יום שישי ה' בתשרי תשפ"ג 30/09/2022
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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

A Trip Through History - Chapter 2

Geographically speaking, the hill that ascends from Ir David is an extension of Har haBayis in a southern direction, even though it is situated lower down and surrounded by valleys on all sides. Pottery shards uncovered during archaeological excavations in the area have been dated to the early Israelite period, and attest to the presence of a Jewish settlement there spanning the generations. It is evident that the area was populated from the times of the Avos (Patriarchs) – and was heavily fortified against the Canaanites who lived in the vicinity and ruled over most of it.

David Katz 07/10/2009 09:00
Years later, Dovid haMelech left Chevron, the City of the Avos, and conquered Yerushalayim, capturing it from the hands of the Yevusim (Jebusites) who had held it until then. What did Dovid haMelech find in Yerushalayim, which was then totally barren, from a spiritual perspective? Har haBayis had not yet been constructed. In the Tanach we find that Dovid haMelech together with Shmuel haNavi went to find ‘the place of Abir Yaakov’.

The two of them circled the mountainside and descended into the valleys, searching for Har haMoriah; four hundred years after Yehoshua had made his conquest of Eretz Yisrael. They continued to search until Shmuel haNavi stopped at the ascent to the hillside and indicated the place where the Beis haMikdash would be built. Dovid haMelech then requested that he might make his place of residence nearby, on the slopes of the same mountain, in the area that in later times would be referred to as ‘Ir David’ – Dovid’s Village. On this site Dovid haMelech constructed his great palace, from materials donated by Hiram the King of Tzur, as a sign of esteem after Dovid haMelech vanquished the Pelishtim (Philistines). All around, he constructed a great fortress with ramparts.

The Holy City, as is known, was chosen by Dovid haMelech as the capital of his kingdom. Already in those days when he was establishing his rule from Yerushalayim, Dovid haMelech placed the holy Aron in his palace there, on the border between the portions of Yehudah and Binyomin, not far from Har haMoriah, where just a few years later the Beis haMikdash would be built. The Kosel haMaaravi, the sole remnant from the Beis haMikdash, was built, according to tradition, by Dovid haMelech himself during the period that he controlled Yerushalayim, whereas his son Shlomo haMelech completed the work of the entire edifice on Har haMoriah.

Ir David, its homes and the royal palace, was burned down and destroyed during the Churban Bayis Rishon, as we find in Sefer Melachim. Nevuzaradan, the ‘Great Butcher’, was the one to carry this out: “And he burned the House of the L-rd and the royal palace and all the homes of Yerushalayim.” Seventy years later, when the exiles from Bavel returned to rebuild the Beis haMikdash, they re-established the city on the site of what we today refer to as the ‘Old City’ of Yerushalayim. Ir David remained abandoned. Only a little more than a hundred years ago did Jews return to live in that area. Many plots of land were purchased by Jews, including some by Baron de Rothschild, and some twenty years ago a Jewish neighbourhood was established there. Around fifty Jewish families live there today.

We are now at the plaza in front of the visitors’ centre. Three thousand years ago Dovid haMelech lived here. In this place trod the great ones of our history, Kings and Kohanim, as well as the masses of Jews who made the aliyah l’regel to the Beis haMikdash on the Three Regalim (pilgrim festivals). It appears, from what has been discovered until now, that this huge site contains within it the remnants of the royal palace of Dovid haMelech.

These discoveries are actually the first ones to have been made from the times of Dovid haMelech in Yerushalayim. The archaeological excavations here are under the supervision of Dr. Eilat Mazar. Beneath the earth she discovered the remnants of a large structure, which according to references made in Sefer Shmuel Beis, appears to be a fortress built around the palace that Dovid haMelech received from Hiram the King of Tzur. In her opinion, this is not a private residence that has been discovered, but the royal palace itself. “This is an amazing discovery,” says Mazar. “It is no simple discovery – it is more of a miracle. We have come to the conclusion that this cannot be any other fortress or official edifice. The pottery shards, along with other excavated finds from Ir David, increase the likelihood that we are talking here about remnants from the royal palace of David haMelech.”

In previous years, archaeologists had assumed that the palace of Dovid haMelech was in fact situated to the north of the site known as Ir David. Around fifteen years ago Mazar decided to search in precisely the opposite direction, following finds made in the area fifty years previously, during the period of Jordanian rule over the region. Dr. Mazar explains that an additional reason leading her to conduct the investigations in this area was a in-depth study she made of the verses in Tanach that deal with the various periods in the life of Dovid haMelech. If the conclusions that she has reached are correct – and indeed it does appear to be so – then this is an amazing find for the Jewish people.

The excavations began some six years ago and have so far cost more than a million dollars, provided by American Jews who wish to support archaeological investigation. What the archaeologists have found so far is very exciting - the basin of the Shiloach pool, around which the ground is paved with beautiful stones, through which runs an aqueduct which transported rainwater to the Shiloach pool. This was where the water for the Water Libation on Sukkos was drawn for the Beis haMikdash.

(To be continued, b’ezras Hashem.)