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Zeidy Zakon: Up, Up, Up to Masada

Rabbi Nachman and Miriam Zakon

Let’s get ready. Come into the machsan. What’s that? The storage room. Most Israeli apartments have one. It’s like a basement, but the size of a big closet. Okay, everybody in. We need equipment for this tiyul (trip). What kind of equipment? Hiking shoes, binoculars, water bottles, hats, backpacks and sunglasses. Boy, that’s a lot of stuff. Where are we going? Interesting place. We’re going up a sheer rock face in the Judean desert, on the snake path. It’s only a five mile hike straight up. NO

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

cable carAfter the Beis HaMikdash was burned down, a few Jewish families continued fighting the Romans. Their base of operations was Masada, a high hilltop fortress built in the Judean desert. Time and time again the Romans tried to defeat them and were unsuccessful. The Romans were angry and frustrated that the great might of the Roman Empire couldn’t crush a few Jews. Finally the Romans sent an entire legion, over 5000 highly-trained soldiers. Thousands of Jews who had been taken as slaves after the Churban were forced to build an enormous ramp up the mountain. Then the Romans brought up huge battering rams against the fortress walls. Finally, they broke through. The Roman soldiers were all set to kill the Jews. But wherever they went there was only an eerie silence.

Where were the Jewish fighters?

It’s a sad story. When the Jews realized that they couldn’t hold out any longer, they said Shema and killed themselves, so they should not be tortured by the Romans.     



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