Russians in the Holy Land
Four decades ago, the “holy city” was divided into Arab and Jewish parts. West Jerusalem was transferred to the state of Israel formed in Palestine, and East was annexed to…

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Israel firsthand
A resident of Caesarea, Mara Joffe, tells what to do for a tourist in the city and its environs. Look at the ancient monuments Caesarea is an ancient coastal city…

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Gedi Spring Oasis
In the immediate vicinity of the Judean Desert, between the shores of the Dead Sea and the slopes of the mountains, there is a strip of land only a few…

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Unforgiven

“When Moses went down from Mount Sinai and the two tablets of revelation were in Moses’s hand when he descended from the mountain, Moses did not know that his face began to shine with beams because God spoke to him” (Exodus 34). Since the prophet Abraham was made the promise of God to the forefather of the Jewish people, saying that Abraham would have countless offspring, like “sand of the earth,” and this promise was sealed by an alliance with God, or, as the Bible says, “Testament”, none of the children of Israel was able to speak with God. And only after Moses, having led his people out of Egyptian captivity, came to the Sinai desert, was there a revelation of God to him. Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai, after which he returned to the people and informed them of the Testament of God, drawn on two tablets of stone containing the 10 commandments. Here, the Torah was granted to Moses, including 613 commandments, the fulfillment of which was mandatory for all Jews (248 commandments of commandments and 365 – prohibition). God also commanded Moses, exactly with His description, to build the Tabernacle (Mishkan) – a portable, tent-shaped temple. The tabernacle, erected by Moses in one year in exact accordance with the one described by God, became the forerunner of the great Temple, but even this temporary structure was a spectacle more than impressive. In the center of the huge courtyard, made of expensive fabrics hung on pillars, there was a large tent, divided by a curtain into two parts. The first room was located opposite the entrance and was called the Holy Place. The altar of burnt offering was located here, the golden Menorah was a seven-candlestick sanctuary and a table with ritual bread, on which lay 12 loaves arranged in 2 rows of 6 pieces each. These “offer breads” symbolized the 12 tribes of Israel, that is, 12 genera, and were renewed once a week. The second room, hidden by a curtain, was called the “Holy of Holies”, inside which the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and above the Ark there was a lid, in other words, a reconciliation board (purgatory), supported and overshadowed by the Cherubs and called the Place of Forgiveness. After the Tabernacle was ready, Moses sanctified it with all its belongings in the sacred world, and it became the House of the Lord on earth. Everything that was in the Tabernacle was filled with the deepest meaning. Its main treasure was the Ark of the Covenant, where two stone tablets of the Testament, given to Moses by God, the golden bowl with manna from heaven that nourished the Jewish people during 40 years of wandering in the desert, and also Aaron’s rod, which bloomed to prove that it was him, were kept , the brother of Moses from the Levites (tribe), God chose the high priest. The Ark of the Covenant was made of acacia, inside and outside trimmed with gold. At the bottom of each side of the Ark there were two rings, so that poles could be inserted and thus be carried during the campaigns. And on each side of the Ark, Cherubs were placed facing each other, covering the Place of Forgiveness with wings. It received this name because only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, the high priest, and no one else, sprinkled it with the blood of a sacrificial animal to atone for the transgressions of all the people of Israel. It symbolized the visible throne of the invisible God and was the most sacred in the Tabernacle. The first Sanctuary – the Tabernacle served the Jews for 480 years, in all the campaigns and wanderings the Ark of the Covenant was with the people. The reign of David at the end of the 11th century BC was a new page in the history of this shrine. 7 years after he was proclaimed king of Judea, David, leaving Hebron, the traditional center of the tribe (clan) of Judah, went on a campaign with his army to take the city of the Jebusites Irshal and make it the capital of the Kingdom of Judea. And although Irshal, otherwise called the Zion fortress, was considered an impregnable stronghold, David through a vertical underground passage dug by the inhabitants in order to have a safe path to the only source of water in these deserted places – Gihon, together with his soldiers entered the city and captured it. True, the Philistines, who did not want to strengthen the kingdom of Judah and sought to resist the accession of the head of the Jewish people in Irshalem, gathered a large, well-armed army and camped near the city. David, led by the Will of God, circumvented the position of the Philistines, attacked them from the rear and won the final victory over a knowingly stronger opponent. The king called the city Jerushalaim (Jerusalem), and since then it has become the main shrine of the Jews. King David erected a magnificent palace in it and carefully transferred it to the new capital from the city of Kiryat – Jearim Ark of the Covenant. And although David himself was not given a blessing for the construction, he was advised that the Temple should be built by his youngest son, Solomon, whose wise reign would not be stained with blood shed in wars. Therefore, David erected only an altar on Mount Moriah. From time immemorial, this mountain was considered among the Jews a sacred place.

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