Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dancing on his grave

This little group of huts and tents marks the tomb of Shimon HaTsadik in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood in Jerusalem.
Shimon (or Simeon the Just) was a Jewish High Priest somewhere around 300BCE.

On a quiet day the women's side of the prayer place looks like this.

Quoted on the velvet cover is Shimon's famous maxim from the Talmud:
"On three things the world stands [exists]--on Torah, worship, and acts of lovingkindness."

The gate was locked or I would have gone down to explore what probably is more tombs inside the cliff.
OK, so that is the scene on a normal day.
But tonight is the holiday of Lag BaOmer and hundreds of very religious Jews should be at the tomb right now, dancing and singing and praying and lighting bonfires.
Oh yes, and they will also do the upsherin, giving 3-year-old boys their first haircut.

Hundreds of thousands will be doing the same thing all night at another tomb of another Shimon, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on Mt. Meron.
But people who can't travel all the way to the north have the alternate site here in Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, I am in my house in the hills with windows and shutters closed, trying to keep out the smell of smoke from all the bonfires in my village.
Take a look at how Lag BaOmer was celebrated at the tomb of Shimon HaTsadik 90 years ago at the wonderful blog Israel's History--A Picture a Day.


Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Neat shots and interesting history.

Darryl and Ruth :)

Sara said...

That link was so interesting, Dina. Who knew so much information could be gleaned from a photograph...even the time of day by the shadows.

And I look at the header photo on that reminds me of 1974 when I walked along a dirt road once or twice past that pillar of Absolom (I may not be remembering the name correctly) with the round pointy roof, with my Palestinian friend.

Dina said...

Darryl and Ruth, shalom. Thanks!

Sara, it looks a bit different now, near the tomb of Absalom. They want to make the Kidron Valley more accessible to visitors.

Robert Geiss said...

You live in such an interesting place. Thank you for this journey. Please have a good Thursday,

cloudia charters said...

nicely quilled!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

Hels said...

heheh dancing on his grave :) I thought you meant jumping up and down right ON the grave, as people do on Franco's grave in Spain.

Ann said...

What a shame you couldn't explore the tombs.

crystal said...

Great links, especially the historical photos. I'm learning a lot from your posts :)

Petrea Burchard said...

Just when I think your posts couldn't possibly get more interesting, there you go and make them more interesting.

Pietro said...

Dina, you have always interesting information to show in your blog. Very nice pictures. Maybe you'll be able to explore the tombs inside later on.
Happy Thursday :-)

Herding Cats said...

Such a Fantastic and interesting post. Than ks for sharing.

Julie Storry said...

I can just see you inside your house with all the doors and windows shut. Hee hee

Those steps look decidedly steep - too much so for my liking.

But I do like to compare and contrast old photographs like this. I do in Sydney where I know the streets of the city so very well.