AL har tzi-YON she-sha-MAYM shu-a-LEEM hi-l’-khu VO
Though the image of jackals running freely on Har HaBayit certainly reflects the devastation and desolation of Yerushalayim, some find hope even in the depths of darkness. The Talmud (Makkot 24b) relates that a number of leading Sages were visiting Yerushalayim following the destruction of the Temple, and they came upon the ruins of the Temple Mount. Upon seeing a jackal scamper across the holiest site in the world, three of the four rabbis began to cry. The great Rabbi Akiva, on the other hand, began to laugh joyously. Shocked, they asked him to explain his behavior. Rabbi Akiva explained that if the prophecies of destruction had indeed been fulfilled, we can be certain that the promises of redemption will also be fulfilled. The Jews have always maintained immutable optimism and unwavering faith that the Almighty will preserve His covenant with them, and in modern times He has begun to fulfill His promises of redemption.