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September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘King David’

Yom Yerushalayim: Reunification of a People and a Past

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

By Dr. Elana Heideman and Anat Goldberg

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There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and our connection to and passion for the city has been preserved as a memory by Jewish people around the world.

Though the modern state of Israel was born in 1948, for years Jews were cut off from the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel, the Western Wall – the heart of the Jewish people, the axis of our collective national and historical identity, the center of our faith, and the focus of the history of the Jewish people for generations.

Throughout Israel and around the world, on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyyar, this year on May 7-8, we celebrate being reunited with the city of Zion, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, our only Jerusalem. 

History shows that it was the Jews who have made Jerusalem important to the world.

In 1004 BCE, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel (2 Samuel 5:6). Following the first exile, he proclaimed: “If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength. Let my tongue cling to my palate if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy.”

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Three times a day, or even just twice a year, for thousands of years, Jews turn their faces towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and pray for a return to Jerusalem and to Tzion.

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From the Album The Great Victory in Pictures, 1967

When we build our houses we are to leave a square un-plastered, we keep a symbolic menorah on our shelves, and we break a glass at weddings in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem as a sign of our continued hope and commitment.

Memory and connection were kept alive and the Jewish people lived with Jerusalem forever in our hearts.

In the spring of 1967, a war was forced upon us by the Arab countries that surrounded Israel who attacked the Jewish state, determined to destroy her. Instead of suffering defeat, Israel won the war in just six days.


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VIDEO: Witness the reunification of the Jewish People to our holiest site on earth


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On June 7, 1967 — More than 3000 years after King David sanctified it as the capital of Israel and the city of the Temple, and nearly 1,900 years after it fell and was torn from us during the destruction of the Second Temple, Jerusalem was united and once again was restored as the capital of the Jewish homeland.

The Israeli Knesset passed laws to protect holy sites and ensure freedom of worship to all. Since this important day in history, Christians, Muslims and Jews have all been granted full religious and cultural freedom in the holy city. Additionally, Arabs living within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries are granted Israeli citizenship.

In a statement at the Western Wall, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan indicated Israel’s peaceful intent and pledged to preserve religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem:

“This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.” - Moshe Dayan June 7, 1967, Iyar 28 5727

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When Israeli soldiers liberated the Temple Mount area, site of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, they found the area to be covered in filth, neglected in every way imaginable.

No Sovereignty Grab by Vatican at King David’s Tomb For Now

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

The Vatican has confirmed it has no plans to attempt a sovereignty grab at King David’s tomb, at least at this point.

In an interview posted this week on the Vatican Insider website, Jerusalem-based Bishop William Shomali confirmed that Pope Francis is going to celebrate Mass in the Cenacle – the upper room which is considered holy to Christians because they believe it is the place where Christianity’s founder, Jesus, celebrated the Last Supper.

A niche on the lower level of the same building is alleged to be the burial site of the Biblical King David, marked by a large cenotaph-sarcophagus set up by 12th century Crusaders. However, most scholars consider this attribution to be incorrect; in Kings I 2:10[13] the burial site of the ancient Biblical king is said to be “in the City of David”, identified as the eastern hill of ancient Jerusalem, rather than in what is today called Mount Tzion, the western hill of the ancient Old City of Jerusalem.

The site is one of many located in the area claimed by the Palestinian Authority for its hoped-for independent Arab state within Israel’s borders. The PA has insisted in talks that Israel hand over all of the areas of Jerusalem restored in the 1967 Six Day War — including all Jewish holy sites — so it can establish a new capital city there. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has also said repeatedly that he will never allow any Jew to set foot on “Palestinian land” once borders for a new PA state are established.

Shomali, who was born in the PA and is auxiliary-bishop of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, confirmed the Pope is expected to celebrate Mass in the room. However, he firmly denied the Holy See had any intention of attempting to take control of the site from Israel.

“There is some opposition (to celebration of Mass at the site) but it is coming mainly from ultra-Orthodox Jews who have misunderstood the event,” he told Vatican Insider. “They thought the Pope is coming to receive sovereignty over the Cenacle. This is not true! The Pope and the Vatican do not want sovereignty; they only want more use of the place in the early hours of the morning for masses and for prayer,” Shomali explained.

