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October 20, 2016 / 18 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Ein Gedi’

Archaeologists Discover that Ancient Dead Sea Scroll Is Chapter of Leviticus

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Archaeologists have learned a pleasant surprise: One of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls that never has been understood turns out to be a 1,500-year-old copy of the beginning of the Book of Leviticus (VaYikra).

Modern technologies made it possible for the first time to read the contents of the burnt scroll that was found 45 years ago inside the Holy Ark of the ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi excavations, on the western shore of the Dead Sea.

This is the first time in any archaeological excavation that a Torah scroll was found in a synagogue, particularly inside a Holy Ark.

The extraordinary find, presented at a press conference Monday, was the conclusion of efforts during the last year that brought the Biblical verses back to life after state of the art and advanced technologies preserved and documented the Dead Sea scrolls.

The scroll of the first chapter of Leviticus, was written in Hebrew and was dated by Carbon 14 analysis to the late sixth–century CE, making it the most ancient scroll from the five books of the Hebrew Bible to be found since the Dead Sea scrolls, most of which are ascribed to the end of the Second Temple period (first century BCE-first century CE).

The Israel Antiquities Authority Israel’s Merkel Technologies Company last year cooperated to perform high-resolution 3-D scanning of some Dead Sea Scrolls fragments and phylactery (tefillin) cases by means of a Micro-CT scanner.

The fragment of the Ein Gedi scroll was scanned along with the phylacteries and phylactery cases. The Israel Antiquities Authority then sent the outcome of these scans to University of Kentucky Professor Brent Seales, who developed digital imaging software that allows to virtually unroll the scroll and visualize the text.

This enabled the first eight verses of the Book of Leviticus to suddenly became legible:

The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying:

Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

If the offering is a burnt-offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt-offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you.

The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt-offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts.

The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar. (Leviticus 1:1-8).

Dr. Sefi Porath, who discovered the scroll in the 1970 Ein Gedi excavations, said, “The deciphering of the scroll, which was a puzzle for us for 45 years, is very exciting. Ein Gedi was a Jewish village in the Byzantine period (fourth–seventh century CE) and had a synagogue with an exquisite mosaic floor and a Holy Ark.

“The settlement was completely burnt to the ground, and none of its inhabitants ever returned to reside there again, or to pick through the ruins in order to salvage valuable property. In the archaeological excavations of the burnt synagogue, we found in addition to the charred scroll fragments, a bronze seven-branched candelabrum (menorah), the community’s money box containing c. 3,500 coins, glass and ceramic oil lamps, and vessels that held perfume.

“We have no information regarding the cause of the fire, but speculation about the destruction ranges from Bedouin raiders from the region east of the Dead Sea to conflicts with the Byzantine government.”

Jewish Press Staff

Body of Missing Female Traveler Found in Ein Gedi

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

A tragic end to a search for a woman in her 60s who was reported missing on Tuesday; the traveler’s body was found Wednesday morning in Ein Gedi at the nature reserve.

Rescue workers and police found the woman’s body near a waterfall in an area closed to visitors and said they believe she may have fallen after taking a wrong turn off the marked hiking trail.

The woman’s identity has not yet been released for publication.

Hana Levi Julian

The Taste Of Water

Monday, April 16th, 2012

“May I please have the water?” my older sister asked from across the table.

I passed the heavy container of Poland Spring water across the table to her.

Honestly, though, I could never understand why she likes water so much. Water has no sugar, no taste and no color. No wonder water can (sometimes!) be obtained for free!

To me water was always something you drank during the summer when you had to because you were about to dehydrate. But both my sister and my father drink enough water  to actually develop a taste and a preference for different brands. To them, each brand of water is different from all others. To me, tap water mixed with syrup is just fine.

This summer my indifference to water was challenged as I spent 3 ½ weeks in the Holy Land. There, the only thing anyone ever drinks is water. The way I saw it, there were 3 choices: Mei Eden, Ein Gedi, and traditional tap water. And if you were camping out up north, spring water from the sink became an option as well. I suppose that water backpacks are synonymous with Israel for a reason.

I was warned not to drink Israeli tap water. They told me it would be hard on my American stomach. I defied orders, though, and drank it with Petel syrup. That was during lunchtime. But mostly, I stuck to Mei Eden water, since that was what I saw in every store I shopped. I drank it on tiyullim or whenever I was outside and really thirsty, which was quite often.

On one tiyul my tour group took, we went up north and stayed overnight at a pleasant, cozy lodging. The word went around, “Fill your water bottles up from the sink; the water comes straight from the well!” I wasn’t really sure what that was supposed to mean, but it sounded like something I didn’t want to miss. If I remember correctly, I actually took their word for it and listened.

On another Sunday, we planned a trip to Ein Gedi, a trip which required an unusual amount of water in order to sufficiently hydrate our systems. In honor of this tiyul I purchased a 2 liter bottle of Ein Gedi water –

And what do you know? I tasted a difference! Ein Gedi water was actually different from Mei Eden water!

A few weeks later, upon my return to the USA, I stuck my cup under the faucet for a cool drink of water. I spat it out and discarded the cup. The water was unpalatable!

At that moment, it occurred to me: in order to develop a taste for something you’ve got to expose yourself to it. You’re not going to know the difference between one water and the next if you don’t know water. I mean, really, who ever heard of making a fuss over colorless, tasteless liquid? Who cares which colorless, tasteless fluid you buy?

Until you’ve gotten down on your hands and knees for an intense analysis, careful observation is looked down upon as senseless and boring. The difference between one halachic opinion and the next is a matter of obsession to one who doesn’t know. As long as there are Hebrew words on the package, it’s Kosher. To read the label too?! It’s all the same!

People with whom you aren’t really acquainted are easily categorized into community and type. Oh, them? – when you don’t know them, they’re all the same!

Scrutiny is an advanced level; you’ve got to have a Ph.D if you want to dissect. It’s the general picture that comes first; “nuances” come later.

So, beginning with step 1…It’s as simple as ABC!

Acquire Basic Comprehension…because if you don’t know it, you can’t love it!

Esther Michelson

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/the-taste-of-water/2012/04/16/

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