I haven't had much time to write since the high holy day season was fast upon us when we returned. Rosh HaShanah was very busy with lots of friends and guests dropping in to visit. And the food!!!!! They don't call them feast days for nothing and they take them seriously over here. I'm glad Rosh HaShanah is followed by a fast day (Yom Kippur), G-d knew what he was doing!
I don't have any photo's for Rosh HaShanah but the teachings by Ariel were extremely good so I'm posting the link to the Israel Discovery Center website where you can download and listen to them. You need to register when you first log onto the site and it needs to be approved so give it a day. Here is the link;
Yom Kippur was a very solemn day. It is a day of complete fasting, not even water. And there is absolutely nothing open. I was amazed at how an entire country could observe an event like that so universally, even a significant percentage of the Secular Jews observe that particular holy day. We can see one of the major highways from the balcony of the guest house and for that whole 24 hour period I only saw two vehicles and one of those was a police car. It was very impressive.
But the next week there was Sukkot!!! An eight day feast, heavens to mergatroyd! We put up the Sukkah and did kiddush and the teachings there, it was great. And we ate! It never ceases to amaze me how relatively few obese folks there are here, it's certainly not because they don't eat! Anyway, Sukkot was a lot of fun. We had a group of folks from New Zealand here for about half of it and there was many good evenings sitting around discussing Torah and getting to know each other. We also had a group of new Russian immigrants come to visit and study with us in the Sukkah. I did get some photos of that event;
Moving on from the Feast days, our next adventure was a road trip with our friend 'A' to a place called Bet Hoglah. Bet means 'house' in Hebrew and Hoglah was the name of one of the daughters of Zelophehad, mentioned in Numbers (B'midbar) 26:33 so, House of Hoglah (the Hebrew word hoglah means 'partridge' by the way) is the name of the place.
So, while what I've written so far may seem to encompass very little, it actually describes a time period of almost a month, most of which remains a blur to me. So many people coming and going, so many good times, and the FOOD!!!!!, it all runs together. But I can say that it all went much smoother than Pesach did earlier in the year. Which I can only attribute to the fact that we are still trainable. I highly recommend visiting Israel during the High Holy Days, it very enlightening to say the least.
Bet Hoglah is located about a kilometer (.6 miles) west of the northern end of the Dead Sea, where the Jordan River ends. It is a very special place for many reasons. As with most adventures in Israel, there was many new things to learn about this Land that the Father never takes His eyes off of, I will try to relate what I learned there to you in a somewhat coherent fashion.
The area around Bet Hoglah is very dry and barren. It has the distinction of being the lowest (elevation wise) dry land on the face of the planet. Yes, the Dead Sea is the lowest place on the planet, but this is the dry land just to the north of the Dead Sea. It is the place that the nation of Israel entered the land that was then Ca'anan. You can see mount Nebo (where Moses and Israel parted ways) a short distance away to the east. It is the place where Israel accepted the circumscision upon orders from Joshua (all of this can be found in Joshua 4 and 5). No, we didn't see the stones that the twelve tribes placed there as a marker, but then again you can't actually go down to the Jordan from the Israeli side of the Jordan Valley without a military escort, it is very dangerous there. I don't know if the stones are there or not. It is the place that the eastern tribes parted from the tribes in Ca'anan and it is the place where they built the altar that almost caused the first civil war in the nation of Israel (Joshua 22) and yes, the altar is there but you still can't go there without an escort. It is Gilgal. Some think Gilgal is a little farther north of Bet Hoglah, but I am convinced it is not.
It is the place where Saul, David, Solomon and all the kings of Israel up until the split were annointed and accepted as kings by the nation of Israel.
It is the place that John the Immerser preached and baptised (Qumran is not far from there) and it is the place that Yeshua was baptized.
So, it seems like it might be a place of importance, but you wouldn't know it to look at it on the surface.
I believe that there is significance to the fact that the Father chose to bring the fledgeling nation of Israel into the land which He promised to them at the lowest point on the planet that men can walk on, it has to do with humility I think. The word Gilgal means 'wheel' in english, as in the sense of a circle. Abraham passed through this land (Genesis or B'rishite 12:8)and it was here that the cycle of the covenant that He made with Abraham was completed.
While I have never been to Mount Nebo, I can well imagine what Moshe saw when he looked into the land from it's summit. The bluffs of the ridge that ascends to Jerusalem are just to the south west of Bet Hoglah. Moshe would have first seen this deep rift that cradles the Jordan river as it flows into the Dead Sea, both of which were much bigger then. And then he would have looked up to the hills almost a mile above this place to where the city of Jerusalem would one day stand. He would have seen the rolling hills of Samaria and Judea farther west and the valleys of the Galil to the north west with Lake Kinneret and Mount Hebron farther northeast
But this was Moses, who spoke with G-d mouth to mouth, as a friend. This was Moses who knew and understood God's purpose, possibly better than any man up to that time. When he looked into the land he would have seen with the Fathers eyes. Not a dry, barren wasteland but the vibrant, beautiful jewel that G-d holds exceedingly precious. Moshe would have seen beneath the veil that the Father put over it to confound the foolish. When you stand on the edge of Bet Hoglah and you meditate on these things you can see it too, all around you. It is a very special place.
There is woman who has decided to live in Bet Hoglah because it is so special. Her name is Irna and she lives there by herself for the most part. Sometimes friends and family come to help her. She and they have built several buildings out of the materials that they could obtain and she eats what she can grow there. She is in her sixties I believe, but she is tougher that anyone I have ever met. There is an IDF outpost next to the land she has staked out but she still must deal with the local residents who don't want her there because she is Jewish. They steal her goats and drive camels through her orchards, but she is not going to budge from there because she understands the importance of this place and she wants others to understand it too. Her desire is to establish a Torah learning center in Bet Hoglah, what could be a better place.
This is Bet Hoglah;