Legendary Israeli storyteller Rabbi S.Z. Kahana tells a story about three clergymen who were on a visit to Mount Zion in 1965. When they asked the Jewish curator of Mt. Zion why the Jews insist on claiming Jerusalem as the capital of the Israel instead of letting it remain an international city, he replied with an example from this chapter. When Moshe appointed Aharon as the Kohen Gadol, ‘High Priest,’ the people objected and murmured. Neither the earthquake that swallowed Korach and his followers nor the plague that followed were enough to convince the people that Aharon had been appointed by God. It was only once his staff blossomed, showing the vitality of life, that they accepted Aharon as the Kohen. The curator invited the visiting clergymen to climb up with him to the mountain’s observation tower. “From here, you can see both the old and new Jerusalem. In the old Arab-controlled section of the city, as you can observe, there is desolation: ruins, desert, and rocks. On our side is the new Jerusalem, where over 150,000 Jews have settled. You can see our new homes and schools, the new hospital and the new university. Everywhere you look, you see life, growth, and vitality. You ask: To whom does Jerusalem belong? It belongs to those who make it bud and blossom, to those who make it live and grow.” Half a century later, Jewish Jerusalem continues to show even more incredible signs of life and vitality. Yerushalayim in Jewish hands is indeed ordained by Hashem, just as the budding of Aharon’s staff demonstrated his divine selection.
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