases of severe abuse, my patients rarely, if ever, mention the spanking as a trauma. Not so with degrading words. After thirty or more years, patients will remember having been called "stupid," "rotten," or "a no-good bum." A child who was not spanked, but was instead disciplined with shame and made to feel that he or she was a disgrace, is likely to retain that feeling for decades and may harbor an attitude of shame that affects everything that he or she does.
While we are taught to refrain from striking out in anger, we are far less restrained when it comes to verbal lashings. Whether we direct them towards spouses, children, or peers, we should be aware of the impact that words can have. The verse cited above correctly describes the tongue as a sharp, penetrating arrow, which can be every bit as lethal as any physical weapon.
Some people have a wise custom. When they become angry, they clamp their lips tightly. The anger will safely dissipate and the words which could have stung for years never come out.
Today I shall ... ... try to avoid words that may be injurious to another person.
According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses - sausage - pepperoni - mushrooms and meat balls on a thick crust.
OK - that's what I want .
May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta - arugula - sun-dried tomatoes and olives on a whole wheat, gluten free, thin crust?
What? I detest vegetables.
Your cholesterol is not good, sir.
How the hell do you know?
Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.
Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza! I already take medication for my cholesterol.
Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly. According to our database, you only purchased a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drugsale Network, 4 months ago.
I bought more from another drugstore.
That doesn't show on your credit card statement.
I paid in cash.
But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.
I have other sources of cash.
That doesn't show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law.
WHAT THE HELL? ! ! ! !
I'm sorry, sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.
Enough already! I'm sick to death of Google - Facebook - Twitter - WhatsApp and all the others!! I'm going to an island without internet - cable TV - where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me !!
I understand sir - but you need to renew your passport first. It expired 6 weeks ago
See you tomorrow
Love Yehuda Lave
Rabbi Yehuda Lave
2850 Womble Road, Suite 100-619, San Diego United States
Shapir Engineering & Industry Ltd. (TASE: SPEN) and Italian company Pizzaroti will build and maintain the new entrance highway to Jerusalem - Road 16 - for 25 years. Construction of the project is estimated to cost NIS 1 billion and the project will be undertaken on a PPP basic - Public private Partnership. Building will begin next year and the highway is scheduled to open for traffic in 2023. The award to Shapir and Pizzaroti was announced earlier today by the Inter-Ministerial Committee Tenders Committee.
The new highway will provide Jerusalem with an additional western entrance, serving southern and western suburbs. The 5 kilometer highway, branching off from Road 1 at the Motza Interchange, will include two tunnels under Har Nof and Yefe Nof and new interchanges at Givat Shaul and adjacent to Shaarei Zedek Hospital.
AMSTERDAM — Last year, Ron Simpson was still managing talent for a living.
But within just a few months Simpson, a 34-year-old Jewish marketing professional and producer from Amsterdam with no experience in running a restaurant, launched an international chain of eateries with a partner. It is so wildly popular and innovative that seasoned food critics are celebrating it as a cultural symbol and zeitgeist indicator.
Not everyone in the Jerusalem area has a car, and that can make it difficult to get to the beach on a hot summer day. In Tel Aviv, for example, you'll have to get on another bus or taxi to get to the beach from the central bus station or the Arlozorov train station. But there are a few beaches that are right next to the bus station, one stop from Jerusalem:
Ashdod: The bus from jerusalem to Ashdod takes just a bit over an hour, and the central bus station is a short walk to the beach. Take the 438 or 448 bus from inside Jerusalem bus station tp get to the Mei Ami and Lido beaches.
Haifa: Take the train from Jerusalem's Malcha station to Haifa, and you have Hof Hacarmel a few steps from your train. Note that the bus trip is more than three hours, and requires a few transfers though.
Dead Sea: It's not the Mediterranean, but the Dead Sea is also a great day out. Take the 486 or 444 bus to Eilat, and get off at Ein Bokek, where the hotel district is. That trip is about two hours
Several exciting infrastructure projects are in the works to make touring Israel more convenient, memorable and accessible. The time is right, as tourism stats are spiking ever higher.
During 2017, a record 3.6 million tourists entered Israel, a 25 percent increase over 2016. Between January and June 2018, a record-breaking 2 million tourist entries were recorded, a 19% increase on the same period last year. The most popular destinations are Jerusalem, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, the Dead Sea, Tiberias and the Galilee.
ISRAEL21c looks at seven projects in various stages of planning and construction. Please note that estimated completion dates are subject to change.
