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Sunday, August 19, 2012

The True Story Behind The Bible

This week's Jerusalem Post has another article about Shiloh.  I'm glad to say that it's not in their premium-pay to read- section.  Sam Sokol's article about TU B'Av in Shiloh can only be freely accessed on paper, so I ended up not blogging about it.

The Jerusalem Post has a pretty good article about Tel Shiloh, as tourist site and archaeological dig.  I'm glad that the new administration of Tel Shiloh, Shiloh HaKeduma--Ancient Shiloh is bringing in the media.  Quite a number of years ago when I first began announcing Women's Rosh Chodesh (beginning of the Jewish Month) Prayers at Tel Shiloh, I was so sure that it would become a big, popular event within a few months, or year at the most. 

Just like Travis Allen, quoted in that article, it seemed so strange that such a holy and accessible spot would be easy to market to tourists and pilgrims. 
Travis Allen was spending three weeks in 2009 driving around Israel visiting historic sites when he suddenly noticed Shiloh on the map and asked his driver if they could go to the site of the archaeological dig. What Allen, a financial advisor from California who’s making his first run for public office, remembers vividly is what was not there. People.

“I went and there was no one there. There was a little station by a gate. I asked if this is Shiloh where the tabernacle used to stand and I was told, ‘up by the hill.’ I walked up by myself and I had the whole place to myself... It was fantastic. There was a viewing platform and nothing else.”


I had figured that all it would take would be a few mentions on my blogs and other places, and women would flock to Shiloh every Rosh Chodesh.  We do have a few dedicated "regulars," and women have come from all over the country and even when vacationing here from abroad, but it's still rare to get more than a handful praying together.  A number of my neighbors come to Tel Shiloh to pray whenever they can.  It's not that the local women totally ignore it.

Now why Shiloh for prayer, you may be asking?

Shiloh is mentioned many times in the Bible and later Jewish writings.  Shiloh was the first capital of the Jewish Nation, a status it retained for almost four hundred years.  It was the location of the Mishkan,  Tabernacle the "temporary" building for Jewish Prayer, first assembled during the forty year desert trek from Egypt to the Holy Land.

It was in Shiloh where Biblical Chana prayed for a son who would lead the Jewish People out of the leaderless rut it had been in.  Her son Samuel the Prophet was the one who brought the Jewish People to the next stage by anointing the first two kings, Saul and David.  The transition from a tribal nation to one ruled by a king was crucially important in Jewish History.

I found one of Allen's statements rather peculiar:
Allen, a candidate for the California Assembly, interjected that, “Shiloh belongs to the whole world, not just the Jewish nations. When Christians come here they look through the bible,”


I ask him what's in the Bible if it isn't Jewish History?  How could he say that "Shiloh belongs to the whole world, not just the Jewish nations?" 

The Biblical story is very clear. It's the Jewish story, the story of our growth from one man, Abraham to a family/clan of twelve brothers, then twelve connected tribes, then a wandering People and finally a Nation rooted in our Land.  All of that time we worshipped the same One G-d, followed the same religion and recorded and remembered the very same religion, today, thousands of years later, known as Judaism. 

THERE IS NO PEOPLE LIKE THE JEWISH PEOPLE!

Today, this morning, I'll be meeting other women at Tel Shiloh to pray the Rosh Chodesh Prayers.  Next month's Rosh Chodesh is the Holiday of Rosh Hashannah, so we'll be meeting on a different day.  More information to follow.

10 comments:

bracha said...

Thank you Batya.
The Biblical story of Chana at the Mishkan (Tebernacle) in Shilo is very close to my heart as well a to the hearts of many Jewish women.

There is a strong connection between Chana (above) and Rosh Hashana, our upcoming Jewish New Year.

I find it rather awesome that you blog about it now and am holding my breath in anticipation of your next 'instalement'!



bracha said...

Thank you Batya.
The Biblical story of Chana at the Mishkan (Tebernacle) in Shilo is very close to my heart as well a to the hearts of many Jewish women.

There is a strong connection between Chana (above) and Rosh Hashana, our upcoming Jewish New Year.

I find it rather awesome that you blog about it now and am holding my breath in anticipation of your next 'instalement'!



Batya said...

Bracha, thanks for you kind and supportive words. Jewish prayer is based on how Chana prayed. Living in Shiloh has enriched my life.

Alan said...

When Shiloh was the center of sacrifices, the YHWH-worshipping religion was not yet Established in the country. Lots and lots of competition from other Canaanite gods. The archeological evidence of this is overwhelming

King David was Hiloni to the core. He conquered Jerusalem SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE he wanted to put daylight between his own civil government and the YHWH-cult priests.

Actual total rejection of all but YHWH (and invention of a purportly unitary Torah to justify it), didn't happen until Ezra & Nekhemiah , upon the return from Babylon.

Shy Guy said...

Thank you, Alan, for your fairy tale revisionism of Jewish history.

Batya said...

Shy, no doubt that Alan won't get your sarcasm. Anyone who considers King David to be "chiloni," a non-believer is incapable of understanding anything at all.

There has never been a man of greater faith in G-d than King David, which is why his Tehillim, Psalms are so powerful. It's also the reason that the true Moshiach is the one directly descended from King David.

ellen said...

"Allen, a candidate for the California Assembly, interjected that, “Shiloh belongs to the whole world, not just the Jewish nations. When Christians come here they look through the bible...”

The above statement is loaded. Note that similar messages are coming from those advocating "non-Jewish" rights on the Temple Mount and for those asking for the "internationalization" of Jerusalem (State Department and Vatican). BTW one of the big advocates for rights to non-Jewish worship on the mount is a lawyer for Jews for Jesus

Israel needs to be very careful in the marketing our Holy Places and the way in which we approach the topic of religious freedom.

Batya said...

Ellen, that was the line that got my red lights flashing, too. All of their connection to Shiloh is based on the Jewish one. It's copycat and identity theft.

Travis Allen said...

Hello, thank you very much for the kind mention and insightful article. I completely agree with your assessment and statement that "the Biblical story is very clear".

I also found the last quote in the article "rather peculiar" as I was dramatically misquoted and emailed the reporter immediately after I read it (the rest of the article was correct).

My position on Shiloh is straightforward:

"Shiloh belongs to Israel, and is in the historic heartland of the Jewish people. Many of the biblical stories happened right here on the ground we are standing. Hopefully this site is preserved and restored for all people to come and learn the dramatic beginnings of a nation that happened here."

Thank you for helping me correct the inaccuracy in the Jerusalem Post story, and thank you also for writing the article and bringing attention to the fact that Shiloh, and all of Judea and Samaria, belong to Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.

Travis Allen

Batya said...

Thank you so much for the clarification. I really appreciate it. Maybe next time you're in Shiloh we can meet.