A Guide to Israel
and its Holy sites
While the name
Yerushalayim is not found in the Torah
at all, and is first mentioned as one of the cities that was captured by
Yehoshua when the
Jews entered into the promised land, we do find it under another name, "Shalem,"
which means peace or complete. When Avraham Avinu returned from the war against the four
kings who had captured his nephew Lot, Malkei Tzedek (who was actually
Shem the son of Noach) came out to greet him with bread and wine. Later on (by the
Akeidas Yitzchok), Avraham named it Hashem Yirah,
Hashem should see and choose. The Gemarah (Taanis) says
the name Yerushalayim is therefore a combination of these two names given to it by both
Shem and Avraham.
The city of Yerushalayim was actually inhabited by the Yevusi (one of
Canaan's children) and it was first captured by Dovid HaMelech many years later. It was
he that purchased the hill of Moriah from Aravna Ha'Yevusi for 600
shkalim and decided to
use this former threshing floor to build the Bais HaMikdash on it. This turned
Yerushalayim into the Jewish capital city for eternity.
It was here that the first Bais HaMikdash built by Shlomo
for 410 years until it was destroyed by Nevuchadnetzer the king of Bavel.
Seventy years later the second Bais HaMikdash was built here by
Ezra and Nechemya. It lasted for 420 years and was destroyed by the Roman General Titus.
Archaeological digs have uncovered many remnants from those times.
To get a look at what Yerushalayim looked like during the time of the
first Bais HaMikdash, one can visit a fascinating exhibit located on Rechov Shonei
Halachot in the Jewish quarter of the old city.
To see what
Yerushalayim looked like during the time of the second Bais HaMikdash, you can go to the Holy Land Hotel which is located near
Bayit Vegan. Here you will see an impressive scaled down model of the
Bais HaMikdash which also
includes the cities walls, palaces, citadels and houses. Take along the enclosed guide
which will give you a clear explanation of what you are seeing.
Other models of the Bais HaMikdash can also be seen in the Kotel Tunnels
You can see a beautiful slide show (in RealPlayer format) of the Western
Wall ( Kotel Ha'Maaravi ) narrated by Steven Hill on our JewishVideo