Aug 20, 2009

Living with our history

You learn some Jewish history, you learn some Jewish texts - Tana"ch, Mishnayos, Gemara, etc. and then you just trip over pieces of our history. Wherever you walk - you are walking where king David walked, fought and ruled, where Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov walked, where the kings of Israel lead and rebelled. Where the tannoim and amoraim (those who made it to Eretz Yisrael at least, along with those of the Yerushalmi) sat and learned.

Israel is where our history is completely around us at all times.

Here is the latest example of this. Mitch Pilcer has a set of "zimmerim" - or summer bungalows -near his home in Tzipori. We stayed there a number of years ago when we went up north. It is a beatiful place, and Tzipori is a beautiful village in a beautiful location, along with the history of Tzipori being the center of the Mishnaic era.

Well, Mitch Pilcer was digging behind his house in order to begin building some more bungalows. Sure enough, he stumbles upon a grave. After digging some more, it turns out he has found the 1800 year old grave of Rav Yehoshua Ben Levi, of the Talmudic era.

OK, there is a debate which one exactly it might be, and the antiquities authority is fighting about it and all that, but just the fact that he stumbled upon this - in his backyard - is absolutely amazing. Israel is the place where we live with our history.


  1. did this just happen? We were there two weeks ago -- he didn't mention anything (not that he's obliged to)

  2. If you read the article it points out that the inscription says "kevurato shel rav yehoshua ben levi hakapar" which seemingly rules out that it is the .

    I was amused though by the reaction of the Atara Kadisha. Sometimes fundamentalism can have its benefits. Maybe if the archeologists were to claim that every Byzantine or Muslim bone they dig up is from RiYVaL, then they won't have any more problems :-).

    All the same very cool to find a ma'arat kevura in your back yard. I suppose he's not a kohen or else he's in trouble.

  3. That was supposed to read "...seemingly rules out that it is the RiYVaL". Sorry.

  4. Rafi - as I said, there is a debate which rival it is. The point of my post was not to discuss rival and finding him and how great he is, etc. This could be a different one - either way, he is 1800 years old, and that is pretty cool.

    Also, I am surprised by the Atra Kadisha's response, assuming they responded as described in the article. I mean - even if they really believe literally he did not die, maybe this is someone else's grave they should protect.

  5. Tamar - the article doesnt say when he found it, but it looks like you can't miss it if you go now. Maybe it was after you were there...

  6. The question is, does the word "hakafar" refer to Yehoshua or Levi? (i.e., Is it R. Yehoshua the kafar, the son of Levi, or is it R. Yehoshua the son of the kafar Levi?)

    If the former, it seems to rule out it being the Riva"l. If the latter, then it could be him. This wouldn't be so strange - the son's occupation is already mentioned.

  7. We've been to his tzimmerim. It's really beautiful there. That is a really cool story though.

  8. Rafi - All the same very cool to find a ma'arat kevura in your back yard.

    In Israel, it's very cool to have a back yard! :-)


  9. very interesting find, especially in one's backyard


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