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Forgetting My Right Hand

Forgetting My Right Hand

How can we forget Jerusalem, a concept inextricably attached to who we are as Jews?


I was an X-ray away from having my right hand in a cast.

Thankfully, it was just pulled tendons and I had to rest it for a few days.

No driving. No typing. No brushing my teeth properly, washing the dishes or any of the other daily activities I take for granted.

Do we realize how much we need something while we have it… or while we don't?

We forget…

My injury occurred during the Three Weeks, the saddest period of the Jewish Year, in which we mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and all it represents.

And I recalled the famous verse, "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget [its skill]." (Psalms, 137:5)

I'd never really thought about it before, but what does "let my right hand forget [its skill]" mean?

I saw a number of interesting explanations.

No one can imagine functioning without a right hand, and it is inconceivable we could forget it. It is equally impossible for us to forget Jerusalem, a concept inextricably attached to who we are as Jews.

Indeed, for the Jew to forget Jerusalem is tantamount to forgetting God, for God is always at our right hand -- "I have always set God before me; I shall not falter because He is at my right hand." (Psalms, 16:8)

Another explanation is that God is saying this to the Jewish people, i.e. He vows never to permanently forsake Jerusalem. For Him to do so would be equivalent to a human being giving up his right hand.

The Jewish people are God's right-hand man.

Jerusalem is the Jew's right hand.

There is a natural, innate connection.

Yes, people do make do with one hand or the loss of other limbs, but it is not the ideal.

And yes, Jews are living in physical and spiritual abundance today without the Holy Temple in a rebuilt Jerusalem.

But it is not the ideal. It is not natural.

My right hand shakes a client's hand… Moves the words on this page… Raises my cup to drink…

When we realize Jerusalem can also shake us, move us and raise us even higher than we are now, chances are we could merit a return to the Holy Temple speedily in our days.

For the speedy recovery of Miriam bas Leah, my dear mother-in-law, who broke her right hand two weeks ago!

August 2, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 12

(12) General Andrew F. Strasser, July 27, 2012 3:02 AM

God Bless You.... I feel the very same way.

I so feel this way. I think that it is time for Lebanon to give the areas of the treaty back to Israel like they agreed to do... But then again why would you do what you said you would when you preach Peace!

(11) aliza, June 9, 2010 8:03 AM

Our soul comes out in our right hand it is strong & stands by Yerushalayim. That the spiders &lions shouldnever be near it again. Please make a Mishibarach for a soul who needs it badly this Tisha B'Av.Eliyahu Tzvi ben Hinda Reva. He has double pneumonia,problems walking & breathing. Unfortunatly Shlomo &Yarriv Nehama's relative, who are members of the gov't& &banking community.

(10) Ezra, June 9, 2010 8:02 AM


I enjoyed this, and have hovering over the fence of making aliyah back to Israel. We belong in Jerusalem, it is our home.

(9) Chaim, June 9, 2010 8:02 AM

An Israeli goverment that seeks to cede Jerusalem should be brought down immediately..

This article is right on target. Given that we have signed many agreements with "Palestinians" and they are all worthless, why would we seek another? Even more to the point, why would we even think of ceding Jerusalem under any circumstances? Any Israeli government that seeks to cede Jerusalem is a very dangerous government and should be brought down immediately.

(8) Rebel, April 14, 2010 12:00 AM


I don't know much about animal sacrifices, but we have to work to rebuild Jerusalem, and eventually the Temple (with the help of HaShem) and if animal sacrifices will be required so be it.

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