Passover: Next Year in Jerusalem

Passover: Next Year in Jerusalem

When Rav Kook visited the United States, scores of people came to see and meet him. The purpose of his trip, however, was to raise funds for Torah institutions in Eretz Yisrael.

The Philanthropist's Question

At one gathering in the Rav's honor, a well-known philanthropist agreed to give a very sizable donation to the cause, but only if the Chief Rabbi could explain to him a puzzling practice.

At the conclusion of both the Seder night and Yom Kippur, Jews the world over say, "Next year in Jerusalem." "I understand why Diaspora Jews say this," said the man, "but why do Jews who live in Holy City say it? Are they not already there?"

The Rav listened attentively to the question and then answered genially: "The matter is quite simple, my dear friend. First of all, in Jerusalem we add one word to our prayer. We say, "Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem" - and we still have a long way to go before that request is fulfilled in its entirety."

"But there is more," continued the Rav with a smile on his face.

"When we beseech God, 'Next year in Jerusalem,' we mean that we hope to be there in the fullest sense - in body, soul, and thought. We pray that our situation will be different than it is today, when people dwell in Jerusalem, but are preoccupied with planning trips to America raise funds."

Judging from the size of the man's donation, it was clear that he was especially pleased with the second answer.

[from An Angel Among Men by R. Simcha Raz, translated by R. Moshe Lichtman, pp. 253-254]

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