I turn my eyes to the mountains,” wrote the psalmist (121:1), and then requested: “From the set apart will my serve come?”Sung by the Levites on the Temple’s stairs, this line encapsulated the hole between the pagan mindset and the Jewish religion.
Mountains possess unsettled mankind from the wreck of day of historical previous. Taking a glimpse from afar at Mount Olympus, the faded Greeks believed it became as soon as god’s nest. So did the Jap as soon as they appeared at Mount Fuji, and the Chinese in the face of 5 mountains spread along their east. Within the equivalent spirit, biblical Israel’s Aramean neighbors suspected that “their god is a god of the mountains” (1 kings 20:23).
That is no longer any longer what Israel became as soon as suggested. The prophets believed God is limitless and is thus confined to no set, no matter how lofty, foggy or pristine. On the opposite hand, what the prophets notion became as soon as one thing, and the set apart the contributors went became as soon as but every other. That is the reason the Bible many instances rebuked the Israelites who “diagram up pillars and sacred posts… on every lofty hill” (II Kings 17:10).
Our forebears, admire the encompassing civilizations, included impressionable americans that had been lured by idolatry’s manipulation of the senses thru dimension, coloration, fire and loss of life.
Now the idolatry that plagued our forebears is support at play in the Promised Land, as next week’s pilgrimage to Mount Meron will attest.
HOW MANY will come at the Galilee’s highest high for this year’s Walk Ba’omer feast remains to be seen. Final year’s attendance plunged to 130,000, as in opposition to extra than half of 1,000,000 who flocked to the absolute most real looking annual occasion in Israel till the 2021 stampede by which forty five americans, mostly ultra-Orthodox pilgrims, had been killed.
The Mount Meron Wretchedness, as it came to be identified, convinced hundreds to tackle faraway from the pilgrimage and made the Bennett authorities control the crowds’ ascendance to the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, the faded mystic whose commemoration is at the coronary heart of the jamboree on the mountain.
So huge became as soon as the convergence on the mountain that it deployed 1,000 buses which introduced pilgrims no longer only from the nation’s North, South and Heart however moreover ones who flew especially from in a foreign country, a lot the capacity Muslims voyage from afar to contact the Kaaba, and Catholics lope to ogle the pope.
Correct what is going to happen by the mountain next week is laborious to foretell. The minister overseeing the occasion, Meir Porush of United Torah Judaism, sounded so complacent this week that he realized time to assault High Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on but every other matter (Likud’s foot-dragging on passing the draft bill).
One can only hope the mountainside happening will finish as peacefully as Porush it appears to be like to be assumes this can. The insurance coverage industry is much less confident; lots so that no company became as soon as ready to insure the occasion that crams a multitude on a thickly forested mountain with heart-broken infrastructure and planning.
Yet beyond public security looms the non secular quiz: What, in actuality, is this total psychosis about, why does it attract any such multitude, and what – if the leisure – justifies the dangers it entails?
The Mount Meron feast is no longer any longer allotment of the Jewish religion
THE EMBARRASSING truth is that the Mount Meron feast is no longer any longer allotment of the Jewish religion, no longer to scream Jewish law. Invented by Galilean Kabbalists in the 16th century, this holiday is no longer any longer talked about in the Mishna and Talmud.
Rabbinical Judaism’s most iconic luminaries, from Rashi and Maimonides to the Vilna Gaon, on no fable noticed it. European Jewry no longer steadily knew of this novelty; and when it did change into identified, the substantial ultra-Orthodox leader Rabbi Moshe Sofer (1762-1839) banned its celebration.
Peaceful, the Kabbalists of Safed revered Shimon Bar-Yochai, the narrative buried in the route of the mountain reverse their town, a Roman-abilities pupil who, so they believed, wrote the Zohar, a foundational Kabbalistic work. Historians and philologists contemplate the voluminous work became as soon as written extra than 1,000 years after his time – however that kind of reality check is usually ineffective in the face of the pagan flee.
What precisely the date of Walk Ba’omer has to tackle out with Bar-Yochai’s existence is unclear – it should always also had been the day of his delivery, the day of his marriage, or the day he became as soon as ordained as a rabbi – however no matter its biographical role, the springtime holiday became a celebration upon a grave.
Now, wrapped in magnificent bonfires, cacophonous song and the scent of roasting meat, one can factor in Moses watching this feast and responding the capacity he did when the gaze of the pagan celebration at Mount Sinai’s foothills made him atomize the capsules. Such became as soon as, and remains, the collision between his religion of law, rationality and introspection, and paganism’s cherish of sensation.
Moses himself chose to be buried in an unknown set, lest his grave spark cherish. Jews certainly evaded building mausoleums admire these designed to deify many non-Jews, from Lenin and Chiang Kai-shek to Kim Il-sung and Ataturk. The one such structure ever built for a Jewish leader – King Herod – became as soon as later destroyed so totally by Jewish believers that it took generations of archaeologists to receive its shards.
Yet americans, along with Jews, wish to cherish what they’ll gaze, hear, scent and really feel. That’s why pagans made lots of fire, and that’s why fire performs any such central role on Mount Meron, the set apart competing rabbis festively kindle bonfires individually, every for his bear blind followers.
The same pagan spirit is what makes so many contributors change the Jewish lope to God and His regulations with a lope to the bricks above a slow man’s bones, the bricks on which they sprinkle oil and throw candles, looking out for this implies no longer the that suggests of existence however the spirit of loss of life.
Surveying Monday evening’s bustle, smoke and fireside at Mount Meron, Heart Israelis will recall the psalmist’s see God beyond the mountains and beauty: If rabbis acquired’t wrestle idolatry, who will?