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Emet m'Tsiyon

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Beauty and Glory of Jerusalem [Jewish and Roman sources]

The ancient Jews were enthralled with the beauty of Jerusalem, their religious and political capital. The Bible is easily accessible, so I shall give quotes from the less accessible Talmud.

Ten measures of beauty descended to the world -- nine were taken by Jerusalem and one by the rest of the world [Talmud, Qiddushin 49b]
עשרה קבין יפי ירדו לעולם, תשעה נטלה ירושלים ואחד כל העולם כולו
Diez medidas de belleza han descendido al mundo -- nueve de ellas tomo Jerusalen, y lo demas fue al resto del mundo
[Spanish translation of the above]
He who has not seen Jerusalem in its glory has never seen a beautiful city [Sukkah 51b]

He who has not seen the Temple in its splendor has never seen a glorious building [Sukkah 51b]

We saw the city at the center of the Land of Jews, situated on a high and exalted mountain. At its top a splendid Sanctuary has been built, and there are three walls, each more than seventy cubits high and appropriately broad and long. It is all built with an outstanding degree of splendor and beauty [Letter of Aristeas, ca. 200 BCE]

Rabbi Nathan says:
There is no love like the love of Torah
There is no wisdom like the wisdom of the Land of Israel
There is no beauty like that of Jerusalem [The Fathers according to Rabbi Nathan]
אין לך יופי כיפיה של ירושלים

Another virtue of Jerusalem is that it unites:
"Jerusalem is built as a city connected together" [Psalms 122:3] -- [this means] the city that unites all Jews in companionship [Jerusalem Talmud, Hagigah, 3:6]

ירושלים הבנויה ככעיר שחוברה לה יחדו --
שמחברת את ישראל זה לזה --

The great Roman scholar Pliny the Elder wrote in his encyclopedic work, The Natural History, of the splendor of Jerusalem in his time:

The rest of Judea [IVDAEA] was divided into ten toparchies . . . Orine, in which was situated Jerusalem, by far the most illustrious city of the East, not merely of Judea
[Natural History, V:70]

Reliqua Iudaea dividitur in toparchias decem . . . Orinem, in qua fuere Hierosolyma, longe clarissima urbium Orientis non Iudaeae modo
Note that Orine was the toparchy comprising the Jerusalem area.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Coming: More on Jews in Jerusalem, poems of Zion, the European Problem, including the problem of the EU its member states, etc.



  • Dwelling in the sukkah is one of the mitzvahs of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot.
    It is a mitzvah to dwell in a sukkah for seven days.
    It is written in the Torah (Vayikrah / Leviticus 23:42) "You shall dwell in sukkot for seven days; every inhabitant of Israel shall dwell in sukkot. In order that your generation shall know that I caused the Jews to dwell in sukkot when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your G-d." In commemoration of this we are commanded to build a sukkah in order to remember the great and wondrous deeds of G-d

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:45 PM  

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