Monthly Archives: March 2012

Mount Sartava

What do yom tov sheni, smoke signals, and Samaritans have in common? The answer is Sartava, a very pronounced mountain that rises dramatically from the floor of the Jordan valley. We learn in the Mishnah that originally before we had … Continue reading

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Southern Mikveh on Masada

One of the most exciting discoveries on Masada was that of the Mikvahs. They were the first pools to be identified as Mikvahs in Israeli archeology by Yigal Yadin, during his expedition in 1963. Since then hundreds of Mikvahs have … Continue reading

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The Ancient Egyptians Worshiped Sheep

The Abomination of Egypt; the Miracle of the Passover Sacrifice After the fourth plague, Pharaoh offered Moses a compromise – the Israelites could worship God in Egypt without going to the wilderness. Moses replied, “We are going to sacrifice the … Continue reading

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The Origins of the Jewish Etrog

Tu BiShvat has come and gone. One of the customs of the day is to pray that one will find a beautiful etrog – a citron – to be used during the upcoming holiday of Sukkot, the feast of Tabernacles. … Continue reading

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The Ancient Boundary of Gezer

The ancient city of Gezer was located in the coastal plain of Israel southwest of Jerusalem. Archeologists have unearthed at least 11 stones imbedded in the outskirts of the site, each one with the inscription “Techum Gezer” (Boundary of Gezer) … Continue reading

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The Monument known as the “tomb of Zechariah”

It was named for the Prophet Zechariah who was killed in the Temple. (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). The Talmud Yerushalmi relates that this not only happened in the Temple, but it was Yom Kippur that coincided with Shabbat. The Talmud Bavli … Continue reading

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Ancient Synagogue of Meron

Tradition has it that this is the Beit Midrash of Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The Talmud tells us in several places that Rebbi Shimon Bar Yochai set up a Beit Midrash in Tekoa after he left the cave (in which he … Continue reading

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