“Next Year in Jerusalem” – My Thoughts and Wishes for You on This Weekend

April 2, 2015

This holy season is a time of the year that the veil between the worlds – between the earthly lives that we are living now and the eternity that awaits us all – is at its thinnest point, as a dear friend once pointed out to me.

This evening, Christian peoples begin the Easter Triduum, the three-day observance that culminates in the Easter morn celebration of redemption and deliverance from sin and death. Tomorrow evening, Jewish folk begin Passover, their week of remembrance and thanks for divine deliverance from bondage in Egypt.

The Earthly Jerusalem, seen from the Mount of Olives. Redeemer's Gate, on the city wall that overlooks the Kidron Valley and Gethsemane, which is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, will remain sealed shut until Judgment Day.

The Earthly Jerusalem, seen from the Mount of Olives.
Redeemer’s Gate, on the city wall that overlooks the Kidron Valley and Gethsemane, which is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, will remain sealed shut until Judgment Day.

Meanwhile, all around us the earth is coming back to life in the glorious season of spring. I can’t help but think that even those who don’t profess or practice a religious faith share with those who do the same feelings of wonderment and appreciation of our here and now, as well as eager anticipation of the blooming, the ripening, and the harvest that are to come.

That same friend also remarked that our earthly life is but a moment of time that stands between two eternities.  How true. But before we exit our moment and pass through that veil and finally know what dreams may come, much remains for us all to do.

I especially love the way our Jewish friends conclude the Seder on the first night of Passover with the phrase “Next year in Jerusalem.” Those words reach forward to the coming of the Messiah and to complete spiritual redemption, which is represented by Jerusalem.

Rabbi David Hartman explains it inspiringly. Every year, he writes, Jews drink four cups of wine and then pour a fifth for Elijah, the prophet who would be sent before the coming and great day of the Lord.

“The cup is poured, but not yet drunk. Yet the cup of hope is poured every year. Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become. That is the significance of ‘Le-shanah ha-ba-a b’Yerushalayim’ (Next year in Jerusalem).”

So let us take this special time to love and embrace and celebrate it all – our families, our friends near and far, our health, our work, our fair and blessed land that still flows with milk and honey.

Let us drink that cup of hope and dream those reckless dreams. Let us renew once again all that we are about, and envision all that we may yet become. Then, when we do take our leave, we’ll have done our parts to make the world a better place for those whose brief moments in time have not yet come.

Happy Easter. Chag Pesach Sameach. And to all, “Next year in Jerusalem.”

One Response to ““Next Year in Jerusalem” – My Thoughts and Wishes for You on This Weekend”

  1. Grigalem Says:

    The “time of the year that the veil between the worlds – between the earthly lives that we are living now and the eternity that awaits us all – is at its thinnest point”

    Actually, that would be The Ten Days – Rosh HaShanah through Yom Kippur.

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