2023 Israel Study Tour: Day #3

2023 Israel Study Tour: Day #3
Ben Smietana

Mountaintops and Mysticism

Sam C.

Yesterday was Friday, March 17. To start off our day, we went to breakfast a little earlier, since our schedule would be cut short by Shabbat. As the saying goes, “Yom Shabbat, Yom Katzar (short)”.

Afterwards, we got on the bus and set out to Mount Arbel. Originally, we were going to hike down the mountain, but the trail was flooded by the rain and closed off. Instead, we went to the peak of the cliff, where we saw breathtaking views of the Kinneret, Tiberius, and the surrounded villages and farmlands.

We also learned about how, in ancient times, two rabbis went up to that very peak in the Arbel, and we discussed if Judaism is an optimistic or pessimistic religion.

Next, we went back to the bus and headed to Tzfat, the highest city (in altitude) in Israel. In Tzfat, we discussed how Tzfat was the birth of the Kabbalah. We visited the Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue, named after Rabbi Isaac Luria, a great Kabbalist in Tzfat. This synagogue was very unique and beautiful since the stage where the Rabbi would speak was in the middle, and the seats were around the outside.

Next, we went to an artist in Tzfat named Avraham, who taught us about Kabbalah and how he represents in art forms what he learns about Kabbalah. Afterwards, we ate pizza for lunch and shopped down one of the main streets in Tzfat. There were a lot of art and jewelry, as well as a juice place, which was a favorite in the grade.

Our final activity in Tzfat was a visit to a puzzle room. This game involved a man named Jonathan who needed our help to get back his apartment in Tzfat; we needed to find eleven clues to complete the puzzle and help Jonathan reclaim the apartment. With just three minutes left, we succeeded in saving Jonathan.

We then headed back to the kibbutz to prepare for Kabbalat Shabbat. We celebrated Kabbalat Shabbat with a Rabbi named Hanan and ate dinner with him as well. Today was a very exciting day, and we are excited to wake up late for Shabbat and have a day of rest!

 

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