It is Tisha B’av and I write from the city that sits alone. Jerusalem, last night your streets were filled with pilgrim mourners and police forces, pillow-carrying grandfathers and acne-riddled flag waving teenagers, one guy I saw driving through the Jewish quarter on a Kawasaki. Yid on a Mamluk bike traversing ancient Roman sidewalks. Rak po.
So what is my prayer? I would like one day to see the security fence torn down and the concrete and metal from the rubble be formed by a group of artisans and architects into a third temple. A new har habayit in Jerusalem built not from hewn stones, but out of the very symbol of the fear and division between peoples. Large bulldozers ascending the mountain with their sacrifices, cement blocks of watch towers, highway barriers, barbed wire. This I offer up, a new mishkan.
It will all be transformed, swords into plowshares, the barbed wire untangled to create a mosaic of the milky way galaxy, an olive orchard, a single human cell – twelve mosiacs that line the entry way to the new throne of the Divine Presence. Gates will be on all sides of the new Temple, welcoming those from the Egyptian and Babylonian highways, EZ Pass, and we will bring even those small symbols of fear – security alarm sirens, locks, bicycle chains – all of us pilgrims with wheelbarrows full of such things. we will walk, singing songs of redemption, or simply being content with the new silence. the sound of footsteps is music enough.
For the new Tisha B’av we will feast on Leviathan, spilling a few drops of wine for every year that passed that we let our reptilian blood rule our lives. We were like dreamers, we will say, in the new Eden.