Throngs of people fill the streets of Jerusalem each year on their way to the Old City
“Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day”
This week, on Friday May 19, the Nation of Israel will be celebrating Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem (Reunification) Day.
General Mordechai (Motta) Gur proclaimed the world-shaking words, “Har HaBayit BeYadeinu (literally “The Temple Mount is in our hands”).
You can watch the IDF entering the Old City gate and listen to Motta Gur on military radio proclaim the liberation of Jerusalem after almost 2000 years in the hands of foreigners.
Why celebrate May 19 when the day of liberation was June 7?
Before we left Egypt, the Children of Israel received our first commandment (mitzvah) as a “nation.”
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְקוָק אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֣ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרַ֖יִם לֵאמֹֽר׃
הַחֹ֧דֶשׁ הַזֶּ֛ה לָכֶ֖ם רֹ֣אשׁ חֳדָשִׁ֑ים רִאשׁ֥וֹן הוּא֙ לָכֶ֔ם לְחָדְשֵׁ֖י הַשָּׁנָֽה׃
And God said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
This month shall mark for you the beginning of the months; it shall be the first of the months of the year for you.
This is the mitzvah of establishing a calendar for the Nation of Israel. The Sanhedrin would declare the beginning of each new Hebrew lunar month (numbered 1 through 12).
Much later, in exile, we would assign names to the Hebrew months. The first month would be called “Nissan” and would be the month commemorating our Exodus from slavery under Pharaoh, and our becoming a Holy Nation under God.
Our birthday month for the Nation of Israel is Nissan. In Nissan this year, the Nation of Israel celebrated our 3,335 birthday. Similarly, America’s national birthday month is July.This July 4, America will be 247 years old.
The modern state of Israel was founded on the 5th of the 2nd Month (Iyar) on May 14, 1948. We celebrate our Modern National Birthday on the Hebrew calendar, and therefore it occurs on a different day each year on the Gregorian Calendar.
As a Holy Nation, dedicated to God, we have a National Holy Language (Hebrew), a National Holy Land (Israel), National Holy Constitution and Legal Code (Torah), National Holy Capital City (Jerusalem) and a National Holy Calendar.
Our Holy Hebrew Calendar
The Hebrew calendar is unique in that we have a solar year (365 days), but a lunar month (approximately 29.5 days from new moon to new moon). If you multiply 12×29.5, there are only 354 days in 12 lunar months – about 11 days short of the solar year.
That means that a Festival like Passover which is to be celebrated on the 15th of the first month in the spring would fall 11 days earlier each passing solar year. Eventually Passover would be celebrated in the winter, fall and summer!
So to ensure the festivals occur in their proper seasons, a leap year is declared on the Hebrew calendar about 7 times in 19 years and a 13th month is added (Adar II) just before Nissan.
So the Hebrew dates shift 11 days each year on the Christian (Gregorian) calendar, which is strictly solar. The Gregorian calendar “months” do not have anything to do with the new moon… even though the word “month” is derived from the word “moon.”
Israel celebrates National Days (Biblical and Modern) on our National Hebrew Calendar
The Liberation of Jerusalem occurred on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyar (the second month in the Hebrew calendar). This year it falls on May 19.
Modern Israel Independence day is celebrated on the 5th of the Hebrew month of Iyar. This year it fell on April 26.
Ironically, this week, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas convinced the United Nations to commemorate May 15, “Nakba Day” as an annual UN event.
In 1998, Yasser Arafat made May 15 an official day for the “Nation of Palestine” to commemorate the “disaster” of the creation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948.
(Why did Arabs choose the Christian calendar to commemorate this Arab day of “national” disaster?!)
At the UN Abbas spoke for an hour saying, “Israeli and Zionist claims continue by saying that Israel made the desert bloom. As if Palestine was a desert and they made the desert bloom,” Abbas said. “These are lies. They continue to lie, like Goebbels, and they continue to lie until people believe their lies.”
The PA president also denied a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, saying Israelis have “been digging for 30 years to find any evidence or proof of the existence” of Jewish ties to the site.
“They haven’t found anything,” he said. “Al-Sharif belongs exclusively to the Muslims,” he said, referring to the Temple Mount by its Arabic name.
On the Road to Redemption
Our Prophets (eg. Isaiah 11) teach us that after the Almighty would exile the Nation of Israel from our Land;
- He would eventually gather us from the four corners of the earth and bring us back to Israel.
- The Land of Israel would bring forth her fruits for her Children (after laying barren for almost 2000 years).
- We would defeat our enemies, including the “Philistines.”
- And we would rebuild the Temple on the Temple Mount.
All with the Almighty’s help.
The UN and the Palestinians and many others seem to disagree with God and His Prophets.
We know better as we watch our promised destiny unfold before our eyes.
May we all appreciate the significance of our Holy City and pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.