1. Cable car in Jerusalem
About 85% of tourists to Israel visit the iconic religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. However, although special arrangements can be made for visitors with mobility limitations, accessibility is problematic. Buses and cars battle heavy traffic; parking is inadequate. Pedestrians encounter stairs, uneven cobblestones and narrow alleys.
That's why Minister of Tourism Yariv Levin wasn't exaggerating when he said that a planned cable car "will change the face of Jerusalem, offering tourists and visitors easy and comfortable access to the Western Wall, and will serve as an outstanding tourism attraction in its own right."
On Jerusalem Day last May, the government approved Levin's proposal to invest $56 million in building a 1,400-meter cable car route from the First Station leisure compound (offering ample parking and bus transportation) to the Dung Gate, the entrance nearest to the Davidson Center-Jerusalem Archeological Park and Western Wall.
Estimated to be operational in 2021, the cable car will stop along the way at the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and City of David. An estimated 3,000 people could be transported hourly in each direction.
2. The fast rail between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
This extraordinary rail line will revolutionize travel between the country's two biggest cities, replacing a traffic-snarled 60-kilometer (37-mile) trip of about an hour, or sometimes more in rush hour, with a smooth journey of under 30 minutes.
The fast rail will service Ben-Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv's four railway stations and a transportation hub alongside Jerusalem's Central Bus Station and light rail.
The $1.9 billion Israel Railways project, involving nine bridges and four tunnels, was supposed to launch last March but repeated delays are leaving everyone waiting impatiently.
Whenever it does start running, perhaps in late September, the fast rail eventually will have four double-decker trains in each direction every hour, each accommodating about 1,000 passengers.
3. Jewish theme park in Dimona
Take a ride on Jacob's Ladder and hold on tight for the People of the Book roller coaster — two of the 16 rides planned for Park Pla-im (Park of Wonders) to be constructed in the southern city of Dimona.
Advertised as a Jewish theme park promoting universal values, Park Pla-im reportedly has been designed by ITEC Entertainment of Florida, which designs theme parks internationally.
The $400 million tourist destination will include five "worlds," each with four or five rides: Oasis, World of Spirits, World of the Jewish Nation, World of Society and World of Time.
The projected opening date of Park Pla-im is 2023. Hotels and other tourist amenities are planned near the theme park, with potential for turning this desert town south of Beersheva and the Dead Sea into an inviting attraction. There's already a luxury hotel in town, the Drachim.
4. Eilat Ramon Airport
Located 18 kilometers north of Eilat, Israel's premiere tourist resort at the northern tip of the Red Sea, Israel's new 34,000-square-meter international airport will replace the Eilat J. Hozman Airport in the center of Eilat and Ovda Airport 60 kilometers north of the city.
From October 2017 to April 2018, the critical winter season, 145,841 airline passengers landed in Ovda, arriving on about 50 weekly flights from Europe. That's a 56% increase over the 2016-17 winter season.
It is expected that the new airport – slated to open in early 2019 – will lead to even greater numbers of domestic and foreign tourists.
5. Crusader Wall Promenade
The Crusader Wall Promenade, a newly opened tourist attraction at Caesarea Harbor National Park, involved the preservation and renovation of the Roman-era beach promenade, walls, fortifications and towers as well as the Crusader market.
Funded by the Caesarea Edmond Benjamin de Rothschild Foundation, the Crusader Wall Promenade is part of a larger tourism initiative in the 2,000-year-old port city, which boasts many archeological ruins and attracts half a million visitors every year.
6.. Ecological beach in Eilat
A 200-meter-long stretch of shoreline on the Gulf of Eilat adjacent to the Dolphin Reef is being developed as an ecological beach and environmental education center.
An old pier at the site, formerly used for transporting oil, will be renovated as an environmental tourist attraction – complete with a marine garden, wind chimes and natural climbing structures – as well as a headquarters for Israeli youth group Shomrei Hamifratz (Guardians of the Gulf).
Eilat's coastline encompasses a marine reserve with magnificent coral reefs.
7. Bedouin boutique hotel
Bedouin-style accommodations – desert khans or tents in the Negev or Galilee – are popular with low-budget and back-to-nature tourists.
In the near future there will be a new option in Bedouin tourism experiences in Israel: the world's first hotel in a Bedouin village.
The 120-room, 4-star hotel will be built at the foot of Mount Tabor in the village of Shibli-Umm al-Ghanam.
The Ministry of Tourism has approved a budget to establish a tourism infrastructure in the village, which is strategically located near Christian holy sites, the Gospel Trail and the Israel Trail.
