Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Also north 5: It might have been an etching on a marker of a grave

Maybe you will see it as you're passing by alone
Below the moss forgotten where some words adorn a stone...

All over northern Israel, but particularly in the greater Tzfat area, are "graves" of various tannaim and amoraim, and even the prophet Habakkuk. Some are just at the side of the highway, while others are further in, but are also marked with signs on the main road. If anyone knows the origin of these sites, I'd be very interested to know. I mean, it's highly unlikely that these are the actual graves of the people whose names are on them, but are they 100 years old or 500 years old or what?

More anti-littering signs, this time taking a more spiritual tack:

"Moshe Rabbeinu's cow"? I don't get it.

The donors who made it possible, from Queens NY and London:

If the light goes out, call this number:

Now you'll have to keep your browser on this page forever! (I don't think this inscription is meant to indicate who is buried there.)

The other two tzaddikim remain unnamed.

Rabbi Tarfon, a much bigger name:

"The father of all Israel"!

I once wrote, "The city of Tzfat was founded in the sixteenth century as an extension of the Jerusalem Syndrome ward at Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital." This remains as true as ever, of both Tzfat itself and the surrounding hills. Thus, the scene below, next to Rabbi Tarfon's grave on Friday morning. Several groups of apparently secular Israelis were touring the site; one group had children, and another group had all-terrain golf carts. The man below was speaking to one of the groups; it's not clear whether he was connected to them in any way or whether they had just met. He identified himself as "Dan ha-Mesapeir" (Dan the Storyteller) and said that he tells stories to children and adults. The book in his hands is a haggadah, and he read the story of the 5 rabbis in Benei Berak (including Rabbi Tarfon!) and then started giving Chasidic-style perspectives about Pesach.

Dan ha-Mesapeir began singing a song for Shabbat that he said was written right there in Tzfat, and some people sang and clapped along, while others didn't. This video captures the scene.


  1. is that niggun really from tzfat?

  2. parat moshe rabbeinu is the hebrew word (phrase) for ladybug

  3. I heard that many of the kevarim in Israel (except for ma'arat ha-machpela and kever rachel) date back to the Ari. He had mystic visions of the tzadik buried at each location. A couple of teenagers set up a "fake kever" earlier this year. They painted an old shack blue, put up a sign on the road, and convinced many passersby to visit the holy site.

  4. I was going to mention the ladybug thing, but Anon beat me to it.
    Instead, I'll just point out that the Jerusalem Syndrome (sounds like a great name for a sports team) patients are at Kfar Shaul (formerly Deir Yassin, between Givat Shaul and Har Nof).

  5. Anyone have explicit directions to Prophet Habukkuk tomb in/near Kadarim? Thank you!