Prologue: Har HaBayit B'Yadeinu ("the temple mount is in our hands")
There it was. The radio transmission that still overwhelms me with emotion each time I hear it. Mota Gur's famous declaration that capped a dramatic Nes - Har HaBayit B"Yadeinu.
And yet, over 40 years later, what DO we have? Har HaBayit, indeed all of Yerushalayim is subjected to being a pawn in a tenuous chess game between Bnei Esav of Europe and America and Bnei Yishmael. Ignorance of the significance of Yerushalayim is rampant throught the scandal-ridden Memshala and even the general populance of the state. Yerushalayim itself is home to many Hafganot and battles among her citizenry about fundamental spiritual matters like Shemirat Shabbat and Toavot Arayot that have led secular Israelis in a recent Maariv poll to consider their Chareidi brethren a greater threat to Israel than her Arab enemies. V'Al Eileh Ani Bochiya. So what DO we celebrate on Yom Yirushalayim? What is the great celebration we contemplate today?
40 years is the time of Binah, of understanding and after 40 years of celebration of that great miracle, I believe we can understand and act: You see, in the same way that Yerushalayim today evokes a dual emotion, it represents a dual significance to us. As Maran HaRav Hershel Schachter Shlita has noted on a number of occasions, Yerushalayim is both the Makom Hamikdash --- the spiritual epicenter of Judaism --- while at the same time it is the political capital of the Jewish people.
You see, Yerushalayim is the world's Torah center. We declare "Kee Mi Tzion Teze Torah". Nowhere else in the world can one find such strong spirit. It is the Makom HaMikdash (The place of the temple) whose spiritual reservoir overflows throughout the city. Indeed, even today B'Churbana, there are more qualitative Talmidei Chachamim on a single block in Yerushalayim than throughout the entire United States. The early studies of the birthright tour also seem to demonstrate the strong impact Jerusalem stills has on our lives. Those visiting Jerusalem through birthright are 45% less likely to intermarry than peers. One walks through the city and meets a Rav Noach Weinberg ztl, a Rav Meir Shuster and others and can attest to the powerful spiritual impact Yerushalayim plays on our lives. Kee Mi Tzion TeiTze Torah and it is B'Yadeinu.
At same time, Yerushalayim is the Kiryat Melech Rav. Our capital city, home to the government. Shama VaTishmach Tzion L'maan Mishpateicha Hashem. The Nes of 1967 provided, if I may, a place for the Jew to be on the map. A significant show of our nation in our capital . Sham Atzmiach keren L'Dovid Arachtee Ner L'mishichee,--a place for all Jews to run. A City Shel Zahav, an image and symbol, a place for us to gather.
We need both aspects and need to appreciate both aspects of Yerushalayim in order to fully benefit from a Yerushalayim HaBinuyah. Rav Yitzchak Elchanan Spector notes that the word Yerushalayim appears in Tanach 656 times but only three times is it spelled Maleh. This is due to the fact that Yerushalayim will never be complete without full actualization and full appreciation of both aspects of Yerushalayim. A capital without spirit is like a head without a Neshama. A spiritual center without a capital is like a soul without a body. The former situation is lifeless like a corpse. The latter, beingless and haunting like a ghost .
The celebration of Yom Yirushalayim can remind us of our strong ties to the city. If we ourselves are not as yet ready to be Oleh Es Yerushalayim physically, let our celebration be a start to a reconnection to the true history and sovereignty of our place in Yerushalayim (hopefully so one day we WILL get there). Tzion He Doreish Ein Lah --- MeKlal D'Bayei Drisha. We have an obligation to be Shoeil B'Shalom Yerushalayim - to care about Yirushalayim MORE than we are aware and care about the local news. Let's make our knowledge and that of our kids of the geography and streets of Yerushalayim as well as their awareness of the Halacha and history of the city second nature. And in its merit may we see the Nevuah of Zecharia be fully fulfilled: Od Yeishvu Zekanim UZekanos B"Richovos Yirushalayim.
Notes in the Wall
(Special thanks to Rabbi Aryeh Leibowitz for transcribing and elucidating many of the hard to find sources)
A story is told of a certain wise man, who, in his youth, visited an area known as the Kotel HaKatan. Looking around the area (which is in the Moslem quarter) the young man pulled a note out of a wall on a house that said "Ani Rotzeh Sus" (I want a horse). Someone traveling with him at the time, noted that the petitioner might do better asking for a compass and a map before setting out on travel.
The whole scene begs the question of whether one may put notes into the Kotel and what the status of those notes are (http://wejew.com/media/2366/The_Kotel_Prayer_Notes_Cleanout/). (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3445089,00.html)
The Tzitz Eliezer (X:5:6) cites Rav Avraham Palagi who describes the means and level of Kavanna that was felt when he merited to daven at the Kotel. The Minchas Elazar notes that Rav Chaim Ben Attar (Ohr Hachaim haKadosh) tried to put a note in the wall and this minhag of putting notes into the wall seems to have stuck despite the challenge to doing this from the Poskim.
But once the Tefillos are written, do these pages carry any status? Shut Shaarei Tzion (4) actually asked about this in regard to the notes to figure out whether the notes are Sheimos or whether they can be thrown out?
Some have noted that written words can have effect as speech (Shut Rabbi Akiva Eiger 29-30) in regard to the issue of writing the Sefirah date and whether one fulfills the obligation to count by writing. The matter is a Machlokes between Rabbi Akiva Eiger and his uncle. If one holds that written Sefira counts so it counts based upon the principle of Kesiva K"Dibbur. Harav Rabinovitch, Rav of the Kosel (Shut Shaarei Zion 4) argues that the notes stand in the place of oral Tefillah in the same way. This becomes a part of the basis for the argument that the notes need to be placed in Genieza. Maran Harav Asher Weiss Shlita (back of Shut Shaarei Zion) challenges the existence of a Talmudic rule of "Kesiva K'Dibbur" since it does not exist in Shas nor in Rishonim and moreover, we do not hold of Kesiva K"Dibbur.
So perhaps the issue depends on what is written on the notes: Rav Rabinovitch sampled some of them and noted that some had Pesukim and still other had the name of Hashem. Do little pieces of paper have Kedusha? The Talmud (Shabbos 115b) notes that written prayers have Kedusha. Tashbatz (I:2) notes that these notes may not be discarded. The Netziv limits this idea to the understanding that they will be used (but say, a Sefer Torah written by an apostate should be destroyed). Similarly, the notes are not meant to be reread and thus can be destroyed.
L'Halacha Rav Rabinovitch recommends not destroying the notes. He feels that the fact that some have Sheimos Kedoshim and some contain prayers of others so it would not look nice to throw them out. Rav Sternbuch holds that they can be thrown out but with respect. Rav Asher Weiss holds that L"Halacha there is no reason why these cannot be thrown out - after all, the prayers are not in the style of Chazal and are not intended to be mikuyam. Still, L'Halacha if the minhag is to place them in Geniza then that is the Minhag and it should be followed