When Mourning comes Full Circle

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Ancient Jerusalem is finally sharing her story of the dire days during the Destruction; ash layers, arrow heads, a roman sword. But the most chilling evidence lies beneath the Pilgrm Road...

A roman sword, 2000 year old cooking pots, ancient arrow heads and two ash layers later, the City of David – home to Ancient Jerusalem, has started to put together the puzzle pieces of the dire days of destruction during the first and second temple periods. One of the most heart rending stories in a far too long chapter of suffering, was discovered underneath the legendary pilgrim ascent from the Shiloach Pool up to Temple Mount.
 A few years ago the drainage pipe underneath this road was discovered. Like all drainage pipes, swallowing up precious treasures that people drop or loose during the everyday hustle and bustle, the same goes for this ancient old tunnel.  Many remarkable treasures surfaced ranging from an ornate golden bell of the High Priest's garment (Exodus 28: 33-35) to a very rare and precious seal that was used within the Temple compound, marking the Temple equipment as ritually "Pure-for-G-d".  
Uncovering a courageous human dimension of the same time period, our archeologists later discovered intact cooking pots with bronze coins scattered next to the pots. Imprinted on these coins was the ultimate goal of the rebels during the revolt against the Roman oppressors: "For the Freedom of Zion". On the flipside of the coins was imprinted "The Holy Jerusalem". It became clear that in the days following the destruction survivors lived in the drainage systems, hiding. 
An even more chilling picture emerged when the research team discerned deliberate breaches, executed by great force, in several places of the road over the underground drainage pipe as well as a 2000 year old roman sword…
Something amazing happens ever so often during our excavations in the City of David: archaeology once again confirms the written story. In this we count ourselves truly blessed, since so many events described in the Bible, as well as in many ancient historical manuscripts, may it be the Talmud or secular writings, happened in the few hundred square meters of the City of David– the original location of Ancient Jerusalem. This is the only place where you will find Biblical history wrapped up in a time capsule situated just footsteps outside the walls of the Old City.
Confirming the findings, Josephus Flavius, the only historian who described the siege of Jerusalem methodically in his book History of the Jewish War against the Romans, recounts the fate of the rebel refugees: "For after all who showed themselves had been either slain or taken prisoner by the Romans, the victors instituted a search for those in the tunnels, and - tearing up the ground, slew all whom they met; here too were found upwards of two thousand dead, of whom some had been destroyed by their own and some by one another's hands, but a greater number by famine."
The Laughter of a Great Sage
It is important for the soul to mourn. One can’t reach a state of closure without it. A person can't move on without mourning, because with mourning comes ownership. You own up to your connection to the cause of your mourning, your love connected to it, and perhaps your responsibility connected to it. 
But then the story turns. It has to. The inevitability of this turnabout is encapsulated in Rabbi Akiva's laughter. When the other Rabbis accompanying him saw the destruction of Jerusalem, and the ravage of the Temple Mount, they witnessed a fox emerging from the Holiest site on earth. At this they broke down weeping. 
But Rabbi Akiva started to laugh. They said to him: "Akiva, you never cease to amaze us. We are crying, and you laugh? " Rabbi Akiva replied, "And you, why are you crying? For just as we have seen the prophecies of Jerusalem's destruction have come to pass, so too, know that the prophecies of her future consolation shall also be fulfilled. I laugh because I remembered the verses, 'Elderly men and women will once again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each with his staff in his hand because of advanced age; and the streets of the city will be filled with little boys and girls playing in its streets.' (Zechariah 8:4-5) The Holy One, blessed be He, has declared that just as the first prophecies have been fulfilled, so shall the latter. I am joyous that the first have already come to pass, for the latter shall be fulfilled in the future.'
Come to the City of David. Come walk through the tunnels where the last refugees awaited their imminent fate. Come see the places where destruction reared its fearsome blow, come mourn it, come take ownership - it is your history too. Then raise your eyes and see the children playing in the walkways, the elderly sitting and enjoying the view at our wonderful visitor's center – that's you, finding yourself in the midst of a very long awaited prophecy and a hope fulfilled. 
After you've taken all of that in, place your hands on the very stones of which are promised:"… the city shall be rebuilt on its mound, and the palace shall stand where it used to be."* . This is your future and your responsibility. 
*Jermaiah 30:18b

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