All of the tickets for the visit of the Pope to Bethlehem and for the Mass there are exhausted, he added, noting that 10,000 were distributed and that many asked for more. “This is different from the two previous papal masses in Bethlehem, when John Paul II and Benedict XVI came,” he said. “It means that this Pope attracts crowds.”

Israeli security is expected to be extremely tight and for the two days the Pope will be in the country, travel within Jerusalem and surrounds will be difficult.

Government Plan to Hand King David’s Tomb to the Vatican?

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Is there a deal in the works to hand the Tomb of King David over to the Vatican?

Rumors of such an agreement appear to have enough substance to have prompted Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) to write a query to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Hotovely reminded the prime minister of the importance of the tomb of the Biblical monarch, noting its sanctity to the Jewish nation. She warned Netanyahu not to make the same mistake with King David’s Tomb that previous administrations made with the Temple Mount – that is, handing sovereignty over the sacred site to a foreign power.

In the case of the Temple Mount, the Jordanian-linked Islamic Waqf Authority controls all matters over the site, even though it is located in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City and is the holiest place in the Jewish faith. Because the Waqf is in control, Jewish access to the Temple Mount is severely restricted – and Hotovely warned Netanyahu that handing the Tomb of King David to the Roman Catholic Vatican could create exactly the same situation for Jews there too.

There has not yet been any announced response to Hotovely’s letter.

Although an Israeli government source has denied any intention of transferring control over the site to the Vatican, other sources have said otherwise – including journalist Gulio Meotti, an editorial contributor to Arutz Sheva, who maintains there is truth to the rumors a deal is still in the works.

King David Drafted Torah Scholars Into His Army

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

The Prophet Yeshayahu says (Isaiah 55:8-9): “ ‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

The thoughts of man, even those of the greatest talmid chacham, cannot fathom the thoughts of the Creator, for many of the Torah laws run counter to human logic.

For example, if a nine year old breaks a neighbor’s window, it’s logical to think the parent is financially responsible. However, when one’s cat breaks the neighbor’s flowerpot it is accepted that the owner is not financially culpable. In fact, according to Torah law, the opposite is true: a parent is not financially responsible for a child’s actions but is responsible for damage caused by his material possessions.

Another example is a kohen who fathered a child by a woman he is prohibited from marrying. The child is a chalal (devoid of any kohanic sanctity), but the father who transgressed remains a valid kohen. And there are many more examples.

The Mishnah in Kiddushin 76a states:

A kohen who wishes to marry must investigate the genealogy of the woman of his choice in order to establish that she is halachically permitted to marry a kohen. However, if she is the daughter of a kohen who served in the Temple [whose genealogy was already confirmed] or the daughter of a member of the Sanhedrin or the daughter of a soldier in King David’s army, he need not investigate the woman’s genealogy.

The Gemara explains that King David drafted into his army only the most genealogically and spiritually suitable. David’s logic was that in war, Hashem weighs the relative merits of the litigants. Therefore, it is essential that our side be overwhelmingly more righteous than the enemy.

How different are our thoughts from those of the great King David.

Today’s yeshiva world might be prepared to accept the idea that those who are not learners be drafted, but certainly not the outstanding learners. In contrast, David and his advisers saw the Torah truth to be just the opposite – they knew the best fighters would be the most gifted talmidei chachamim, bringing with them Torah and mitzvot as the efficient weapons for victory.

In my 22 years of serving in an anti-aircraft unit of the Israeli Air Force and later as a paramedic in civil defense, I witnessed the influence a single religious soldier can have on a unit.

For example, the religious soldier organizes minyanim. The general atmosphere is much improved, with a discernibly more serious attitude. During my service, my tefillin were in use overtime, and Shabbat became a time for serious discussion about many areas of life and a time when the non-observant soldiers and officers got a taste of Torah – for some, it was the first time in their lives they had heard the chachmah of Torah.

There are many rabbis and lay people who define themselves as religious Zionist haredim. Many learn Torah no less than non-Zionist haredim, and all are as scrupulous in keeping mitzvot as the most meticulous non-Zionist haredi. They serve in the army, many as officers with some reaching the highest ranks. These people can be found in all areas of technology, commerce, academia, the arts, etc.

I humbly feel I am part of this group of religious Zionist haredim.

The divide between the two groups of haredim is wide and growing wider.

