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By: Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron
Returning to the Holy Presence in Our Holy Land
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"Let us now relate the power of this day's holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth On Rosh Hashanah they will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur they will be sealed And Repentance, Prayer, and Charity avert the severe Decree!" It is on the kindness of God, "Who remembers the kindness of our Forefathers", that we put our trust as we enter the Day of Judgment. Therefore, one of the primary ways of seeking compassion and atonement on this day is connecting to our Holy Land, "altar of atonement" in general, and to Hebron, "City of the Forefathers", in specific. The Holy Land is called an "altar of atonement" by our Sages based on the end of our title quote which ties "His Land" to the concept of "atonement". Similarly, the special link between the Land of Israel and atonement may be seen in a halachic context as well, as in the "offering of atonement for mistaken rulings" offered in the Bait HaMikdash. "The offering for mistaken rulings" ("he-elem davar") pertains to an offering of atonement for mistaken rulings of the Sanhedrin executed by the majority of the people (or tribe) living in the Land of Israel. While, generally speaking, such an instance in the Diaspora would require each person to give a personal offering of atonement, in the Land of Israel only the Sanhedrin, who delivered such a ruling, is liable to bring one offering for the collective whole. Thus, the "collective whole" and compassion/"atonement" are integrally part of the Land of Israel in general, and of Hebron, 'city of the Patriarchs of kindness' and bastion of 'unity', in specific. Thus, by connecting to Hebron especially at this time, we connect to both spiritual advantages ordained by our sages, both connecting to the collective whole in their prayer and doing so specifically between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, which upon both it is said: 'seek HaShem when He is present, call out unto Him when He is near.'
Real Stories from the Holy Land #34: "I had set a specific price with movers who were supposed to move my belongings to a different neighborhood of Kiryat Arba. When we arrived at the destination, the movers wanted to hike up the price another 800 NIS, claiming that we had told him that the truck could arrive next to the doorstep, which was not the case. After arguing a bit, instead of settling for a different price or some other agreement, the mover offered that in 'compensation' he would take my belongings to the first floor only (there are two floors to the house). Originally, we agreed to two floors, but it 'turns out' that the tiler, who was supposed to finish, had not finished the second floor, and we couldn't put things there any way. (The mover of course did not know this)."
(Ketubot 111a and Sifri)
Rambam Shgagot ch. 12 onward
Hebron means unity
Isaiah 55, Rosh HaShana 18a
Teaching Hebron’s Real Jewish History to Young Israelis
The Im Tirtzu movement works to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in Israel.
The Im Tirtzu college student organization has been organizing regular tours of Hebron and hoped to bring thousands. They aim to at strengthen the historical national connection to the city in a program “to connect more students to the history of Hebron and to strengthen each student’s deep connection to the place.”
Tour organizers expect a turnout of 5,000 students throughout the academic year.
The first tour took place on Thursday, leaving from Bar-Ilan University on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. According to Im Tirtzu, the tours provides a balancing point of view in a milieu where radical, anti-Israel groups use tours of the city to slander and delegitimize Israel. They visited the Tomb of Machpela, King David Street (also known as Shuhada Street), the ancient Jewish cemetery, the Tel Hevron archaeological park, the historic Beit Romano building, and the Hebron Heritage Museum.
The program organizers have discussed potential run-ins with radical anti-Zionist groups during the tour, concluding that “if students on the tour encounter foreign journalists, European MPs, or anti-Israel propaganda tours led by radical NGOs, they will be permitted to provide them with educational materials that expose the hypocrisy and double standards of the delegitimization campaign against Israel.”
“Of course,” the organizers stress, “there must be an emphasis on appropriate conduct and politeness.”
The program is expected to run at all the Israeli universities and colleges with Im Tirtzu groups, including Hebrew University, the Technion, and Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion, Bar-Ilan, Haifa, and Ariel universities.
Spokesman for the Hebron Jewish Community Yishai Fleisher noted that “Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs are at the foundation of the People of Israel and represent our historical right to the land. It is astonishing that the anti-Zionist narrative brazenly chooses to rip out these deep historical roots – entrenched in Jewish consciousness and borne out by archaeological proof – in their slanderous tours of the city. Apparently, they believe that the Jews and the world have forgotten history, and so they promote a false narrative depicting Jews as foreigners and as occupiers of their own country.”
Fleisher expressed his hope that the Im Tirtzu tours will help “thousands of students to learn the historical truth of Hebron that will strengthen their connection to the city. They will also learn about the heroic spirit of Hebron that is much-needed today. In the end, the program will empower the students, the State of Israel’s presence in Hebron, and the entire Zionist narrative.”
Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg has written the leaders of the Jewish Community of Hebron that “Im Tirtzu recognized that radical organizations are trying to harm one of the most important historical locations of the People of Israel. Bringing hundreds and thousands of students to Hebron this year and in upcoming years is the best answer to all those who are trying to rewrite the history of Israel.”
These tours,” Peleg continued, “will ensure that the historical connection to Hebron will be passed on to the next generation of Israelis who will see with their own eyes what’s happening in the city and will learn about the lies perpetrated by radical organizations.”
Peleg expressed his commitment that Im Tirtzu would help keep Hebron at the heart of the Israeli consensus “despite the efforts of foreign-agent organizations.” Noting that Jewish history in Israel began in Hebron, with the purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs some 3,500 years ago, Peleg promised that Im Tirtzu would help “the future of Israel continue to prosper in Hebron.”
Credit: JNi.Media. A version of this article appeared in the Jewish Press.
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New Archeology Discovered in Tel Hebron
Just in time for Parshat Chayei Sarah, archaeologists uncover ancient mikvah, Jewish house in Hebron.
(Photo: Veteran Jewish community leader Uri Karzen joins archaeologists on the latest excavation of Tel Hebron.)
The Tel Hebron (Tel Hevron) / Admot Yishai neighborhood continues to reveal a treasure trove of archaeological artifacts dating back thousands of years. The most recent excavations were once again conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority and have uncovered a mikvah (Jewish ritual bath), and homes belonging to Jewish residents during the Second Temple Era.
The team also worked to clean up the heaps of garbage that has been dumped by local non-Jewish residents on the hillside.
(Photo: The slope in the empty field became a convenient place for citizens of H1 Hebron to dump garbage, which has sat for years.)
In 2014, the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ariel University led by archaeologists Prof. Emanuel Eisenberg and Prof. Shlomo Ben-David uncovered mikvot next to wine presses. Historians explain that the wine was for ritual use in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and thus the wine makers would immerse in the mikvah to become purified before beginning work. Next to the wine presses is an area where the workers would then package wine and olive oil into containers.
(Photo: The seemingly empty tract of land revealed remains of buildings from the Jewish community during the Second Temple Era.)
Both the 2014 discoveries and the new finds are located on the hillside near the ancient "Cyclopean wall" behind the Tomb of Jesse and Ruth.
Thousands of visitors are expected for the annual Shabbat Hebron on the weekend of Parshat Chayei Sarah. This year’s celebration is expected to be bigger than every thanks to an anonymous donor who is sponsoring a Chabad tent offering free meals in what may turn out to be the largest Shabbat gathering in history.
Last year’s Shabbat Hebron was marred by a terrorist shooting incident in which two people were injured by bullets. An American college student, 20-year-old Eli Borochov, was injured but nevertheless expressed interest in returning this year.
This year’s event will come on the tales of the latest vote by the United Nations UNESCO vote to condemn Israel which erases any Jewish connection to Hebron and Jerusalem.