Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Absalom's Pillar and Yom Kippur
You have seen this stained glass window before, I know, I know.
Every year at Yom Kippur I seem to refer you back to my earlier post that explains the synagogue Yom Kippur window, just because I have nothing new to tell about the holy day.
But hey, let's look at the real monument that is depicted in the glass!
The bottom part is hewn out of the rock.
Together with the drum and cone, it is 47 feet tall.
Also called Absalom's Tomb, it was built some 2,000 years ago.
It is Jerusalem's only relatively intact structure from before the Roman destruction of the city in 70 CE.
Both Greek and local styles are blended.
Avshalom was the son of King David.
David's men killed him after a failed mutiny.
Zev Vilnay says that "For centuries, it was the custom among passersby--Jews, Muslims, and Christians--to throw stones at the monument. Residents of Jerusalem would bring their unruly children to the site to teach them what became of a rebellious son."
Frommer's says that "At one time, religious Jews would throw stones at Absalom's tomb (Kever Avshalom) in condemnation of Absalom, who rebelled against his father, King David."
See a 17th century engraving of the stoning here.
Just to the right of Absalom's Pillar are the Tomb of the Sons of Hezir and the Tomb of Zechariah.
Enlarge the photo (with two separate clicks) to see the thousands of ancient (and some modern) Jewish graves on the Mt. of Olives.
Lots more information:
A short video
Bible sources about Absalom
About Yad Avshalom as a 4th C Christian shrine here and here
Getting back to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement starting tomorrow afternoon . . . I wish you gmar chatima tova, may you be written and sealed in God's Book of Life for a good new year.
(The post participates in Taphophile Tragics, ABC Wednesday, Our World Tuesday, and Whimsical Windows, Delirious Doors.)