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Thursday, 21 February, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Our last stop on a very busy Tuesday was Tevarya. Tevarya is one of the 4 holiest cities in Israel. We were blessed to have visited all four. Yerushalayim – home of Beis Hamikdash, Chevron – resting place of our patriarchs and matriarchs, Tzefat – city of kabbalah and now Tevarya – place where the Talmud Yerushalmi was written. At first one may think that the Talmud was written in Yerushalayim, since that is part of its name. However, the Romans did not allow Jews to live in Yerushalayim and Jews moved up north to the Galillee. The rabbis wanted our thoughts to always be focused on Yerushalayim, so the name reflects Yerushalayim.

Our first stop was the grave of Rambam, Maimonides. Rambam is someone that we know very well. Each day at school we begin hearing the daily Rambam from Rabbi Noach Kosofsky. It was very meaningful to daven there. Rambam is well known for many things, but one of his greatest works is called Yad Hachazaka, which is a series of 14 books. The numerical value of yad is 14. As one ascends to his grave, you pass 14 pillars with the names of the books recorded. Israel has updated his gravesite with an updated floor and benches.

Next to Rambam is the grave of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. He is a rabbi who lived before the destruction of the 2nd Temple and he is credited with saving Judaism. As Yerushalayim was under siege, he snuck out of the city to meet the General Vespasian, who granted him 3 requests. One was to save the wise men and the city of Yavneh. Rabbi Yochanan understood that the destruction was inevitable, but he knew Torah study must go on. The fact that we are here today is due to his vision. The Shaloh, Yeshiah Halevi Horowitz is buried here as well. The Shaloh lived in Europe and went to Israel in 1621. Rabbi Chaim Kosofsky studies much of his work with his father. It was very special for him to be there.

Our final site was to R’ Akiva, who we have heard about since we were children. We learned that R’ Akiva was a simple shepherd, who began studying Torah at the age of 40 and became a very famous Rabbi and teacher of 24,000 students. R’ Akiva is best known for his mantra of Ahavat Yisroel, to love everyone. Before we entered the grave to daven, Morah Kosofsky spoke to our group about how we have been living R’ Akiva’s lessons while on this trip. It has been beautiful to see the positive interactions and friendships that have formed. Our tefilot were definitely very meaningful here.

It was back to the hotel for a delicious meal, journal writing, mariv (with Kobi as chazzan) and packing.


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