Nov 13, 2006
Oct 21, 2008
We set off at 1pm to make the historical climb made by ( I would say our ancestors but as they and their children died I guess they can't be)
. It took about an hour to get to the top, from where there were terrific views of the desert and the dead sea, as well as the remains of the fortress - which must have been quite some structure. Our tour guide gave a very creative and stirring (if slightly biased) account of the events by dressing up as a Roman King. We spent about an hour at the top walking around taking pictures and by the time we began our descent the sunset provided magnificent shots against the sand dunes for the snap happy.
Upon returning to the hostel there was time for a quick nap before havdalah - a ceremony to see out the sabbath as dark falls. We made havdala on the balcony overlooking the desert in the warm night air. It involves lighting a candle, saying some prayers, smelling spices, and putting out the candle with wine..(not quite sure the signifivcance of everything so pls feel free to let me know). At the end we wished each other shavua tov -a good week. the seperation of the sabbath from the rest of the week is a fundamental to judaism -perhaps becuse we had been enslaved by the Egyptians -and a beautiful concept.
We had dinner and got on the coach back.I crashed as soon as I got back to the MKSH.
Im 66 CE just under a thousand jews seized the fortress at the top of Massada from Roman control as part of a rebellion against Roman rule. they probably figured that, apart from the roads, the aquiducts, the education system, sewerage systems, law and order, and those silly red cloaks that the Romans probably never did much for them. They were surrounded by 10-15,000 soldiers and besieged for a year. Despite all supply lines apparently being cut off they ingeniously managed to maintain plenty of food and water throughout the seige. When the romans finally penetrated the fortress. the leader - Eleazar Ben Ya'ir - gave a rousing speech and the jewish people decide to commit mass suicide rather than become slaves to the Romans. They burnt everything of value except for the food supplies which stood as testament to the fact that they had not been starved to death.