According to Shibli Regional Council Director Na'im Shibli, the hotel will be "based on Bedouin culture, featuring Bedouin hospitality and healthy natural Bedouin cuisine from the Galilee. This will be a luxury hotel unlike any other in Israel, which will give an economic boost to the village and the entire region."
In the past few weeks, close to half a million people have signed a petition calling on the Electric Company to switch to 'kosher electricity' on Shabbos by hiring gentile workers. On Thursday, a meeting was held between Rabbi Binyamin Chota and senior IEC officials in an attempt to reach understandings on the subject.
As reported by YWN-Israel, the utility company stated it would not entertain such a move without a sufficient number of persons requesting it.
Herzl's grave at the top of Mount Herzl.. (photo credit: OREN OPPENHEIM)
Friday, Av 23 in Judaism's lunar calendar – corresponding to August 3 – marks the 69th anniversary of the re-internment of Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). The date in the Gregorian calendar falls on August 17. But while the grave on Mount Herzl today is a landmark atop the highest point in west Jerusalem, other cities in the newborn state nearly claimed the honor of housing the mausoleum of the founder of modern Zionism, said Nomi Rabhan, a tour guide at the Herzl Museum located near the tomb on the Mount Herzl.
Known in Hebrew as Har Hazikaron (the Mount of Memory) as well as Har Herzl, Israel's national cemetery is symbolically located adjoining the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center and the Jerusalem Forest.
Like the biblical leader Moses, Herzl didn't die in Israel, the land they both pined for. But while Moses's remains lie in an unknown location on Mount Nebo in biblical Moab, today Jordan, Herzl's bones were brought for re-burial in the Jewish state he envisioned, in accordance with his last will.
In that document, written in German in 1903, Herzl wrote, "I wish to be buried in a metal coffin near my father, and lie there until the Jewish people will transfer my body to the Land of Israel." He also indicated that he wanted close family members to be buried there as well.
On July 3, 1904, Herzl died of cardiac sclerosis in Edlach, a village near Reichenau an der Rax, Lower Austria, having been diagnosed with heart disease earlier in the year. A day before his death, he told his Zionist colleague Rev. William H. Hechler: "Greet Palestine for me. I gave my heart's blood for my people."
The Zionist visionary, who in 1897 founded the World Zionist Organization, convened the Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland that year, and tirelessly engaged in international diplomatic efforts to gain a charter to establish a Jewish state, was buried in Döbling, Vienna, where he had been living.
In 1949, his remains were brought from the Austrian capital to Jerusalem to be reburied on the top of Mount Herzl. In 2006 his children Hans and Pauline were disinterred from their graves in France and reburied alongside their father. The following year, the remains of his grandson Stephen Theodore Norman were exhumed in Washington, DC, and re-interred alongside his grandfather.
Rabhan told the Post that various reasons prevented the World Zionist Organization from bringing Herzl's remains to Palestine during the British Mandate. In 1949 with the conclusion of the War of Independence, the issue became a priority for the nascent state.
"[David] Ben Gurion's sitting down with his first government… where are they going to start? They have a brand new country," she said, with little infrastructure and no laws. Yet even so, "one of the first things they decided to do" was to bring Herzl's body to Israel, she said.
But where should the father of the country be laid to rest?
Some Israelis called for Herzl to be reburied in Herzliya, the city north of Tel Aviv named in his honor. Others called for him to be re-interred in Tel Aviv, as that city's name is a Hebrew translation of his book Alteneuland (Old-New Land). There were also calls for him to be buried in Haifa, which Herzl rhapsodized over during his only visit to the Land of Israel in 1898.
Ben Gurion, serving as Israel's first prime minister, eventually put his foot down, insisting that Herzl be buried in Jerusalem.
"It's 1949; we've just finished fighting this war and we've lost half this city [Jerusalem]… Ben Gurion thought, what better way to remind people that even though we only have half the city, and we lost the Temple Mount, lost the Kotel [Western Wall], we still have half our capital city, and we have to refocus everyone's attention to this area because we don't want to forget that [Jerusalem] is still a center, focal point [for Israel]," Rabhan said. "What better way of doing that than drawing national attention to this place?"
From the 834-meter-high peak of Mount Herzl, one can view the Temple Mount.
Representatives from every locale in Israel attended the re-internment ceremony. Each in turn poured earth from their locale onto the grave, so that Herzl would be "buried under dirt from every single inch of this land, from the land that he so loved and adored," Rabhan said.
While the Herzl Museum is not commemorating the re-internment, Rabhan said that tours on Friday will mention the occasion. Herzl's grave can be visited with or without a formal tour. Admission is free