Sunday, April 13, 2008

Also north 7: The hunt for Rashbi

One thing we know about Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai is that he's good at hiding. We thought it would be interesting to visit his sites, but this wasn't so simple. We drove around Peki'in for a while, looking for the cave where he and his son are said to have hid for 13 years, but were unsuccessful. Which I guess makes sense, since the whole point of the cave was that it would be hard to find. If even the Roman Empire couldn't find them, why would we expect to?

We also thought that Rashbi's famous grave on Mount Meron would be a fun hiking destination -- according to the hiking map, it was just a short jog up the Shvil Yisrael from where we were staying. We neglected to consider the difficulty of getting to the Shvil Yisrael, which involved getting from the top of Har Mitzpeh Yamim (elevation 700 m) down into Nachal Amud. It looked short on the map, but that's because it was mostly vertical -- this is what contours are for. We'll know for next time.

By the time we got to the Shvil Yisrael itself, there was no way we were going to make it all the way to Rashbi's grave. On the other hand, there was also no way we could go back up the way we had gone down. Fortunately we ran into an SPNI group that was doing the same hike down the mountain, and were able to follow them out to civilization.

Anyway, it was a scenic hike. But Rashbi escaped once more.

What's the deal with these trees?

The tomb of a sheikh, at Ein Koves.

"Trail for advanced hikers. Supply yourself with drinking water." We wish we had known ahead of time about the former, though we were well stocked with the latter.

Tzfat from a distance.


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