Guest Posting From Yitz Of Heichal HaNegina - Speak To The Heart Of Yerushalayim
From Yitz of Heichal HaNegina:
Nachamu, Nachamu Ami, yoamar Elokeichem. Dabru al Lev Yerushalayim…ki lakcha miyad Hashem kiflayim b’chol chatoseha – Be comforted, be comforted, My people, says your G-d. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her...for she has taken from the Hand of Hashem doubly for all of her sins.” [Yeshayahu/Isaiah 40:1-2].
What, indeed, is meant by the ‘heart of Yerushalayim’? The Degel Machaneh Ephraim answers this by citing a teaching of his grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov. A Jewish King is like the heart of the People. He cites the journey made by Shmuel HaNavi [Samuel the Prophet] to Bethlehem to anoint Yishai’s son [David] as King, to replace Shaul after the latter had sinned against Hashem by not properly waging war against Amalek. Shmuel asks Hashem, “How can I go? For if Shaul hears [of this], he will kill me” [I Shmuel, 16:2]. The question arises that Shmuel seems more concerned about his going to anoint David, which should be easy enough to do unnoticed. Why was he not concerned about his return, which would be after the anointment, which might not be that easy to conceal?
The Baal Shem Tov explains that the King, as the heart of the Jewish People, “hears” – that is, he understands what is going on, why and to what end Shmuel is going to Bethlehem, so he might be killed. But upon Shmuel’s return, after David is anointed and Shaul is no longer the King, Shmuel then has no fear of Shaul discovering what has happened.
The Degel goes on to explain that the heart is the central organ in the body, through which the blood circulates throughout, thus providing the life-force to all the limbs. The feet or hands cannot move without a directive from the heart. So it is with the Jewish King – anything significant cannot occur within his Kingdom without his involvement.
Just as the heart is the central factor in the body, so is Yerushalayim the center of the world. When our Sages in Pirkei Avos [Ethics of the Fathers, 2:9] were asked for the most “upright path that a person should cling to,” the best answer was that of Rabbi Elazar ben Arach, “a good heart,” for it included all the others. For the heart is the source for all the other limbs of the body, just like Yerushalayim is the life-source for the entire world. Our Sages also say that if the head of the nation [the heart, or the King] is good, all is well – for his subjects will follow in his ways, like the legions follow the King.
What then, is a good heart? The Degel tells us, that certainly it is a broken heart – that is its fulfillment. As the prophet says [Yeshayahu 57:15], “I dwell with the crushed ones,” and “the [best] sacrifice to G-d is a broken spirit” [Tehillim, 51:19]. On the other hand, a haughty heart is an abomination to G-d [Proverbs, 16:5].
The heart was created for G-d to dwell within: “build me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell therein” [Shemos, 25:8]. And since G-d only desires to dwell within those who are broken-hearted, that is the fulfillment of “a good heart.” When the heart has achieved this perfection, it is called Yerushalayim, the Holy City.
This then, is what the Navi Yeshaya is hinting at with his words: “speak to the heart of Yerushalayim.” That is, speak to the heart, that it should become Yerushalayim – where G-d dwells, amongst the broken-hearted and humble people. And then the people can be redeemed, for the limbs will follow the heart, like the legions after the King. And this will result in an appeasement of their sins, for “the sacrifice to G-d is a broken spirit” – better than any other sacrifice.