September 28, 2017, a day before THE great day in the Jewish calendar—Yom Kipurim(the Day of Atonement)—our congregation “Return to Zion” organized an educational trip for the new Olim Chadashim (immigrants), with the main purpose of giving them the opportunity to see and touch the unique history of our people, the Jewish people.
First, we visited Gilgal, a very significant place in the history of the Jewish people. After forty years of traveling through the desert, the twelve tribes of Israel finally reached the land that had been promised to their patriarchs, including Abraham. The sign received by Abraham from the Almighty about the immutability of this promise was circumcision (Brit Mila). Under the leadership of Joshua Ben Nun, the twelve tribes came to the place called Gilgal, where they built an altar for the Lord and renewed the covenant of the Almighty through the circumcision of all sons born in the wilderness, who had not been circumcised according to the commandment on the eighth day. For all of us, and especially for the new immigrants who had just arrived in the country, visiting this place was a good reminder of the meaning of their return from different countries and nations to the Land of Israel. We all prayed for the renewal of our covenant with the Lord.
The next stop during our trip was another important place in the history of our people—ancient Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle of the Assembly stood during the first years as all twelve tribes came into the Promised Land. It became the center of Israeli public life for the first four hundred years after the exodus from Egypt. Shiloh was the first capital of Israel and the birthplace of Israel as a state which soon became a kingdom. This is the place where Hana interceded/pleaded for a son from the Most High. In her son our people received “the father of all prophets”—Samuel (Shmuel). Hana’s prayer became a model for all Jewish prayers, and the prophet Shmuel became the one who unified all of the twelve tribes into one in the ministry to the Almighty. He anointed the first kings of Israel—Shaul (Saul) and David. The participants of the excursion saw a model of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) and could imagine how the sacrifices were brought. They also saw an interesting documentary which most importantly—thinking in terms of eternity—reminded them of the importance of preparing our hearts for the Day of Atonement, the main part of which in that day was the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole people. The last stop, on the historical part of our trip, was a place that affected the very existence of the Jewish people; this place is known as the “Ladder to Heaven.” Presumably, it is where our forefather Jakob saw a vision, as a result of which he called this place “The House of God,” or in Hebrew Beit El.
Фото – Михаил Климов