by Rabbi Adam Roffman
When I was in day school, each spring, we would gather on the large front lawn of our synagogue’s campus for the annual balloon ascension. Scores of young children and teachers would march in formation, clutching dozens of strings in both hands, each one tied to a colorful balloon tagged with the name of an individual who had bought a raffle ticket for the event. With great anticipation, we waited for the signal to release the balloons up into the air; a sea of reds, blues, yellows, and greens. Finally, we returned to our classrooms and began an even longer period of waiting to see whose balloon would travel the farthest.
By Rabbi Ari Sunshine
The Talmud in tractate Ta’anit 5a speaks of “Yerushalayim shel ma’alah” (the heavenly Jerusalem) and “Yerushalayim shel matah” (the lower, or earthly, Jerusalem), when Rabbi Yohanan explains that God won’t enter the heavenly Jerusalem until first entering the earthly Jerusalem.
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