Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You shall be called repairer of the breach

I walked down to the valley this afternoon to see how winter is changing the charred landscape.

In July 2010 a fire burned the forest on the hills west of my village (shown here and here).
In June 2011 the Keren Kayemet foresters started sawing down the dead trees and putting in firebreaks.
Recently they must have gotten down to the more cosmetic touches, like sawing the two small trees that you see in the photo above.
The problem is, those trees had been growing out of the ancient terrace wall.

Their removal left a big hole.
I left the photo nice and big so you can click on it and enjoy the beautiful stones in detail.
With nothing to support them, that row of stones is not long for this world, I fear.
And once there is one breach in the wall, more will follow.

I love Isaiah's prophecy in Isaiah 58:12:
You will rebuild the ancient ruins, raise foundations from ages past, and be called "Repairer of the breach [or: of broken walls], Restorer of streets to live in."

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills and the only way to raise crops was to build agricultural terraces.
Farmers picked rocks from the ground and built the terrace walls; they may have had to bring in soil for each little plot.
They devised irrigation channels from the many springs in the Jerusalem Hills.

In the bottom of the valleys they built dams, as pictured above.
When rain water rushed down the valley from the hills, these dams stopped the soil from being washed away.
In Biblical days, farmers were able to feed their families from these terraces and also most of the great throngs of pilgrims who ascended to the Temple in Jerusalem on the pilgrimage festivals.

In recent centuries, up to 1948, Arab farmers grew many fruit trees and I'm not sure what else in the hills.
I admire all who did this hard work in a not easy land.


Anonymous said...

Have to respect farmers who picked up, dug up, moved these rocks, some are quite large. To feed ones family and travelers is quite a responsibility...and farmers the world over have have adapted their environment to cultivation! Excellent photos!

Sara said...

You quote one of my favorite passages from Isaiah. I enjoyed the close up view of those ancient stones...can't help but wonder about the hands that placed them there and the lives they lived...

Kay said...

That wall does look precarious indeed. I hope it can manage to hold on for you.

sparrow said...

We need to send some Yorkshire Dry Stone Wallers to Jerusalem on a working holiday. They'd fix that wall up very quickly. Thanks for posting.

crystal said...

Terraced hillsides look so interesting - so much work has gone into them. We never see them here in the valley because everything's flat.

Anonymous said...

outstanding entry of yours !

RuneE said...

Taking care of cultural landscapes is not easy. A large amount both of knowledge and care is needed. We have the same problem here, only the other way around: When sheep and a cattle are no longer held, everything turns it to woods.

PS Thank you for the nice comment!

JM said...

Very interesting. The hill is just beautiful!

VP said...

I can'r remember what I wrote before, just for test if this works now!

Fran said...

Dina, I love this!