Ancient Synagogue of Meron

According to tradition this door way although cracked will stand until the Mashiach comes.

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 and his son Rebbi Eliezer had to hid from the Romans for 13 years see Shabbat 33b) and that Rebbi Yehuda HaNassi learned by him. The Talmud (Menachot 85b) mentions the Biblical story of Yoav sending for a wise woman in Tekoa, and concludes that the Tekoa mentioned in this verse is not referring to the Tekoa in Yehuda, but to Tekoa located in the land of Asher. The Talmud then proceeds to tell a story of a man who was sent by his village to buy oil and ended up in Gush Chalav just north of Meron. The Tosefta Shvi’it (7:12) mentions Tekoa in the same region as Gush Chalav. The Yerushalmi (Shvi’it 26a 9:2) mentions the same statement as the aforementioned Tosefta, but inserts Meron instead of Tekoa. So it was most likely from this very door (or at least the site of the door, as the synagogue may post date Rebbi Shimon) that Rebbi Shimon and his students saw a former student return from a very successful business trip to Rome. The student had made a fortune. Rebbi Shimon noticed that some of his students were also contemplating leaving full time Torah learning to seek out their fortune as well . He thereupon called out “Valley, Valley , I command that you fill up with gold coins”, whereupon the entire valley suddenly sparkled with gold coins. He now turned to his students and told them that they could take all the gold they wanted to. “But remember” he warned them. “It will all be deducted from your share in the world to come.” Not a single student moved from his place.


About The Torah Tour Guide

Yosef Back, a.k.a. “The Torah Tour Guide” has been a tour guide for over five years. Yosef seamlessly meshes together his yeshiva experience and his professional training to provide what he calls “Torah Tours”, which brings the Torah to life by experiencing the Land of Israel and thereby gaining an understanding of our traditions. He is thoroughly versed in Jewish history and sources relevant to the land of Israel, and has led numerous tours for institutions such as: Aish HaTorah, JLE, Hamercaz, PERI, Pisgah, Ohr Samayach Center Program, Beis Yaakov, and JEWEL. A graduate of the Ner Le’Elef Jewish Leadership Institute, Yosef received his rabbinical ordination from Yeshivas Aish HaTorah and from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Jerusalem. His study of Judaism sparked his interest in Biblical archaeology that finds expression in his work as a tour guide and in his upcoming book “Abrahams Shard: A Jewish Perspective on Biblical Archeology.” Originally from Los Angeles, Yosef moved to Israel in 2001 he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
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