Who would think that visiting a museum would have such an emotional impact? We visited the Israel Museum and I was in tears. Now, I expect to be in tears when in Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Museum) but a museum of artifacts and art? Yes!
Maria and I checked out of the Jaffa Gate Hostel on a holiday. It was Simchat Torah and everything was closed. That means no buses and no trains to take us to the Abraham Hostel, which was a 23 minute walk, according to Google. Not too bad, especially on a nice cool morning. BUT! But we were toting our luggage, which somehow, without our knowing it, got heavier! And, in case I didn’t mention it, Jerusalem (being a mountain) is full of up and down. It always seems like there are more ups than downs. LOL
But even with all that, it was a wonderful experience. It brought me back to my childhood, when there was nothing open on Sunday. The only traffic we saw was the occasional taxi or car from tourists or locals who didn’t honor the Sabbath. I’ve got to tell you it was very pleasant.
We arrived at the new hostel about quarter to 10. Google didn’t account for the extra luggage. It actually took us nearly 40 minutes, but it was okay because we took our time. The hostel serves breakfast until 10, so we hurried to the dining hall to eat. About 10:30, we spoke to the receptionist to find out the best route to walk to the Israel Museum. Google said it would take about 40 minutes. Google didn’t account for some miscommunication, so we arrived about 11:30.
Our first order of business was to agree we were going to take a cab back to the hostel. 🙂
The Isreal Museum houses a scale model of the city of Jerusalem during the second temple period. This means we could see what the city looked like during the time of Yeshua. We briefly looked at it, wanting to first see the Book of the Shrine – mainly because it was airconditioned. Not a very holy reason, right?
I came here the last time I was in Jerusalem, but this time I had an audio guide and could take my time. Another advantage is that we visited here early in the trip. Last time, we came here on the last day in Israel, and I think I was in information overload by then.
The Book of the Shrine is where they keep the Dead Sea Scrolls – or the replicas, due to wanting to preserve the scrolls. The building is designed to give you the feeling of entering the temple, or a holy place. You start in an outer court that gives general information, then enter a cave-like hallway that is dimmer lit and gives you information on the life of the Essenes. At the end, there is a wide staircase that leads up to the scrolls. The outer walls have various scrolls on the Essenes rule of life and various other writings. In the center is the scroll of Isaiah. I am very grateful for the Essenes and the perservation of the Word of God.
I searched the scroll, trying to see something I understood, trying desperately to sound out what I saw hoping for recognition and understanding. And there it was – eretz – which means land. I teared up with joy.
Below the scroll is another chamber that tells the story of the Aleppo Codex. This was a copy of the Messoretic text that contained the vowel sounds, so that future generations would know how to pronounce the words. This was a rare book. When Israel was declared a nation by the UN, unhappy people attacked the synagogue in Aleppo and burned it down. It was thought this book was destroyed. I am grateful to the Jews of Aleppo for rescuing the book.
As I sat in the chamber of the Aleppo Codex, I couldn’t help but cry at the faithfulness of God displayed through his people to preserve his written word. And I am here, millenia later, able to sound out most of the words, and understand a few of them. The thought that one day I will be able to read and comprehend more, brought on more tears.
The realization of all that went into preserving God’s word, from Mt Sinai, through the Essenes, through the Aleppo Codex, through my attending Temple Aron haKodesh…it was overwheming. I am so grateful to God for bringing me to his land, for giving me his word, for teaching me Hebrew, and for grafting me into his family by the sacrfice of Yeshua, my Messiah.
There is more I have to share, but we are heading into the Rabbi’s Tunnel, so I will continue this evening.