Today Gathering Sparks brings you two articles in honor of Yerushalayim Day.
The first, from Dr. Rachel Zohar Dulin in JUF News, discusses the Many Names of Yeru-sha-la-yim. It includes the following etymology:
Most scholars believe that Yru-shalem was the original name of the city. The name consisted of the verb ya-ra meaning 'to lay a foundation' and Shalem, after the name of the Canaanite patron god of the city. Thus, Yrusalem meant 'The Foundation (to the temple) of the god Shalem.' Jewish midrash took a different view. Basing it's etymology on biblical sources, the midrash made a synthesis between Shalem, the old name of the city (Gen 14:18), and yir-eh, meaning 'will see,' the name Abraham gave to the hill inYeru-sha-la-yim where he was prevented from sacrificing his son Isaac (Gen 22:14). Thus the name Yeru-sha-lem, according to this midrash, is a tribute to both the king who ruled The City with righteousness at the time of Abraham and the Patriarch's own faithfulness (Br. Raba 56:16). Furthermore, in Jewish lore the name Yeru-sha-la-yim also means the 'foundation of peace.' This lofty meaning is based on the root sh.l.m which means 'complete' or 'whole' and out of which the Hebrew word shalom is derived.Dr. Dulin concludes with a spirited reminder:
It is important to mention in this context that the name of the capital of Israel is Yeru-sha-la-yim; not Jerusalem or any other foreign pronunciation which corrupts the Hebrew origin of the name. For a name is a word affirming existence. If the name Yeru-sha-la-yim is mispronounced her recognition as our capital is at peril. Let us not condone it by indifference.
The second article is from the May 3, 2013 edition of Yisrael HaYom, by writer Yochi Barnedas, whose study of Jerusalem in Scriptures "caught her off guard." This article was brought to my attention by the Caspari Center, whose summary I'll quote:
“You say Jerusalem, you say division,” she writes, explaining that she had always assumed that the ultimate biblical vision for Jerusalem is that it will one day be completely Jewish. “I knew that the multi-national vision of Jerusalem was in Scripture, but I was sure that next to it I would find the dream of a Jerusalem that is entirely Jewish. I never imagined that I would not find a single verse that justified this approach. ... And yet, there are many verses that say exactly the opposite. ... Jerusalem is described in Scripture as God’s eternal city, not ours. The right to live and pray in this place is granted first and foremost to Israel ... but also to the Gentiles.” Barnedas quotes several passages to demonstrate this point, concluding her article by saying that “the sight of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim religious figures gathered together in the city of God, praying to him, is a fulfillment of the Bible’s prophetic vision. Our sages dreamed of this; for us, it is a daily reality.”In these two articles we see both the particularistic and the universalistic dimensions of Yerushalayim--both worth keeping in our thoughts today.
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