The non-Zionist haredi camp has brought with it the ways of the galut. After 2,000 years of our incredible suffering in exile, Hashem opened the gates to Eretz Yisrael. Life in the Holy Land as an independent nation requires that we leave behind the accumulated psychological baggage of the galut, where the non-Jew did the “dirty work.”

Proof of ‘Solomon’s Copper Mines’ Found in Israel

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Tel Aviv University archaeologists claim that recent excavations prove that copper mines in Israel thought to have been built by the ancient Egyptians in the 13th century BCE actually originated three centuries later, during the reign of the legendary King Solomon.

The description of “King Solomon’s copper mines” is based on a novel that placed them in the Israeli kingdom, but archaeologists, until now, have dated them to ancient Egypt.

“The mines are definitely from the period of King Solomon,” says Dr. Ben-Yosef. “They may help us understand the local society, which would have been invisible to us otherwise.”

Based on the radiocarbon dating of material unearthed at a new site in Timna Valley in Israel’s Arava Desert, the findings overturn the archaeological consensus of the last several decades. Scholarly work and materials found in the area suggest the mines were operated by the Edomites, a semi-nomadic tribal confederation that according to the Bible warred constantly with Israel.

Now a national park, Timna Valley was an ancient copper production district with thousands of mines and dozens of smelting sites.

Last February, Ben-Yosef and a team of researchers and students excavated a previously untouched site in the valley, known as the Slaves’ Hill. The area is a massive smelting camp containing the remains of hundreds of furnaces and layers of copper slag, the waste created during the smelting process.

In addition to the furnaces, the researchers unearthed an impressive collection of clothing, fabrics, and ropes made using advanced weaving technology; foods, like dates, grapes, and pistachios; ceramics; and various types of metallurgical installations.

The world-renowned Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit at the University of Oxford in England dated 11 of the items to the 10th century BCE, when according to the Bible King Solomon ruled the Kingdom of Israel.

The archaeological record shows the mines in Timna Valley were built and operated by a local society, likely the early Edomites, who are known to have occupied the land and formed a kingdom that rivaled Judah. The unearthed materials and the lack of architectural remains at the Slaves’ Hill support the idea that the locals were a semi-nomadic people who lived in tents.

The findings from the Slaves’ Hill confirm those of a 2009 dig Ben-Yosef helped to conduct at “Site 30,” another of the largest ancient smelting camps in Timna Valley. Then a graduate student of Prof. Thomas E. Levy at the University of California, San Diego, he helped demonstrate that the copper mines in the valley dated from the 11th to 9th centuries BCE — the era of Kings David and Solomon — and were probably Edomite in origin.

The findings were reported in the journal The American Schools of Oriental Research in 2012, but the publication did little to shake the notion that the mines were Egyptian, based primarily on the discovery of an Egyptian Temple in the center of the valley in 1969.

The Slaves’ Hill dig also demonstrates that the society in Timna Valley was surprisingly complex, and the smelting technology and the layout of the camp reflects indicate that thousands of people were needed to operate the mines in the middle of the desert.

“In Timna Valley, we unearthed a society with undoubtedly significant development, organization, and power,” says Ben-Yosef. “And yet because the people were living in tents, they would have been transparent to us as archaeologists if they had been engaged in an industry other than mining and smelting, which is very visible archaeologically.”

Archaeologists would probably never have found evidence of its existence if it were not for the mining operation even though the society likely possessed a degree of political and military power.

Ben-Yosef says this calls into question archaeology’s traditional assumption that advanced societies usually leave behind architectural ruins. He also says that the findings at the Slaves’ Hill undermine criticisms of the Bible’s historicity based on a lack of archaeological evidence.

It’s entirely possible that Kings David and Solomon exerted some control over the mines in the Timna Valley at times, he says.

Oldest Alphabetical Written Text Found near Temple Mount

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Hebrew University archaeologists have found the oldest known alphabetical inscription from Jerusalem, dating back to the period of Kings David or Solomon, 250 years before the previously oldest known written text.

The inscription was found near the Temple Mount but is not in Hebrew and was from the pre-Temple period, in the language of one of the peoples who occupied Israel at the time, according to the archaeologists.

Reading from left to right, the text contains a combination of letters approximately 2.5 cm tall, which translate to m, q, p, h, n, (possibly) l, and n. Since this combination of letters has no meaning in known west-Semitic languages, the inscription’s meaning is unknown.

