The Desolation of Jerusalem

On Saturday morning while sitting in the synagogue, I was considering the many optimistic prayers (siddurs) and songs being sung about the triumphant joy, celebration, singing and dancing in the streets that would accompany the restoration of Jerusalem. It came to my mind that prior to this exultant time, there would be a period when Jerusalem would be desolate. In what I “saw” (I am not visionary, so I use this word with extreme reservation, but I have no substitute) of the city, there was no destruction, per se. Rather, it appeared as if were simply abandoned, as if everyone simply left. It looked as it might were the city downwind from a nuclear storm, or drug resistant pestilence. It was lifeless, destitute and laid waste. This “vision” left me in a most desolate mood, which forced me outside to raise my hands high in prayer and to ask if the heavens were now, again, weeping.

I pondered if the idea of descent before ascent might well apply to Jerusalem, New Jerusalem, and/or Zion. I wonder if Zenos’ allegory closing with these words, “…and then cometh the season and the end; and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire
(Jacob 5:77),” might refer to such a state as related above.

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