Meanwhile, time passes. One more spring is here. With the end of harvest time, throngs of people arrive here from every corner of the land, to celebrate the festival of Shavuot. By instituting this pilgrimage, which happens three times a year, I have turned the City of David into a spiritual center, as well as an economic hub.
Farmers and shepherds are pulling their wagons or riding their donkeys up the winding roads to Jerusalem, carrying sacks of wheat, bags of nuts, loads of fruits and vegetables, and meats of every kind. First they offer a sacrifice in front of the tabernacle of God, which is pitched at the top of the newly named Temple Mount. This is a site I have recently designated for a future temple.
Then they spread out around the city, to trade their produce for bread and drink. You see vendors all around the city, setting up stands at every street corner. You hear their voices ringing in every market, competing one against the other to reach the most ear-splitting, deafening volume. With great flair, they are praising the freshness of their produce or the quality of their merchandise, and announcing bargain prices which are only starting points for animated bargaining. They exchange ducks for cows, tomatoes for meat, flowers for furniture. The spirit of renewal is everywhere.
To entertain the masses I organize a huge parade. At the head of the royal procession, dancers are twirling their skirts about, actors are brandishing toy swords over their heads, musicians are blowing their trumpets, striking their cymbals, and beating their drums, all with intense rhythms that combine together to quicken the blood.
Standing in my golden chariot, here I arrive, with my two adorable young boys: Adonijah on my left and Solomon on my right. I hand them the reins, and teach them to guide the team of three horses at a steady trot.
“Don’t tighten the reins,” I tell Solomon, “or you’ll lose control.”
“I’m trying, dad,” he says.
“I can do it,” says Adonijah, trying to nudge me aside. “Here, let me show you!”
“Slow down! This is a breakneck pace,” I tell him. “What’s the rush, all of a sudden?”
“I’m impatient,” he says.
“I can’t do it, dad,” says Solomon, handing the reins back to me.
I smile at his freckled face.
“No matter,” I say. “Take your time. Meanwhile, wave to the people around you. Give each and every one of them a little nod.”
And turning to Adonijah I say, “Look at all these people. Not so long ago they thought of themselves as members of different tribes, at odds with one another. Now we’re all one nation. What you’re watching is more than merely a parade. This, you see, is history in the making!”
“They’re so happy,” says Solomon, looking up to me.
“They’re loving us,” says Adonijah, glancing at them.
“Take it all in,” I tell them. “Watch the horses. See the feathers crowning their heads bobbing as they trot. See the waves rolling with the wind along their manes, their tails. Enjoy the bright sparkle of the sun, sliding upon their skin with each movement. Hear the music, the blaring applause. This, boys, is a moment to remember.”
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