יום חמישי י"ב בסיון תש"פ 04/06/2020
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Jewish Sites

The Gravesite of Don ben Yaakov

To the west of the Shimshon Junction, just off Highway 44, lies what is known today as the grave of Don, the seventh of the twelve tribes of our forefather Yaakov

M. Shorek 17/08/2009 12:00
Don, Yaakov’s seventh son, was born on the 9th of Elul, according to the Yalkut Shimoni. He passed away on the very same day, 125 years later. In the Sefer haYashar we find that he was buried in the city of Eshtael, which is situated in the portion of land belonging to the tribe of Don. Many years later, concerning Shimshon haGibor we find the words: “And the spirit of Hashem began to make itself felt in the camp of Don, between Tzirah and Eshtael” – the Midrash explains that the words ‘Machane Don’ (camp of Don) refers to ‘Makom Menuchas Don’ – the resting place of Don.

The site of the grave can be found today on Highway 44 before the Shimshon Junction. It was only attributed as the gravesite of Don in the 1980’s; before that the area was desolate and neglected, and was named by the Arabs as the grave site of ‘Sheikh Ariv’ – the name they gave to Shimshon haGibor, whom they assumed lay buried there because of its proximity to Tel Tzirah.

From a historical point of view, there is no documentation to affirm that this is indeed the gravesite of Shimshon.  Rather, mekubalim such as Rav Yosef Dayan and Rav Yosef Valtoch ztl claim that this is the gravesite of Don ben Yaakov, and support their theories with ancient mesorah that has been studied in the Yeshivas Mekubalim ‘Beis El’ for more than one-hundred years.

There are those who will point out a specific cave in the area which they claim to be the resting place of Shimshon haGibor. Although it is indicated in Tanach that he was buried between Tzirah and Eshtael, the tradition as to where exactly this site lies was not preserved through the generations, and the site that is marked today is an approximation.

Aside from this there are also other traditions with regards to the location of the grave. Israeli archaeologist Yehuda Ziv points at a settlement known today as Kfar Daniel, which also lies in the territory of Shevet Don. The village is situated on a site that was previously an Arab settlement – ‘Kfar Danien’, which in previous times was called Kfar Dan. This name was derived from the sacred grave that was situated in the Mosque ‘Makam A-Nabi Dan’ – in other words, the ‘grave of the Navi Dan’. The Arabs of Lod and its environs had the custom of visiting and paying homage to the grave in the summer, at the end of the harvest season.

From the time the site was marked as the Gravesite of Don, it grew and developed until it became a bustling tourist site. A Kollel was established on the site and its members learn there during the day. Many of the settlers of the area and people from as far as Beit Shemesh join the Minyan for Mincha and Maariv each day. During Selichos, several Sefardic Rabbanim visit the site to recite Selichos there with a Minyan. The busiest times are on ‘Leil Shishi’ (Thursday nights), and each Erev Rosh Chodesh, and of course on the Yahrzeit of Don – the ninth of Elul, in honour of which a large ‘Hilula’ is organized at the grave.

It is worth pointing out here a clause from the will of Don, which is brought down in the Sefer ‘Tzavaas haShevatim’: “And now my children, behold I am about to die, and I told you today words of truth. And it shall be if you don’t guard yourselves from the winds of falsehood and anger, and you don’t love the truth and patience, you are surely lost. Because the winds of jealousy will spread a net of illusions at the feet of man, and the eyes of man will become blinded, and the wind of falsehood will darken all understanding, and the way of each man will appear right in his eyes”.