On Tisha B’Av, at Mincha, the prayer which we recite for Rebuilding Jerusalem (V’LeYerushalayim Ircha) is different than on any other day. The following words are added:
Nachem- Console O Lord our God,
The mourners of Zion
The mourners of Jerusalem,
And the city that is in sorrow, laid waste,
Scorned and desolate;
That grieves for the loss of its children,
That is laid waste of its dwellings,
Robbed of its glory, desolate without inhabitants.
She sits with her head covered like a barren childless woman.
Legions have devoured her;
Idolaters have taken possession of her;
They have put your people Israel to the sword
and deliberately killed the devoted followers of the Most High.
Therefore Zion weeps bitterly,
And Jerusalem raises her voice.
My heart, my heart grieves for those they killed;
I am in anguish for those they killed.
For you, O Lord, consumed it with fire
And with fire you will rebuild it in the future,
As I said (Zecharia 2:9) “And I myself will be a wall of fire around it says the Lord and I will be its glory within.”
Blessed are you HaShem who consoles Zion and rebuilds Jerusalem.
Since 1967, there have been opinions that the Nachem prayer is no longer relevant since the city of Jerusalem is now in Jewish hands.
However, I have to disagree with them. We have the Kotel yet Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews are not free to live or even walk in every neighborhood of Jerusalem yet the Arab Israelis are free drive and shop wherever they choose. Much of the Eastern side of Jerusalem is poorly maintained including the Temple Mount itself where garbage is dumped and antiquities are discarded.
Some believe that we should no longer say that “Jerusalem is desolate without inhabitants” when in fact there are almost 500,000 Jews living in Jerusalem.
There may be a lot of Jews living in Jerusalem but there could be a lot more. Since 1967, the Jews who have returned to the Old City of Jerusalem have rebuilt the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel Plaza. There are some Jewish families in the Muslim Quarter who unfortunately need 24 hour security guards (set up by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon). There are also small Jewish communities on Har Hazeitim (Mt. of Olives), also with full time security. However, for the most part Jews are excluded from the much less expensive Eastern side of Jerusalem. The price of housing in the Jewish neighborhoods is very high which unfortunately keeps young families from being able to remain in Jerusalem.
The words “That grieves for the loss of its children” unfortunately ring true today. Our hearts grieve for all of the soldiers who have been killed fighting for Jerusalem and the State of Israel.
Just as the Beit HaMikdash was destroyed by fire, we have unfortunately seen many fires in the South of Israel over the past few months started by kites, balloons and rockets fired from Gaza with no end in sight.
Today we still have a lot to cry for in Jerusalem yet the prayer is called “Nachem”, “console” just as the Shabbat after Tisha B’Av is called “Shabbat Nachamu”, “the Shabbat of consolation.”
If so many horrible prophecies have been fulfilled then it is time for the second part of the prophecies to come to fruition as well.
As it says in Zecharia 8:4-5: “Thus said Hashem, Master of Legions: Old men and old women will once again sit in the streets of Jerusalem each with his staff in hand because of advanced age; and the streets of the city will be filled with boys and girls playing in the streets.”
In Zecharia 8:7-8 we read “Thus said HaShem, Master of Legions: Behold I am saving My people from the land of the east and from the land where the sun sets; and I will bring them and they will dwell within Jerusalem. They will be a people unto Me and I will be a God unto them in truth and in righteousness.”
Despite everything that has been going on, these prophecies are coming true. Jews from all over the world continue to visit Israel and many even make aliya.
We have to do our part to continue fulfilling the prophecy of bringing Jewish families to the Land of Israel and filling the streets with people of all ages and backgrounds.
May God answer the prayer that we recite at Mincha on Tisha B’Av and console Zion and rebuild Jerusalem.