The archaeologists suspect the inscription specifies the jar’s contents or the name of its owner. Because the inscription is not in Hebrew, it is likely to have been written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps Jebusites, who were part of the city population in the time of Kings David and Solomon.

Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar unearthed the artifact, in the Canaanite language and engraved on a large pithos, a neckless ceramic jar found with six others at the Ophel excavation site. He said it is the only one of its kind discovered in Jerusalem and is an important addition to the city’s history.

The previously oldest known script, in Hebrew, was from the period of King Hezekiah at the end of the 8th century BCE.

The inscription was engraved near the edge of the jar before it was fired, and only a fragment of it has been found, along with fragments of six large jars of the same type. The fragments were used to stabilize the earth fill under the second floor of the building they were discovered in.

An analysis of the jars’ clay composition indicates that they are all of a similar make, and probably originate in the central hill country near Jerusalem.

According to Prof. Ahituv, the inscription is not complete and probably wound around the jar’s shoulder, while the remaining portion is just the end of the inscription and one letter from the beginning.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

This jar fragment from the time of Kings David and Solomon is the earliest alphabetical written text ever discovered in Jerusalem.

King David Era Find ‘Buried’ by Authorities for Political Reasons

Friday, April 19th, 2013

The initial discovery was made by Benjamin Troper, the training coordinator of the Kfar Etzion field school, who suddenly, while aiding a troubled tourist down a deep cave south of Jerusalem, turned to look at the nearby wall and saw an ancient stone column.

“I had gone down that hole dozens of times,” Tropper told Makor Rishon, “but this was the first time, because I was helping the tourist, that I came down looking in that direction.”

What he saw was a bona fide ancient column with a capital, which he recognized from his years as tour guide and from the time he spent working in excavating ancient Jerusalem.

That’s the story of a remarkably rare archeological discovery, which no one has heard about. For some reason, possibly political, the Israeli authorities have been trying to silence this discovery which could usher in a breakthrough in our understanding of the periods of King David and his son, King Solomon.

The column capital Tropper ran, or rather climbed down into, is very likely part of a complete temple or palace buried underground.

Tropper, who expected nothing short of a medal for his fortunate discovery, called over the field school’s director, Yaron Rosenthal, who in turn alerted a senior employee of Israel’s Antiquities Authority. But no medals were to come any time soon.

The find is really big, according to Rosenthal. It may also be a singular opportunity to unearth a whole structure that hadn’t undergone “secondary use,” meaning that it hasn’t been altered by later dwellers of the area. Often, later period folks utilize the components of older structures as building blocks for their own structures.

But even better than that: there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names.

Rosenthal (you know which school he belongs to) believes the discovery will offer startling details about the everyday lives of those Jewish kings.

According to Rosenthal, the reaction of the Antiquities official was “astonishing.” He told him: “Yaron, please, you found it, but we know about it. Now forget the whole thing and keep your mouth shut.”

Apparently they’re very blunt over at Antiquities.

Later, Rosenthal found out that the authority had indeed been aware of the artifact for a year and a half. He is upset both for the fact that they avoided digging up the area to discover what’s down there, and for the fact that they took no steps to mark off the cave, to protect it from damage.

Over the past few months, the defense ministry was drawing the path of the section of the security fence that will separate the Palestinian Authority’s Bethlehem County from South Jerusalem. They knew about it at Antiquities, reports Makor Rishon, but kept mum and let the fence line be drawn about a hundred yards from the site, effectively leaving it in Palestinian hands.

According to Makor Rishon, Antiquities’ director-general Shuka Dorfman and former chief of the central front Gen. Avi Mizrahi were called in to look at the find, a year and a half ago and decided together to silence the discovery.

The question is, based on their track record, how respectful would the future owners of the area, the PA, of a site that could prove beyond doubt that it used to belong to a Jewish empire – the very empire the PA officially says never existed.

The Antiquities Authority’s response to the Makor Rishon inquiry has been that it is aware of the situation and is already making efforts to excavate the important find, while cooperating with all relevant entities.

That’s a huge relief.

Incidentally, inside the cave where the exposed column capital is situated, there is a water hole, where local Arab children go bathing. How long before one of them discovers the ancient relic and calls his daddy over?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/king-david-era-find-buried-by-authorities-for-political-reasons/2013/04/19/

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