Cleaving to the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
“Seek His Presence”
“Blessed are You HaShem Who returns His Holy Presence to Zion.” One of the important lessons we have learned throughout our quest for the Holy Presence in the Holy Land is that the strides towards the Temple of Jerusalem and the Holy Presence therein are advanced through seeking this Presence even in the Diaspora, then in the Holy Land and Hebron in specific, leading up to the Temple of Jerusalem. This process-oriented quest is based on the knowledge and experience of our Patriarchs, King David, and many others who “worked themselves up” from Hebron towards Jerusalem. It may be for this reason that the term “Zion” is synonymous for both Jerusalem, Hebron, and the Land of Israel in general to show that one leads to the other, and that all are spiritually and deeply linked to each other . Indeed, R. Tzi Yehuda Kook zt”l explained the Mishna in the first chapter of Mishna Kelim describing the ten sanctities of the Land of Israel, that “one is holier from the previous holy location” to mean that one is holy “from”, i.e “due to” and “based upon”, the previous lower level of sanctity hich leads up to the higher one. The term “Zion” means “sign” or “mark” as in the word “ziun”. This description fits exactly with the conceptualization of the Holy Presence being the “sign of God” upon Earth as we can experience it, but not God’s Essence, God forbid. Therefore, it is no wonder why the term “Zion” is used in such various contexts such as Jerusalem, Hebron, etc. for it is a general term for HaShem’s Presence in the Land in various degrees of sanctity. This apprehension into the concept “Zion” also leads us to understand more into the spiritual work involved with the “quest for this Holy Presence”. Our Sages (Zohar I 103b) teach that God ‘reveals’ Himself to an individual according to the level of cognition that individual has towards God in his heart. This means that the more one becomes aware of the Holy Presence in our Land, making a “ziun” – a “mark” of consciousness and perception in one’s heart – so too will one be given the “gift from Above” to indeed “know God” even more through the Holy Presence of the Land. This is one of the reasons we have described the value of Zion so much through the terminology of halacha throughout our issues, since it is halacha which allows us to perceive this Presence on the most earthly/”Land” level, making a “mark” in our hearts as to the great importance of Zion in the service of God. Indeed, our Sages remark on the verse “God loves the gates of Zion more than all the sanctuaries of Jacob” to mean that God loves gates “marked by Halacha” more than all houses of Torah study. Indeed, just a short glimpse on the numbers of mitzvot shows us that there are more than 50 Torah commandments dependent on the Land of Israel and more than 200 Torah commandments dependent on the Temple in Jerusalem, accounting together for close to half of our 613 commandments. Continuing our cultivation of the spiritual work we discussed in the past few issues, we can say that learning about these mitzvoth and thanking God for each one of them verbally is an important step in making a “mark” in our hearts and souls for the Holy Presence of this Land to enter our thought and experience, enlightening us in spiritual transformation.
Real Stories from the Holy Land: “I was once shouted at and reprimanded greatly. I thanked God for this situation with faith that it is for my best. Soon after, the people who talked to harshly to me just before, talked again pleasantly and compassionately…”