Last week, Rabbi Yosef Berger, one of the rabbis in charge of King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem’s Old City, took an enormous step towards making his year-long dream a reality.
Rabbi Berger’s dream was to write a Torah scroll to present to the Messiah upon his arrival. Since David’s Tomb, the burial place of the Messiah’s ancestor, is located on Mount Zion, Rabbi Berger is uniquely positioned to personally present the Torah to the Messiah.
The Rabbi believes that by writing a Torah scroll which includes all of Israel, and keeping that scroll on Mount Zion, it will fulfill the requirements to usher in the Messiah.
Rabbi Berger explained to Breaking Israel News how he learned this from Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of teachings believed to have been arranged in the 13th century. He quoted the text:
“’Rabbi Shimon Ben Monsia said, ‘No signs of redemption will be shown to Israel until they seek these three things – the kingdom of heaven , the dynasty of King David, and the building of the Temple.’ Writing a scroll housed on Mount Zion, where King David is interred, and adjacent to the Temple Mount, will accomplish all three goals in one action,” the rabbi explained.
In December, the first letters of the scroll were inscribed by Rabbi David Hai Abuhatzeira, the grandson of the prominent Moroccan Sephardic mystic Rabbi Israel Abuhatzeira, known as the Baba Sali. At the time, Rabbi Abuhatseira urgently instructed the organizers of the project, “Write the Sefer Torah as fast as possible, you don’t have much time!…I hope you have a chance [to finish]!”
It appears that Rabbi Berger finished this stage of the project in time. Last Thursday, the ceremony to consecrate the new Torah scroll began at the Kotel (Western Wall) in Jerusalem and moved to the adjacent Ohel Yitzchak Synagogue, where the final letters were written by a collection of honored rabbis.
The ceremony was on the seventh day of the Hebrew month Adar, which is both the birth date and the Yahrtzeit (anniversary of the death) of Moses. Apropos to the momentous occasion, Rabbi Berger announced to the crowd, “Moses was truth, and his Torah was truth, and this Torah will never change.”
He then quoted from the book of Hosea
“For the Bnei Yisrael shall sit solitary many days without king and without prince and without sacrifice and without pillar and without ephod or teraphim; afterward shall Bnei Yisrael return and seek the LORD their God and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the LORD and to His goodness in the end of days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)
The assembled celebrants then paraded around the walls of Jerusalem which were lit up especially to honor the occasion.
Thousands of celebrants accompanied the Torah scroll to its new home at David’s Tomb on Mount Zion.
The momentous occasion was attended by several of Israel’s leading rabbis: Rabbi Yitzchak Shtern, Rabbi Shalom Berger (the present Mishkoltz Rebbe), Rabbi Reuven Elbaz (a leading Israeli Sephardic rabbi and a member of the The Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah), Rabbi Dov Lior (the Chief Rabbi of Kiryat Arba), Rabbi Shalom Ber Sorotzkin (head of the Ateret Shlomo Yeshiva), among many other honored rabbis and participants.
The ceremony was immediately followed by a global recitation of the Shema prayer. The organizers of the event were hoping that having all of Israel join together in reading the entire Shema would save Israel from the terrifying wave of terror that has plagued the Jewish state since October.
Rabbi Berger has also initiated a new, unusual project: a book of Psalms, which were written by King David, hand-written on parchment. When completed, the scroll will be on display in a special case at David’s Tomb where the public can openly read from it. Reading David’s prayers at his burial site will be especially fitting when the Messiah, David’s descendent, finally arrives.