Message in the Wall
“The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands! All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.”
Sounds of gunfire, soldiers singing “Jerusalem of Gold,” and the faint sound of a shofar were heard over the army wireless. It was June 7, 1967, and the Israel Defense Forces paratroopers had just liberated the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Finally, for the first time in more than 2,500 years, a unified Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands.
The day after the liberation, Israeli Defense Minister Gen. Moshe Dayan wrote a short prayer and tucked it into a crevice of the Wall. Curious newsmen immediately removed it. It read, “This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23).
I remember a conversation I had in Jerusalem with a veteran rabbi of the Six-Day War. I mentioned that I had spoken with some Israelis who did not believe God had anything to do with Israel’s victory. He bristled and told me to tell those people to go to him and say that to his face. For him and many others, the liberation of Jerusalem was a great miracle—a special gift from God. Those of us who know the Lord have no doubt the Almighty was involved. Israel was vastly outnumbered and out-gunned on three fronts, yet won.
You can imagine the emotion at the Western Wall. Hearing the sound of the shofar as soldiers sang “Jerusalem of Gold” (see “‘Jerusalem of Gold’: A Special Song for a Special Time,” in the January/February 2015 issue) and the Israeli national anthem, “Hatikva.” The chief chaplain, Rabbi Shlomo Goren, holding a Torah scroll, recited a hymn of praise called “Kaddish,” followed by a memorial prayer called “Yizkor” for the fallen, as soldiers wept. Then in a solemn moment the rabbi cried out, “This year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! In the Jerusalem of old!”
Jerusalem has been at the heart of Judaism since the days of King David, when he made it his capital and moved the Ark of the Covenant there. It is no wonder the psalmist declared, “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill!” (137:5). For millennia Jewish people have rejoiced, mourned, and wept over Jerusalem, the only place on Earth where God has chosen to place His holy name. General Dayan was not a religious man, but the Scripture he chose from Psalm 118 is a reference to the Messiah: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (vv. 22–24).
Someday the Messiah will return to Jerusalem and establish His Kingdom. That event, too, will be the Lord’s doing; and it will be marvelous in our eyes.