Feeling God’s Presence in Jerusalem


In Memory of my Grandfather Harry (Tzvi) Dubrow z”l Who Passed Away this Past Friday


Immediately after Yaakov woke up from his dream about the ladder with the angels going up and down we read in Parshat Vayetzei 28:17: “He was in awe and said: ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of Elokim and this is the gate of heaven.’”


Rashi comments that this “place” is the same “place” that Avraham saw from afar on the way to the Akeda (the binding of Yitchak), meaning Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount).


Living in Israel, we may start to take these holy places for granted.  


I live right neat the Tayelet in Talpiot, the promenade where Avraham stood when he saw “the place” from afar. Even though we live so close, each time we visit or pass by, the view is still breathtaking. When we visit the Tayelet with friends who are here on vacation and see their excitement it reminds us to not lose sight of the fact that we can visit these sights on a regular basis.


This past Sunday, I went with the Midreshet Devora students to the Kotel for Shacharit on Rosh Chodesh Kislev. It was the day of my grandfather, Harry Dubrow’s z’l funeral in Connecticut. Even though I could not be physically at the funeral, I spiritually felt connected as I was literally standing and praying on his behalf at the “gate of heaven.”


On Wednesday, my two younger sons, Moshe and Yehuda decided to come with me and the young women from Midreshet Devora to Kever Rachel (Rachel’s Tomb) and Maarat HaMachpela (The Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs) in Chevron. They had just learned about Rachel Imenu (Mother of the Jewish People) as her Yahrzeit (anniversary of her death) was last month in Cheshvan. Moshe was studying Parshat Chayei Sara in school and learned about Chevron and its holy sites. In addition, they didn’t mind missing a day of school!


Seeing the holy sites with my children and my students who had never visited before opened my eyes to the deep holiness of the places and how the Jewish people from all over the world strive to have the opportunity to come to Israel to visit these sites and how we as Israelis must take time from our schedules to remind ourselves why we are here.


What my children were most surprised about was the fact that there are playgrounds and schools and houses in Chevron and that it is not just the city where our forefathers and foremothers are buried, it is a city of Jewish life.


I remember the fond memories that my grandparents Dorothy and Harry DuBrow z”l had of the Land of Israel from their one visit in the early seventies. They enjoyed seeing first hand how the ancient and modern cultures meshed together. My grandparents were very generous, giving Tzedaka to hospitals and orphanages and were partners in helping build up the State of Israel, they were true “Bonei Yerushalayim”, “Builders of Jerusalem.”