Finding Comfort in the Torah from Zion

לשכנו תדרשו

Seeking the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land 


“שופטים ושוטרים תתן לך בכל שעריך אשר ה’ א-היך נותן לך לשבטך”



“Comfort HaShem our God the mourners of Zion and the mourners of Jerusalem… for You HaShem have ignited her with fire, and with fire You will build her, as it says ‘and I shall be unto her, says HaShem, a wall of fire around and to honor I shall be within her’. Blessed are You HaShem , Comforter of Zion with the building of Jerusalem.” (Nahem of Tisha Bav)

Since Tisha Bav the theme of comforting Zion and Jerusalem becomes ever-more  pronounced throughout the ‘7 weeks of comforting’ leading to Rosh HaShana, the day upon it is said in the Torah ‘the eyes of HaShem Your God are upon it (the Land Zion) from the beginning of  the Year (Rosh HaShana) till its end (Rosh HaShana)’. At the beginning of Elul already ‘three weeks of comfort’ are behind us, three begin the building blocks of a common theme known as ‘hazaka’, thereby giving the following weeks  a more established nature of comfort in regard to Zion.

In the past we have pointed out the fact that the term ‘Zion’ includes both the Land of Israel at large and Jerusalem, as can be seen for example in a halachic ruling which maintains that the establishment of the Jewish calendar by the Beit Din (Jewish Court) may only take place in the Land of Israel (in addition to Jerusalem). The prooftext given for this ruling is, ‘from Zion Torah shall be delivered, and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem.’ Similarly, this relationship between the Land of Israel at large and Jerusalem can also be seen in context of our title quote, which our Sages interpret as a command to institute courts  specifically in the Land of Israel as seen by the words in ‘your gates that HaShemYour God gives to your tribes’.

Even though the courts in the Land of Israel in general have judicial power, the supreme judicial power is given to the Sanhedrin on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to rule on cases that are beyond the scope of the regular courts. With the same token we can also say that Hebron, the roots of our People to Zion has a uniquely close relationship to Jerusalem, as can also be seen from King David’s initial reign in Hebron and afterwards in Jerusalem.




Real Stories from the Holy Land #85:


“I was on my way to errands travelling from Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem. When I finally reached Jerusalem my wife suddenly called me to come back to Kiryat Arba because of an urgent medical issue. Since it was close to sunset I decided to daven Minha at the nearby hospital. There I ‘happened’ to meet three friends (visitors) who learn with me on a constant basis in Kiryat Arba, and there ‘happened’ to be there a Rabbi (a patient) who, just  a few days before, I had talked about in length, after not doing so for about seven years.” 



Sources: Rambam Kidush Hahodesh 1, 8, ibid Sanhedrin 1, 2


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