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Oct 23, 2012

The Rambam Went to Hebron.... and Har HaBayit

The calendar of zmanim in Israel has a nice feature. It might be in others as well, I don't know, but I am referring specificially to the calendar called itim L'Binah which has become fairly standard in many places for people who want the halachic times relevant during the day (e.g. mid-day, midnight, sunrise, sunset, day break, etc...).

The nice feature they have in this calendar is that on the side of the week, they have each day of the week with special notes of what happened historically on that day to make it special. often the day is tagged with the yahrtzeit of a famous Jewish rabbi, but sometimes there are historical events listed as well.

I was looking at my calendar recently and noticed something strange. First, an example of a special historical event noted in the calendar:
on the 6th of [Mar] Cheshvan, the following events are listed:

  • [year 3340] The eyes of Tzidkiyahu were blinded and his children were slaughtered, the day is worthy of a fast.
  • [year 3427] The Jews of Beit She'an were slaughtered by the Greeks
  • [year 4574] the jews of Alexandria were exiled from  the city
  • [year 5461] Rav Yehuda HaChassid established a shul in his name in Jerusalem
Interesting historical tidbits.

Today when looking at the calendar I noticed that Thursday, the 9th of Cheshvan, has a special event listed beside it. On the 9th of Cheshvan, in the year 4926, the Rambam went to Hebron and merited praying there. He declared the day to be a yomtov, one of celebration, prayer, praise and happiness.

First of all, it makes one take stock for a moment - look how easily we are able to go to hebron to pray. Hop in the car and 45 minutes later, or so, and I am there and can pray. Any day of the week, any time of day. As often as I want, whenever I want. Yet then it was so rare that the Rambam felt so much joy at being able to successfully go and pray in Hebron that he turned it into a holiday. Some historical perspective of how blessed we are, without even noticing it necessarily.

Second, and this was really my point, is that they missed a holiday. And I only noticed it because they wrote about the Rambam's visit to Hebron on the 9th. Had they not written that historical event on the 9th I would have thought nothing of what they left out on the 6th. 

On the 6th of Cheshvan the Rambam made another visit - before his visit to Hebron on the 9th of Cheshvan. On the 6th of Cheshvan, the Rambam writes in one of his letters in sefer haredim, he merited going to Har HaBayit and praying, and he declared it for the future to be a holiday and one for celebration and happiness, with eating and drinking...


Now, if the author had not said anything about the Rambam and Hebron on the 9th, I would not have noticed the omission on the 6th. The calendar obviously cannot, and does not, write every single historical event that happened on any given day. But having written about the Rambam and Hebron on the 9th, the omission of the Rambam's visit to Har HaBayit on the 6th was glaring.

The omission is almost as if an attempt to rewrite history because it does not fit someone's idea of what should be...

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3 comments:

  1. I'm confused - the Rambam wrote in Sefer Chareidim?

    ReplyDelete
  2. it is quoted from 2 places that he wrote it - one was in his commentary on mishnayos rosh hashana, and the 2nd was in his letters compiled in a sefer called sefer charedim (I dont think its the same one that is famous today as a sefer machshava, nor is it the commentary on yerushalmi). I saw the letter a number of years ago. it is among a series of letters of his writings from when he tried to move to eretz yisrael. he was only able to be here for a short period of time before he had to leave.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And talking of omissions, what historical commemorations does Itim leVina have for 5 Iyyar?

    ReplyDelete

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