Yom Tov in Yerushalayim
R' Pinchos Lipshutz describes his experience of celebrating Shavuot in Yerushalayim, and concludes:
At the same time, however, signs of what could be, and once was, are all over. There are so many people whose families came to the country clinging to ancient beliefs and traditions and have lost all connection with them. There is poverty and depravity all over. When you see a car traveling down a road on Shabbos, you know that it is your brothers and sisters driving by. The sight stabs you right in the heart as you ponder what could be and what is. When you observe and read about the vilification of the religious community in the Holy Land, and experience the hatred and awful cynicism to things holy, you feel profaned and hurt. You pine for the day of veheishiv lev avos al bonim.
When you stand at the Kosel and hear the symphonious melodic prayers, you recognize that while it sounds beautiful to you, those disparate sounds are actually signs of exile and destruction. When the Bais Hamikdosh stood, we all prayed with the same voice, inflection, dialect and accent. When you walk to the Kosel on Shavuos and think that it resembles aliyah leregel, you realize how far removed we are from the real thing.
We don’t have kohanim performing the avodah, or leviim singing shirah, or Yisroelim walking up to the Holy City with their shepselach in tow. There are no bikkurim-laden baskets, no terumah for the kohanim and maaser for the leviim. We stand at the Kosel, the lone remnant of what was once the most imposing building ever constructed, laid to waste by the Romans 2,000 years ago.
The closest we can get to the site of the Bais Hamikdosh is to climb to the roof of a home in the Rova HaYehudi and peer out as shualim strut about on the Har Habyis.
There is no nevuah and the Urim Vetumim is dark and in hiding along with the klei haMikdosh. Reviled, we live under the rule of agnostics and are spread across the world far from the nexus of kedushah.
We drive up Har Hazeisim to visit kevorim and realize how many leaders and loved ones we have lost. We peer down towards the makom haMikdosh and hope for the time when the Shechinah will return to this very mountain at the End of Days and herald techiyas hameisim and the ultimate redemption.
May we merit its occurrence speedily, in our day.