פִּתְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק אָבֹא בָם
Open for me, gates of triumph, open that I may enter and praise H’. This is the gate to H’, through which the company of the Righteous pass.
“Open for me the gates.” The prayer is earnest, the intention pure, but the answer may still be ‘no’; you may not come in, you will have to remain outside. Was not the Great Teacher, Moses himself, denied permission to go into the Land (though he did gaze at it from the mountaintop)? And did not those others, the lost generations, traverse many stations of trial and purification, only to perish in the wilderness, yearning for but never approaching the Holy of Holies?
And yet, we are told, the farthest are the nearest, the outermost are the innermost, and the most distant of limbs have a place within the heart of hearts.
So the traveler, excluded from those circles of priests and tiers of levites, sits encamped beyond the walls, and there chants a different song of praise: Blessed is the One that contains the All.