(Dug up this old piece just in time for Jerusalem Day.)
As our Creator decides upon a name for a man, for a woman or for a city, he imparts, with the breath of his mouth, a spark of his own essence, a piece of eternity. He spoke the name “Jerusalem,” unto his chosen city, and exhaled his divinely crafted destiny upon her. The lips of heaven touched earth; and this place on earth would bear their imprint eternally.
Jerusalem, city of peace; is this some sort of divine joke? Our forefather, Avraham, (his name means “the father of many,”) was an elderly, impotent man with no progeny to honor his name, inherit his wealth, or carry on the story of his faith. Just imagine the gossip around the local water hole. “There goes old Avi.” They shake their heads.
Another comments, shielding his eyes from the searing summer wind, “Sure, with his body as good as dead, his seed dry, you think he’ll be a daddy anytime soon?”
“No, he’ll be a father of many; many tribes, many nations even.” The men explode into such laughter they spill their water and one laughs so hard he falls off his donkey onto the scorching desert sand below.
Within the supernaturally gifted name of Jerusalem, lies buried the hidden key to her destiny, and perhaps, also the destiny of those who love her. Ancient Hebrew letters were pictographs, much like Egyptian hieroglyphs. Each letter tells a story, and together the word pictures are like frames of a documentary film.
“Yerushalyim,” is the Hebrew word for Jerusalem. Its Hebrew letters are, “yod,” “resh,” “vav,” “shin,” “lamed,” “yod,” and “mem sofit.” The first letter, “yod” is a divine hand, reaching from the heavens above to the earth below. “Resh,” represents the head of a man, or the leader of a kingdom, raised above others. The “resh” can also represent a wicked man, a “rasha,” that strays from his spiritual home and divine destiny. “Vav,” is a nail or a tent peg that had to be strong enough to secure a tent dwelling against the harsh desert winds and sandstorms. The “shin” portrays tongues of fire of supernatural origin. A “lamed” is a teacher, or a shepherd’s rod or staff. We see another “yod,” the presence of the divine hand reaching down yet again. A “mem” is a picture of flowing water, and a mem sofit, a final mem, expands the image to one of eternally flowing water.
These disparate images can be fitted together like a puzzle, and a clearer picture emerges. The divine hand reaches down from heaven to the earth below, and opens up a channel of interaction between eternity and mortality. Then, we see a kingdom leader. Will the divine hand lead the kingdom? Will a man who submits to heaven rule it? Or, will a wicked man or a tyrant lead? A ruler may shepherd his people to the bush that burned, yet was not consumed, or will he draw his people into evil and the resulting destructive flames of judgment?
The raging fires have burned themselves out, and the city appears a barren, wasteland. There is no life, no place for life to take hold, and no sustenance to nurture life. There is only death, to the East, to the North, to the South and to the West. But wait, all is not lost! At the end of days, the divine hand reaches down again, and causes water to flow upon the dry, burnt land. Flowing water floods the land and it is washed, cleansed by a pure stream. Springs burst forth from the depths. The earth yields choicest fruit and the mountains drip with sweet wine. The peoples hear and come from afar, to drink of the springs, to be fed by the fruit, and their hearts will rejoice in the wine. And all the peoples of the earth will come up to the City, to be touched by the divine hand. They will no longer hunger, nor thirst, for food and drink shall be plenty. And they will wander no more, for their shepherd shall guide them.
Another interesting fact about the word, “Yerushalayim,” in Hebrew, is that the name uses an irregular plural that is only used for certain plurals, most of which are dual pairs, such as eyes, hands, feet, ears. Inner body parts that are dual, such as lungs, kidneys, do not use this irregular plural, while words that are not body parts such as heavens, waters, do employ it. For example, to say, “hand,” in Hebrew, you would say, “yad;” but to say hands, you do not say, “yadim,” but, “yadayim.”
My theory is that the irregular plurals hint at non-physical, beyond this world counterparts. Yerushalayim is a city at a specific geographical location, longitude and latitude upon this earth, but the city also exists in a place outside this world, and perhaps that city is the real, eternal city, while this one is only a temporal reflection. In the same way, there are metaphysical waters and heavens, spiritual eyes, ears, hands and feet, that are intangible, yet real. May those things that are temporal conform, and solidify from the reflections that they are now into the fullness they were designed to proclaim from the beginning.
With thanks to Bill Bullock of TheRabbi’s Son for his insights, and research from: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/.