My Rebbe Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt”l used to tell how on a trip to Israel he made a point of stopping in Rome so that he could daven under the infamous Arch of Titus. He wanted to demonstrate that centuries after the Romans pillaged Jerusalem and the Beis Hamikdash (the Temple), the Jewish People not only survived but were flourishing.
Today I was reminded of this story today when I had occasion to say kaddish at a mincha minyan in the US Capitol building.
The circumstances were obviously quite different – I was invited by my good friend Bob Levi to participate in a National Council of Young Israel Washington Leadership Mission to the White House and the Congress. Nonetheless, it felt rather incongruous to me that here I was davening mincha and saying kaddish after a presentation by Senator Ben Cardin and before Senator John McCain was to address the gathering.
In one fundamental sense, however, the message was the same. Standing in the halls of power of the most powerful country in the world, listening to the statements and analyses of powerful White House officials and Congressional leaders, I could not help but repeat to myself – There is a Creator who rules every aspect of the universe, every moment of every day and every night. It is He who we should be beseeching and is is only upon Him we can, should and, must rely.