Apr 13, 2007

my spontaneous middle of the night trip to an Arab village

What were you doing last night at 3am?

I am not someone who does things spontaneously. I do not like surprises and like to stick to my general plans. Last night I did what is definitely one of the most spontaneous things I have done in a very long time.

At about 2:30 AM I get an sms text message from my friend Elchonon. I do not know why I saw it, but the message said that he had to beat up 50 people to get on the bus. I asked back "the bus to where?" and he tells me he is at the grave of Yehoshua Bin Nun. I told him I had been there a few years ago and had he told me about the trip I wold have like to go with him. He told me there are buses all night and I can go to Geula in jerusalem and get on the last bus still.

I got dressed and I was out of the house by 2:40 am and on my way to Jerusalem. I found the bus location and fought my way on to the last bus. I slept most of the way there and when I woke up we were already in the middle of the Arab village called Timnas Harsa, a.k.a. Timnas Heres as it is called in the navi Yehoshua described as the burial place of Yehoshua Bin Nun.

This shabbos is the yahrtzeit of Yehoshua Bin Nun and every year the army opens up his grave site for access to Jews on his yahrtzeit. It is the one day a year Jews can go there to pray.

Along with Yehoshua Bin Nun, in the same village is also buried Calev Ben Yefune. The grave with the blue marker is that of Calev, while the white-walled gravesite is that of Yehoshua. They are covered with graffitti as you can see from the following pictures.

as you can see from this picture below, someone had painted a swastika on the wall of the gravesite of Yehoshua and it was whitewashed over just before our visit to the grave

I got back at about 9 am, just a few minutes late for my weekly Friday morning chavrusa. Definitely a worthwhile trip, even though I lost a night of sleep.

It was a special experience to be able to go to Yehoshua's gravesite. He was one of our early leaders. He brought our nation into Israel and administered the division of the land among the Tribes. Yehoshua was the student and assistant of Moshe Rabeinu. We study the book he wrote as the first book of the Neviim. This was an experience of connecting with our past. An experience that is rare, and the opportunity must be jumped at.

I just found out that this night at Kever Yehoshua seems to have been sponsored by the jblog society. Every shift that was at the kever last night had a jblogger, which is pretty amazing considering 90% of the attendees are Breslaver Chassidim. I just got off the phone with Jameel - he was there on the first shift from 12:00 am to 1:30 am. Elchonon was there from about 1:30 until about 3:30. I was there from about 4:15 until 6:45.


  1. NU what did your wife say ?!?! only when I got back to geula and looked at the poster did I see that you got onto the last bus and I was like phew! i'd have felt horrible if you had missed the bus!

    Did you go to nun ? listen if he has a son like yehoshua...he's gotta be a big tzadik..

    Notice how yehoshua and calev are buried near each other, they are the only 2 good spies.

    It was real emotional when they say aleinu l'shabeach (which yehoshua wrote)

    Overall it was just mamash amazing to see 5,000 people in the middle of the night trampling thru a arab village to daven.

    It was real interesting davening with the mekubalim, they did the whole tefilat harashash, they do this hakafot thing where they ciorcle one of the guys, they had these silver trumpets....

    The poster though quotes a sefer "yechusei tzadkim?" as saying that talmidei chachamim and anshei maaseh go to the kever of yehoshua after pesach.

    To me it was undoubtly one of my most tresured trips, we need to make a largw statement that we care about our mekomot hakedoshim!

    I spoke to sgan aluf there and said "for the same amount of troops and a bunch of tanks you can secure shechem and kever yosef, mark my words! open kever yosef JUST ONE NIGHT AND 100,000 people will come!!! "

    Its the sad truth though, by the way I found the buses to be a shtikel expensive at 40 shekel round trip.. I can afford that no prob but i'm sure a few hundred couldent :(

  2. elchonon - I called her in the morning to wake her up to prepare for a school event she had to participate in. She was like where are you? what? where? huh? I hate elchonon! Fine. Have fun! Bye!

    We said Aleinu and there was a nach nach guy singing in there...

    They did not have the mekubalim like when you went, but I have davened in a mekubalim minyan at other times (by the kotel tunnels) and it is definitely interesting..

    Yeah, we went to Nun as well. I remembered that because three years ago when we went we went to Nun. It is pretty unusual that Nun is buried like on the other end of the village... all on his own...

    they used to open kever yosef fairly regularly. I have been there nearly a dozen times. The problem is they stopped doing so. They claim it is too dangerous. They have not really opened it much recently. But if they do I plan on going (and if you find out about it try to give me more notice next time!!)

  3. amazing. thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Rafi:

    "elchonon - I called her in the morning to wake her up to prepare for a school event she had to participate in. She was like where are you? what? where? huh? I hate elchonon! Fine. Have fun! Bye!"

    And to think I almost came for shabbat! bet she would have made me sleep on the porch.

    Jameel seems to have some insider info on a kever yosef trip...my guess is yesod sheb'yesod mem alef l'omer..

    You will need a cattle prod to fight your way onto THAT bus!! the breslov chasidim will risk their ribs AND teeth to fight onto a kever yosef bus!
    trust me I tried geting onto one chol hamoed sukot 3 and a half years ago.. utterly hopeless and if you have glasses its hopeless to even try..

    In the end I rode with rav shmuel eliyahu in yossi peli (head of yitzhar security) bullet proof pickup truck.

    We laid down in the back y'know how they have those covers ? it wasent bullet proof so thank g-d we werent shot at..

  5. As for the JIB sponsering, think they can do a better job securing decent transportation for us next time ? unless we are supposed to be blogging about bus fighting.... how about a WiFi in kfar charas ? ;)actually ariel is / will be (i'm not sure if trhey did it yet) the first full WiFi city.. so maybe we can tap in ;)

    BTW earlier in the evening there was alot of the mitnachal crowd, they are more "normal" and like to sleep plus they live closer..

    As I was commenting on the oxymoron of people fighting to get on a bus to daven "how come no one fights to be the first in line to give tzedaka?" some do..

  6. You guys link to every blog in the universe except for Kumah. Why?

  7. nadine - send me the url for Kumah and I would be happy to link to it. If you are requesting I link to Kumah, I would assume kumah (are you Kumah?) link to me... would that be a good assumption?

  8. elchonon - you would not have slept on the porch... the goose is out there and my wife would not have done that to the goose!! :-) you would have had a nice bed... oh well. see you when you get back.

    I can't see them opening kever yosef before ysod she'b'ysod... hopefull y they will open it for that

  9. WOW a real live chabadnik INSIDE the house ? ;) Do I get awoken for netz or am I allowed to shluf till 9?

  10. B"H Thanks for this post. I live only a hop skip and a jump from there, but don't like crowds, and was at work anyway. Every bit of geographical information connected to Tana"kh is help to get out there to the masses, not to mention contuned visits. It makes the Tana"kh a bit more real to those who have no clue about it, to reaad about these experiences from those of us who actually live in Eress Yisrael.

  11. RAFI:

    lucky you. the only time i get to stay out all night is when i stay in school to cram for an exam.

    i visited kever yosef in 1992 and it is ridiculous what happened there. however, i get very upset whe the brestlovers try to sneak in.


    "In the end I rode with rav shmuel eliyahu in yossi peli (head of yitzhar security) bullet proof pickup truck."

    i spent a great shabbat in yitzhar once. those guys are crazy. at the time they did not even have a security fence (on princinple).

  12. Ari,
    Without mesiras nefesh we'd have nothing! mesiras nefesh for the small stuff is what protects the big stuff.


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