Humanity’s Roots in Zion: Part One

Dear Friends,
After I moved to the Land of Zion, I began an in-depth study of Torah teachings regarding the purpose of the Land. These teachings gave me a deeper understanding of the Land’s spiritual and universal raison d’etre. I was especially fascinated to discover certain teachings which reveal a connection between Zion and the world at the very beginning of the world’s creation, and I will begin our discussion with this teaching: “The world was created from Zion” (Talmud, Yuma 54b). This teaching is understood in the following manner: When the Creator began the creation of the earth, He began with Mount Moriah, the site of the future Temple in Jerusalem, and He then expanded the earth from this location. Our sages find a poetic allusion to this tradition in the opening verses of Psalm 50:
“A Song of Assaf: Almighty God, Hashem, spoke and summoned the earth…Out of Zion, consummation of beauty, God appeared.” (Psalm 50:1,2)

The exact location on the mountain where the creation began is known as “the Foundation Stone,” and it was in the inner Temple chamber known as the “Holy of Holies.” It is called the Foundation Stone, as it was from this stone that the Creator expanded and enlarged the earth. This tradition is cited in Midrash Leviticus Rabbah (20:4), Midrash Tehillim (Psalm 50), and in the Talmud (Yuma 54b).
There is also a tradition that the human being was created at the site of the Temple in Zion. This tradition is cited by Maimonides in his code of Torah law, Mishneh Torah, where he states that the human being was created at the site of the altar of the Temple on Mount Moriah (Beis Habechirah 2:2). The tradition that the human being was created at the site of the Temple is cited in Midrash Genesis Rabbah (14:8), and in Pirkei D’Rabbi Eliezer, at the beginning of Chapter 12.
According to this tradition, all human beings have roots in the site of Zion’s Temple, for this is the place where the human being was created. This tradition therefore reveals that when all human beings will journey to the Temple – “a house of prayer for all the peoples” (Isaiah 56:6) – they will be journeying to the sacred place of their roots.


The Prophet Isaiah conveyed the Divine message that we, the People of Zion, are to inspire human beings to begin this journey by developing a model society in Zion which will serve as a “light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). As a result, states the Prophet to our people, “nations will go to your light” (ibid 60:3).


In this spirit, Midrash Tehillim on Psalm 50 teaches: “When the Holy One, Blessed be He, renews His world, He will renew it from Zion.” The Midrash then cites the following prophecy as a source for this teaching:


 “It will happen in the end of days: The mountain of the Temple of Hashem will be firmly established as the head of the mountains, and it will be exalted above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it. Many peoples will go and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the Mountain of Hashem, to the Temple of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will walk in His paths.’ For from Zion will go forth Torah, and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 2:2,3)



Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen

Hazon - Our Universal Vision