Sunday, March 21, 2010
Miraculously Beautiful, Tel Shiloh in the Jewish Month of Nissan
Yes, it looks like a miniature lake. But there's neither a lake nor a pond at Tel Shiloh. This is no more than a giant puddle. Unless G-d blesses us with more rain, it will soon dry out.
I've been making a point of going to Tel Shiloh for Rosh Chodesh Prayers for over two years already, and month after month I'm WOWed by the beauty. Rosh Chodesh Nissan was stupendous, rich green leaves covering the earth and branches, wild wheat blowing in the wind like the most luxurious velvet, juicy almonds waiting to be picked and eaten and the colorful wildflowers sparkling like precious stones.
This Rosh Chodesh more women came to pray than in previous months, and there's room for many more. We wandered around communing with G-d, like the Biblical Chana, each with our own prayers. As women we have more freedom in praying. We don't need a minyan of ten men. We don't have to pray as a group. We each came with our own siddur (prayer book) and T'hillim (Psalms.) We were together as individuals. There was no Eli the Priest to tell us that we didn't pray correctly or accuse us of drunkenness.
For thousands of years, Shiloh has been a central place for Jewish Prayer.
Joshua made it the first Capital City of the Jewish People. For 369 years the Mishkan (Tabernacle) rested here. There are still the remains of a variety of old and ancient structures.
Shiloh is a modest place, home to many educators. That shouldn't be a big surprise considering that Ancient Shiloh also had a school, a boarding school, where Samuel the Prophet was sent by his mother Chana. Since modern Jews returned to Shiloh over thirty years ago, there has been a hesder yeshiva, which combines Torah Learning and army service. Almost twenty-nine years ago our elementary school was opened. There were only eighteen students that first day, in three classes. Today it's a full eight year elementary school with many more than eighteen classes. Students come from as far south as Kochav Hashachar and as far north as Rachalim. There are also many second generation students, whose parents also studied in Shiloh.
If you're interested in joining us for Rosh Chodesh Prayers, please send me an email with "Rosh Chodesh Prayers" as the subject.