It was around 3:30 today that Lori and I decided to take a walk. It’s not exactly boring in the afternoons, after school, but sometimes there isn’t much to do. Lori had been perusing our Israel guidebook, and mentioned a few places she wanted to visit in the near future. I took a look in said book and saw a great place in the German Colony that boasted a view of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea?! Seen from Jerusalem?? Is that even possible?!
So we put our shoes on and started walking.
Let me tell you something: it’s a long walk to the German Colony from our apartment. Sure, buses #4 and #21 will take you there in a heartbeat, but that’s way too wimpy for Lori and I. Take the bus? Ha! We only do that when we’re leaving the city.
And so it happened that we arrived at the Haas Promenade about an hour later. And the view of the Old City, the Mount of Olives, and the Jerusalem hills was worth every step we had to take to get there. The sun was in the midst of setting; the sky was a multitude of colors. We sat, looking north toward the Mount of Olives, as it gradually became dark, and the entire city sparkled with lights.
I asked Lori if she had an appropriate Psalm for the view, since Lori always has an appropriate Psalm for the view. She chose Numbers 24:5-9, instead.
How fair are your tents, O Jacob,
Your dwellings, O Israel!
Like valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens beside the river,
Like aloes planted by the LORD,
Like cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from his buckets,
And his seed will be by many waters,
And his king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brings him out of Egypt,
He is for him like the horns of the wild ox
He will devour the nations who are his adversaries,
And will crush their bones in pieces,
And shatter them with his arrows.
He crouches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
And cursed is everyone who curses you.
Even now, I can’t believe how perfectly this passage fit with what we saw this evening. I felt like I must have been standing in a similar spot to where Balaam was when he first spoke these prophetic words. And I couldn’t agree more: the [houses] and dwellings of Israel are, indeed, beautiful. What an awe-inspiring sight.
Lori and I also talked about how different the landscape would be with the Temple in place. From our vantage point, we could see the top of the Dome of the Rock; I would venture to say that the Temple would be easily visible from almost any hilltop in Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, and it would tend to dominate the view. How amazing it would be to have G-d’s House, in all its glory, rising majestically out of the walls of the Old City! May we see it soon, and in our days – amen!
P.S. – on the way home, I finally bought a hanukkiah!!