• Boris Dov Dolin

A Tale of Two Brothers

Every corner in Jerusalem has a story, a legend, a myth. One of the stories, coming deep from the Jewish texts, speaks about the place where the First and Second Temples will stand, about the Temple Mount.  

An old tale speaks about two brothers who shared a field. One night, after they divided the crops to two equal piles, the married brother woke up. "I have children to take care of me when I am old," he thought, "but my brother have no one. I should give him some of the wheat..." The single brother also awoke. "My brother has a family to provide," he thought, "and I am by myself. I should give him part of my pile." And so both brothers carried some of the wheat to the other's pile. In the morning they were amazed to see that the piles remained the same. Each night they carried wheat from side to side, and each morning nothing changed. Until one night they ran into each other in the middle of the field and fell, crying, on each other's shoulders. And in that place of pure brotherly love, a place of sacrifice and devotion, king Solomon decided to build a temple to God. 

A thousand years passed, and Jerusalem was surrounded by the Romans. The City was crowded and starving, full with confusion, despair and hatred - not only for the Romans, but also between the besieged Jews. While the armies of Rome sat on the surrounding hills, the rebels in the City fought among themselves. When the Romans finally advanced, there was no united resistance. The Temple was burnt, Jerusalem disappeared, thousands of lives were lost and the great exile began. The old men of those generations said that we lost Jerusalem because of "sin'at khinam" - pointless hatred. Love built it, and hatred destroyed it. Did we learn this lesson today?

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