Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

holy jerusalem

Posted by Hippo Bean at 10:00 PM
I remember the drive up to Jerusalem 22 years ago as our bus rounded up the hill, we sang Yerushalayim Shel Zahav ירושלים של זהב (jerusalem of gold) and Hevenu Shalom Aleichem הבאנו שלום עליכם (we bought peace to you). The air was cool and crisp as contrast to the humidity of the rest of israel. This time, there was traffic and loads of buildings along the highway. Except for traffic congestion and more buildings, not many changes in these 20 some years. Today is Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles, and many jews are out in the holy city, Hasidim wearing their round fur hats, and the road up to the old city was blocked, so we had to climb the hill on foot to the zion gate to enter the old city. This actually gave us an excellent opportunity to slowly appreciate the view of the Kidron Valley, with the Mnt of Olives on our left and the old city walls and Mtn Moriah on the right. memories resurfaced as I've seen all these before and I remember it all and felt quite sentimental to be the holy city again. We first visited King David's tomb (he wasnt actually burried there but most probably further south in the City of David), men and women were separated, then we paid a brief visit to the Last Supper room. 22 years ago this room was empty except for us, and we entered it through a winding staircase. A section of the room was cordoned off as it was believed it was a remain of a 2000 year old street or something. I remember we went all quiet and a woman in our group started to sob, so forcibly as if she was repenting her sins or was sorry Jesus was about to be cruxified. It was a moment I'd never forget. Today this room was packed with loud tourists. We next headed to the 4 Sephardic Synagogues in Jewish quarter. we walked through the old cardo, with few remaining columns standing. I didnt want to do the via dolorosa this time, nor see all the Christian churches again, nor enter the moslem quarter as it's too busy, loud and annoying. I've wanted to only be in the jewish quarter, much more civilized, clean and quiet and without all the hassling from the vendors. The western wall was packed with tourists and i didnt even bother to slip my prayer wish paper on the wall cracks. We exited the old city through the smelly dung gate and visited the excavations of the city of David, my first, a fantastic archaeological site, with an entire palace wall intact, walked through the entire Siloam channel, looked down into the Warren's shaft, and walked the narrow Hezekiah's tunnel, and ended up in the Siloam pool in the gihon spring. The mtn of olives, mtn moriah with the dome of the rock on the temple mount, נחל קדרון the kidron valley, situated between the mtn of olives and mtn moriah, with the Yad Avshalom (absalom tomb), Zechariah's Tomb, Garden of Gethsemane (Γεθσημανή, גת שמנים‎) where Jesus prayed and his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion, the Church of all nations overlooking the valley, all familiar to me. Oh, I've been here before and seen these ancient monuments, the landscape of the holy land, and the bible stories, again, became real and alive.

The map of our walk in the holy city:

Holy City photos:



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