Birkat haChama in Yerushalayim


Erev Pesach 5769

The excitement built all day yesterday in Jerusalem...”where will you be tomorrow?” “do you know of a good rooftop?” “ I heard Rabbi Eliyashav, shilta, will be at the Kotel.” “ 28 years ago I was.../I heard.../I couldn’t imagine ever being this old....” “What time are you getting up?” “I hope it won’t be cloudy.”

Birchat haChama. It brought a smile of anticipation and gratitude to all our faces.

Late last night kids began arriving at our apartment to sleep so that they could get up early and be at the Kotel for the first in their lifetime (and may there be several more) opportunity for this mitzvah. At 5 a.m. we gathered in the kitchen for coffee before joining the streams of fellow Jews softly filling the Jewish Quarter streets-sharing excitement, yet each going our separate ways to find our own perfect place from where we would eventually all praise our Creator in the best possible way we could-together.

By the time I joined my friend Star on her rooftop in the chilly dark morning, the davening had begun. We said “amen” and “y’hey..” to the minyan on a balcony behind us and to the loudspeaker from the Kotel in front of us. To the right Rabbi Aaron of Israelight led his services and guitars strummed sweetly. Above on the left several minyanim stood and swayed, some Breslovers danced a few steps down as they prayed.

The skies lightened, becoming a golden rose. ~Shema~ The cold stones responded with a warm glow. ~Shemona Esrei~ And our hearts rose with the sun ~Kedusha~as she peered from her hiding place behind Har haZeytzim –lining up with the exact same Yom Revii of five thousand seven hundred and sixty nine years ago—the very first morning. Ever.

Loudly, clearly from behind and before us: ~Baruch ata...osay maasay bereshit (s) ;)~

I prayed a fervent prayer that on the next Birkat HaChama we will-every single one of us-say it from Jerusalem’s rooftops, stairways and balconies and from her hilltops, valleys and fields. From Haifa, Sederot and Neve Dekalim. From our kibbutzim, moshavim and our cities. Each from our own perfect place, here in our own Land where we will praise our Creator in the best possible way-together.

We wish you all a wonderful Pesach, a Chag kasher v’samayech.
Let this be the last time we say “Next year in Yerushalayim.”(translation: Come home soon)

David and Rena

1 comment:

Ruby said...


Dear Renee and David,

Wow! The beautiful wording, the pictures, the message of hope -- may all your good wishes come true and that we will all be together in Yerushalyim for the next Birkat haChama.

Thank you for sharing with your friends in the diaspora. I'm honored to be one of them.

A Guten Moed.