Here’s a Greek Orthodox pilgrim dipping in the Jordan River, as part of a traditional Epiphany baptism ceremony at the site of Qasr el Yahud (Castle of the Jews), outside Jericho. Christians believe this is where Jesus was baptized. It is also supposed to be the spot where the tribes of Israel crossed over the Jordan to begin their conquest of the land, and where Elijah the Prophet ascended to heaven.
That’s a lot of stuff happening in one place.
There are ruins of Byzantine and Crusader churches, which suggest those traditions are pretty old.
I’ll tell you one thing, if Jesus did dip there—assuming such a person ever existed—he didn’t do it all dressed up like these folks. Jewish law says there must be no separation-chatzitza between one’s flesh and the cleansing water. We take off jewelry, nail polish, even a stray hair.
I’ll never understand goyim.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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