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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘israelites’

Archaeologists Find Shiloh Altar Used During Temple Era

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A dramatic discovery at the ancient site of Shiloh, located in Samaria, provides the first–ever evidence that it continued to be a religious center after it was destroyed by the Philistines and Jews returned to the city, home of the Tabernacle.

The altar is thought to have been used to offer sacrifices even after the First Temple was built in Jerusalem.

The stone from the Iron Age, coinciding with the period of the first kings of Israel, was found in a wall built later in the Byzantine period.

Archaeologists think that Byzantines took the stone altar from its original site, which might have been in the same location as the Tabernacle. There are two conflicting theories on its location, one stating it is on the northern side of ancient Shiloh and the other placing it on the southern side.

Avital Faleh, administrator of the Tel Shiloh site, told The Jewish Press Wednesday that the wall was on the southern side and that it is more reasonable that the Byzantines carried the altar from nearby rather than several hundred yards, which would be the case if the Tabernacle were located on the northern side.

The stone was measured at two feet by two feet and almost 16 inches high.

Other altars used for sacrificial worship during the First Temple era have been discovered in Be’er Sheva and near Arad in the south and in Tel Dan and near Shiloh in the north. Faleh explained that the stone altar is almost identical with others that have been discovered.

The revelation on Tuesday of the discovery at Shiloh is the first evidence of post-Tabernacle sacrificial worship at the same site where the Bible states the first Tabernacle was erected after the Jews entered Israel following the Exodus from Egypt and the 40 years of living in the Sinai.

Joshua 18:1 states, “The whole congregation of the children of Israel assembled together at Shiloh and erected there the Tent of Assembly, and the land was conquered before them.” The Tabernacle remained at Shiloh for 369 years, according to the Talmud.

The Philistines went to war against the Jews, destroyed the city, and captured the Holy Ark. The Tabernacle probably had been removed before the end of the war but was not used when sacrificial offerings were later offered at two other places, Nov and Gideon, until King Solomon built the First Temple.

However, it took years before Jewish communities, especially Shiloh that was the home of the first sacrifices Israel, adjusted to the cultural and religious change.

In July, archaeologists  said they believed they discovered the remains of the Biblical tabernacle site, after finding holes carved into the rock and which may have been used to hold beams for the Tabernacle.

The Jewish Press reported here in January, that the discovery of  an uncovered broken clay pitcher, embedded in a layer of reddish ashes, is from the time of the devastation of Shiloh, offering detailed evidence of the destruction.

Shiloh was the most significant religious center for Israel before the Philistines destroyed it. The Jewish people offered mandatory sacrifices, and it was there that lots were cast for tribal areas and the cities of the Levites.

Deuteronomy 12:4-7, states,  “You should not do any [act of sacrificial worship] to God, your God, other than at the site which God, your God will choose, to place His Name there, from amongst all your tribes. You should seek out His dwelling [place in the Tabernacle at Shiloh] and come there. You should bring there your burnt offerings, and your [obligatory peace] offerings, your tithes, [first fruits] lifted from your hand [by the priests]—your vows, your pledges, and the firstborn of your cattle and of your sheep [which are to be given to the priests]. [It is] there that you should eat [your sacrifices] before God your God. Then you and your households will rejoice in all the work of your hands. [You should bring offerings according to the means with] which God, your God, blesses you.”

The Teachings of Ruth

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

On Shavuot, which Jews celebrated yesterday (and which is still being celebrated by Jews outside of Israel today) the Jewish people traditionally read the Book of Ruth. According to various Jewish sages, this is done because (a) the holiday of Shavuot falls in the harvest season and a great part of the story of Ruth took place during the barley harvest; (b) King David was one of Ruth’s descendants and King David’s birthday and death date both fall on Shavuot; and (c) because Ruth was an excellent model for all righteous converts to Judaism, and during the Mount Sinai event the people of Israel experience a similar rebirth as they transform from a people composed of freed slaves into the Nation of Israel in a covenant with God.

The Ruth story demonstrates how all Jews should treat the strangers among us. The righteous Boaz looked out for Ruth, even though she was of foreign origin and was part of the Moabite nation that didn’t have such a pleasant history with the Israeli nation. Boaz’s behavior demonstrates how Jewish ethics teach us that we should always look out for the unfortunate, regardless which nation they are part of and what our history is with that nation.

Excellent contemporary examples of Israel living by this principle include an Israeli hospital looking after a disabled Palestinian baby who has been abandoned by his parents, Israel providing medical treatment for Iraqi children with heart problems, Israeli soldiers assisting a Palestinian child who was injured by a Palestinian rock thrower, Israel offering medical assistance to a Sudanese woman, and Israel treating Syrians who were wounded as Assad kills his own people. Israel continues to provide Palestinians, Iraqis, Sudanese people, and other members of enemy nations the chance to receive medical treatment in Israel due to our understanding of Jewish ethics and values.

Another important lesson that the story of Ruth offers is a guide for how non-Jews can become Jewish. Judaism teaches that all converts need to be rejected three times, before they are permitted to embrace the Jewish faith. Then, upon entering the Jewish nation, they become strongly committed Jews, for they wanted to become Jewish so badly that they overcame all obstacles in order to achieve this. Indeed, Naomi rejected Ruth’s requests to come with her to Israel more than once, before she relented and let her join her.

Furthermore, Boaz, by letting Ruth glean on his fields, was also ensuring that Naomi was taken care of, even though both she and her husband abandoned Israel during a time of famine while Boaz remained behind to help others, and even though Naomi’s husband died because he was not generous enough with the poor. Boaz’s treatment of Naomi teaches us that we should always take care of our family when they are in need, especially if they are widows, regardless what that relative has given in return.

Visit United with Israel.

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