May 1, 2008

Last night's trip to Kever Yehoshua

I was not able to go last night to Kever Yehoshua. I was way too tired, so at the last minute I decided to pass.

A reader went though, and he sent me a bunch of pictures for me to share with you. These are the ones I selected (unfortunately I cannot post them all due to space restrictions, so I had to choose). His review is posted after the pictures...

Yasher Koach to you for sending this!

This is the area at the entrance to Hares where the army sets up the parking lot and their command center...

The organizers put out cholent and kugel for the people who came out in the cold to daven.. (I blacked his face to protect the innocent)

The following review of the night was written by the reader who went (and sent me the pictures)...

Last night we traveled from Efrat and RBS up to Kever Yehoshua and Kalev. The keverim are located inside an Arab town called Kefel Hares, located in the Shomron just outside Ariel. Tzahal allows access once a year, on the night of Yehoshua's yarzheit from 11 PM until dawn.

The Shomron Moatzah had cleared a large parking lot / staging area just outside of Ariel and it was prepped to hold over 500 cars and buses. Surprisingly (and not very Israeli), the situation when we arrived was VERY organized. Reflective vest wearing people were directing people where to park and leave their buses and cars. We tried to find a decent spot that would allow us to get out afterward without being blocked in by other cars. But we assumed we would end up being blocked in and stuck.

We walked a few hundred meters towards a large staging area of chayalim, humvees, jeeps, bulldozers and other security vehicles. I would estimate that at this time (11:45 PM) there were about 1000 people waiting around. Suddenly, a Chayal said "Yaaleh" and they swung open a large gate leading into the town and we were off.

To get to the kever you literally have to walk about 20 minutes through a dark, windy street in this arab town. There are NO street lights and it is pitch black! You see lights of a passing jeep every now and then otherwise - darkness. We literally had to shout to each other to make sure our group stayed together.

There were NO Arabs anywhere! No lights on the in the homes, no trissim open, nothing. They were obviously told to stay indoors and not to come out at all. They were chayyalim everywhere - I would estimate over 500. On every corner and turn they were stationed to direct traffic and to watch over everything. They were in a very no nonsense mood. I began to appreciate what they feel like when they have to got into one of these towns at night to apprehend a terrorist. It's dark, quiet, and very grating on your nerves.
But tonight, none of the crowd seemed worried at all. There was some singing, whistling, and generally a very lag ba'omer atmosphere.

The first stop after about a 15 minute walk was Kever Kalev Ben Yefuneh. The chayalim had set up generators and lights to make it easier to daven and gather there. It was amazing to see hundred of Jews davening there at a kever in the middle of nowhere that's about 3500 years old! We davened maariv and then continued down even darker alleyways to Kever Yehoshua.

Kever Yehoshua is located in the middle of the town next to a large open square. There is a mosque (of course) right next door, but tonight it was all ours. It was like mini-Meron. Davening, dancing and singing Aleinu (Yehoshua wrote it), shiruim going on from various rebbes. There was soda and water to drink. And of course the required fleshig cholent and yerushalmi kugel. Lots of pushing and shoving for food.. but overall a "chavaya".

Last stop is Kever Nun - father of Yehoshua. Frankly I did not even know he had made it into Eretz Yisroel, but apparently he had! Another short tefillah and then we headed further into the town to find the road back to the parking lot.

We finally got back to our car at around 2 AM and to our surprise, all the cars were neatly parked and organized - Moshiach is truly on the way!
Back at home in bed by 3 AM.

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