יום שישי ה' בתשרי תשפ"ג 30/09/2022
Search
  • 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!

    Read More...

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.

    Read More...

Place

  • 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.

    Read More...

Join Our Mailing List!

Please add a Valid Email Address
Join
Thanks!

In Jewish Sites

A Trip Through History - Chapter 1

When, on one late night, I stepped into the long tunnel that descends from the heights of the slopes of Ir David into the depths of the earth in the direction of the Gichon spring, how could I not sense that I was stepping into history? Who knows – maybe it had been Rabi Yishmael Kohen Gadol himself, one of the Ten Martyrs, who had been the last person to tread this path, the one stretching through this underground tunnel that led to the mikveh used some two thousand years ago, today known as the Shiloach springs?

David Katz 05/10/2009 08:00
This journey was made in the context of the investigations going on at the historical sites of the part of the city known as Ir David, or ‘David’s Village’ – at the underground springs and at many hundreds of other ancient locations which have been found only a short distance from the exit from the Kosel haMaaravi – down the eastern slope from Har haBayis towards the Kidron river, opposite the vista of Har haZeisim which spreads out before our eyes. This is an area rich in history, one of the most exciting areas to be discovered and revealed in recent times.

The area covered by the Old City of Yerushalayim of today was once much larger than that known to us as such today. If we compare the Old City of today, surrounded with its ancient walls, to the Bayis Sheni period, by consulting with the many verses in Tanach that relate to the city, we see that Yerushalayim was once much larger than the ancient city as demarcated today.

Where did Malchi Tzedek, the King of Shalem, who is referred to in the Torah as living in the times of Avraham Avinu, live? Where did Dovid haMelech build his fortress after he arrived in Yerushalayim from Chevron? Where did the Kohanim immerse themselves, if not in the waters of the Shiloach spring on the slopes of ancient Yerushalayim? From where did they draw the waters on the festival of Sukkos for the Water Libation ceremony? There are those who assert that the Shiloach spring was where Adam haRishon immersed himself in teshuvah after the chet of the Eitz haDaas, as is stated in Pirkei d’Rabi Eliezer.

All these sites, beginning with the fortress of Dovid haMelech, the Shiloach spring and continuing with many others, have been discovered in recent years in the area known as Ir David, so named after Dovid haMelech, since it appears now that this is in fact where he lived. Furthermore, it seems that even prior to his times, going back as far as four thousand years, this was the location of the Canaanite settlement in this area, in the days of Avraham Avinu.

An interesting tour into history, no?

Everyone is familiar with the area around the Kosel haMaaravi. As we leave from Shaar haAshpot (Dung Gate), turn left and walk a distance of just a few metres, we find ourselves descending to the area of the Givati parking lot. Opposite the entrance to the lot is the entrance to the visitors’ centre of Ir David. Welcome to one of the most exciting historical sites to be discovered in recent times from the era of ancient Yerushalayim.

After davening at the site of the remnant of our Holy Temple, what could be more fitting than a journey to some of the other ancient sites of the city? Underground tunnels, carved out of the rock by workers some two thousand years ago, are also fascinating. One cannot but be amazed by them.

Ir David does not in fact cover an especially large area, just sixty dunams, on a narrow slope between Har haBayis and Har haZeisim, with the Kidron river separating Ir David from the ancient cemetery, and the Gichon spring and the Shiloach pool below. What has been already discovered is certainly not the entire extent of what is waiting to be uncovered from under the earth, especially considering that in recent years there have been constant discoveries of additional historical sites in the surrounding area. On this hillside, thousands of years ago, trod the kings of the Kingdom of Yisrael, the Prophets – the leaders of the generation – as well as the Olei Regel, the Jews ascending to the Beis haMikdash. In ancient times, this was also a strategic location, even though the hill is in fact somewhat of a dangerous slope. Then, a wall surrounded the area, and despite the topographical disadvantages of the site, it was favoured owing to its proximity to the Gichon spring.
(To be continued, b’ezras Hashem, tomorrow.)