The Song of the Bird: Part 2

"Even the bird finds its home and the free bird her nest where she had her young; O to be at Your altars, O Compassionate One, Master of the hosts of creation, my Sovereign and my God." (Psalm 84:4)

Dear Friends,

In Part 1 of, "The Song of the Bird," we began to discuss how the Temple in Jerusalem is destined to serve as a spiritual "nest" for all humankind. The full realization of this goal will be achieved in the messianic age, after the People of Israel will have returned to their "nest" and rebuilt the unifying Temple. The following ancient teaching from the Midrash elaborates on this idea:

It is written, "It shall come to pass that at every new Moon and on every Shabbos all humankind will come to bow before Me, says the Compassionate One" (Isaiah 66:23). The Midrash Yalkut Shimoni (503) comments: "How is it possible that all humankind will come to Jerusalem every Shabbos and every New Month? (How can Jerusalem contain so many pilgrims?) Rabbi Levi says that in the future the entire Land of Israel will be like Jerusalem; moreover, the entire world will be like the Land of Israel. And how can they come on the New Moon and on Shabbos from the ends of the world? The clouds will come and carry them, bringing them to Jerusalem, and they will pray there in the morning. And this is as the Prophet praises them: 'Who are these that fly like a cloud, like doves to their cotes?' (Isaiah 60:8)."

As the above Midrash explains, all humankind will "fly like a cloud" to Jerusalem, and this poetic prophecy may be referring to air travel. In addition, the pilgrimage of all humankind to the Temple in Jerusalem is described as a journey of "doves to their cotes."

On that great day, we, the People of Israel, will welcome the "doves" who are returning to their spiritual home, and we will pray the following words on their behalf: "Please O Compassionate One, grant new life; please O Compassionate One, grant success" (Psalm 118:15). According to the classical biblical commentator, Radak, this is a prayer that Israel will say on behalf of the pilgrims from all the peoples who will come to the Temple at the dawn of the messianic age. Through these words, states the Radak, we are praying for new life and success "for all who come to take shelter in Your shade and who return to Your service." Following this prayer, we say:

"Blessed is the One Who comes in the Name of the Compassionate One; we bless you from the House of the Compassionate One." (Psalm 118:26)

According to Radak, the above blessing will be said by the "Kohanim" - the Ministers of the Temple - to the pilgrims from all the peoples. The Radak explains that the Kohanim are blessing them in the Name of the Compassionate One Who gave Israel the light of redemption; moreover, the Kohanim are inviting them to join Israel in the service of the Compassionate One.

May we merit to experience the great ingathering of the doves in Jerusalem.

Much Shalom,
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

P.S. Part 1 of, "The Song of the Bird," now appears in the archive (lower section) of our website:
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