On the mountain of Meron in Northern Israel is the well known holy site, the Kever of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai (the tomb of Rabbi Shimon the son of Yochai), famous tanna, student of Rabbi Akiva, and author of the Holy Zohar.
Less known is that on the next hill past the kever is Rabbi Shimon’s synagogue. This synagogue is 2,200 years old, and is the last of the 26 synagogues Rabbi Shimon built during his lifetime (and built to last!)
It is said that when the last arch of this synagogue falls, it will signal the arrival of Moshiach. Only one arch remains (the others in the picture were rebuilt to prevent dangerous collapse.)
The last remaining arch…
The larger middle arch fell during the Inquisition, around 1492. Jews escaping from Spain rebuilt it. Today the Parks Authority has braced it with a metal frame.
The view from the synagogue location. The synagogue was above the ancient town, to be “in the highest place”. It faces Jerusalem.
Photo’s credit to my wife and daughter, from a tour this week.