“A Song of Ascents. When Hashem brought back those that returned to Tzion, we were like unto them that dream.” (Psalms 126:1)
Psalm 126 refers to Zion, one of the Bible’s names for Jerusalem in particular and the Land of Israel in general. It is closely related to the Hebrew word for special and distinctive, ‘m’tzuyan’ (מצוין). This teaches that God’s holy city is not just a location, it is a way of life. According to former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, “Zion is not just a place. It is a way of life. Jews are called to moral excellence, to be different…” God created a special place on earth which would be the ideal incubator for spiritual growth. The word Zion, therefore, describes not only where we live but how we must live. Psalm 126 is recited by Jews upon completing a meal, connecting each daily meal with the eternal Jewish longing for Zion; for physical redemption and spiritual greatness. When God finally returns His people to Israel, “we will be like dreamers,” as the actual redemption and heightened spirituality will be even greater than hoped.
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