"Again There Shall Be Heard ...in the Streets of Jerusalem"
Again There Shall Be Heard ... in the Streets of
Based on a sicha by Harav
Thus says the Lord: Again there shall be heard in this place, which you say is ruined, without man or beast in the cities of Judea and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without men, without inhabitants and without beasts the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those saying, Praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever, as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving to the House of God. For I shall bring back the captivity of the land as in the past, says the Lord. (Yirmiyahu 33:10-11)
Throughout the Bible,
However, the Men of the Great Assembly, who included the rest of the verse in their formulation of the blessings recited at a wedding, chose to omit this concluding phrase in the verse. Instead, they replaced it with an alternate phrase:
...the joyous sounds of bridegrooms from their wedding canopies and young men from their music-filled festivities.
Beyond the problem of the change in wording, Chazal thereby also changed the meaning. Instead of the sound of worship, a sound full of elevated holiness the voice of those saying, Praise the Lord we seem to have the sound of frivolous and physical enjoyment: the sound of celebration and music. Why did the Men of the Great Assembly make this change?
The Men of the Great Assembly felt that the prophecy, as originally written, could give rise to despair in the future. First, the prophet describes the most forlorn of circumstances a place that is completely desolate, with no human or animal inhabitants; then he prophesies a far-off ideal: the
The Men of the Great Assembly therefore changed the formulation of the blessing in order to arouse hope and to make people realize the significance of such an in-between situation: The joyous sound of bridegrooms from their wedding canopy and young men from their music-filled festivities. Sounds of joy and celebration will indeed be heard in the holy city even before the
In the interpretation of the Men of the Great Assembly there is a great and important message. The expression they inserted, The joyous sounds of bridegrooms from their wedding canopy and young men from their music-filled festivities, does not appear in the prophecies of redemption. Rather, its source is to be found in the prophecies of destruction:
Old men have ceased to sit at the gate; young men have ceased from their music. (Eikha 5:14)
The normal situation somewhere between absolute destruction and complete redemption is that the elders sit at the city gates and function as judges, while young men play music and are happy. This situation, which will be realized prior to the complete redemption, itself represents a hopeful picture, and this is what the Men of the Great Assembly wished to convey in formulating the blessing as they did.
A similar message arises from a teaching of Rav Huna:
Anyone who partakes of the feast of a bridegroom without making an effort to make him happy transgresses five sounds as it is written, The sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the sound of the bridegroom and the sound of the bride, the sound of those saying, Praise the Lord of Hosts. (Berakhot 6b)
Rav Huna is not talking about a bridegroom who brings a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the House of God. He rules that someone who witnesses a bridegroom at his wedding even before the complete redemption is obligated to make an effort to gladden him, inter alia because of the sound of those saying, Praise the Lord. Joy and happiness have their own independent existence and status even before the House of God is rebuilt.
Today we celebrate our return to
In 5727, the I.D.F. unified the Old City of Jerusalem and the modern
There are people including some who are religious, and even Religious Zionists who remove the Holy One from our historical reality. It is as if God has handed the reigns of power to the politicians, who destroy and build as they wish, leaving
... the voice of those saying, Praise the Lord of Hosts, for the Lord is good, for His mercy endures forever, as they bring sacrifices of thanksgiving to the House of God.
(This sicha was delivered on Yom Yerushalayim 5760 .)