When I was fourteen, I spent the school year with my family in Raanana, Israel. On יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן (yohm hah-zee-kah-ROHN – Memorial Day), I was hooked on the country.
A few weeks later, on יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַים (yohm yeh-roo-shah-LAH-yeem –Jerusalem Day), I traveled with my youth movement to Jerusalem, where, at one in the morning, we started marching with thousands of others from the Merkaz Harav yeshiva to the Old City.
We sat around enjoying the crisp air as well as each others’ company, and waited for the sunrise – הַזְּרִיחָה (hah-zree-KHAH).
|יום ירושלים at sunrise last year – not nearly as many people as I recall from 1994.|
|That’s more like it.|
The word זריחה comes from the root ז.ר.ח (z.r.h.), which refers specifically to the rising of the sun. One of Hebrew’s words for east is מִזְרַח (meez-RAKH) – since the east is where the sun rises.
A similar story with מַעֲרָב (mah-ah-RAHV) – west. It’s where the sun sets and creates evening – עֶרֶב (EH-rehv).
Happy יום ירושלים!