Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
What's the last verse in the Tanach (Bible)? This was the question
asked by Emmanuel Zilberman, Director of the Jerusalem Education Administration, at the opening of the city's elementary schools' Bible contest.
He had first reminded us that we all know the first verse of the
Bible: "In the beginning, G-d created the heavens and the earth." But what about the last verse? Who knows it by heart?
So here, thousands of years after the verse that describes thec reation of the world, the following verse arrives, at the end of the
Book of Chronicles II: "So said Koresh the king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord God of heaven delivered to me, and he has commanded me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judea.Who is there among you from all his people? May the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up".
This is fascinating. The Bible begins with the most global andu niversal message. It's about God who created the universe, yet it ends with the most national and personal Jewish story: The same God who gave Koresh sovereignty over all the kingdoms on earth wants a little home in Jerusalem and wants us - with God's help - to go up there. This is the last word in the Bible: "Vaya'al" (and let him go up). That we should never cease to go up and raise ourselves up, even when we are already in the Land of Israel.