Saturday, May 17, 2008

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What Did You Do This Chol HaMoed?

by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths

This Chol HaMoed Passover, I was blessed to be in Israel and together with my family. We had an opportunity to visit some of the fun sites, and some of the holy sites. Here's a few we visited, how about you? What did you do this Chol HaMoed?

The religious beach, separate hours for men and women, in Netanya is a fabulous beach. It wasn't officially open yet, that didn't stop many from coming and getting their feet wet, even in their yom tov clothes.
Netanya

Netanya

Hebron, the holy resting place of our patriarchs and matriarchs, Avraham and Sorah, Yitzchok and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah, was fully open to Jews for the holiday (normally the site is divided between Muslim and Jewish worshippers, with Jews not having access to the area of Yitzchok & Rivka.) The Hebron community planned for massive visitors and set up live entertainment as well.
Hebron - Marat HaMachpela

Marat HaMachpela - Yitzchok Hall

Chol_HaMoed_Pesach 241

Next to the Marat HaMachpela building is the kever of Avner ben Nir, which is ONLY accessible twice a year, as it's by the entrance given over to the Muslims the rest of the time. "And they buried Avner in Hebron, and the king lifted up his voice and wept at the grave of Avner, and all the people wept." - Shmuel II 3:32
Kever Avner ben Nir

Kever Avner ben Nir

The Judean desert is awesome to pass through, in an air conditioned car. We drove through and past the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found (which the British Advertising Bureau just sued to have Israeli tourism ads pulled for showing as Jewish) and stopped at the Dead Sea a bit before Masada. It was incredibly hot, and the super-high mineral content water was really unusual.
Chol_HaMoed_Pesach 262

Dead Sea

Dead Sea - Judean Desert

Chol HaMoed in Israel was really very special. Bank HaPoalim actually sponsored free access to 50 special sites, one of which we took advantage of and which I thought was just really cool (a bank sponsoring Chol HaMoed!) All in all, it was holy, it was fun, B"H, it was indeed special. And, how about yours?

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4 comments:

Nightghost said...

Chol HaMoed? Is that the 2nd passover? Just curious.

Akiva said...

The Torah says that you shall have a holy day with G-d, then a period of "festival days", then another holy day.

So, the period of Passover is 7 days...the first day is the holy day, then 5 days of "chol hamoed" - intermediate festival days - then the last day is also a holy day.

On the holy days, there are special synagogue services, of course on Passover the seder (special symbolic meal), and no work is permitted. On the festival days, we are just commanded to celebrate. So we generally take the time with our families as vacation, and go off and do holy and/or happy things.

Anonymous said...

awesome !

gratifying said...

awesomeness! incredibly spectacular!
immaculate!

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