Sunday, March 06, 2011

Ladies, Let's Party!

It's tradition in Judaism for women to have a special holiday.  That's Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the month, and even though the solar calendar recognizes twelve months, the Jewish one which blends the solar and lunar sometimes has thirteen, like this year.  And besides that there are months with a two day Rosh Chodesh, meaning that there are quite often about fifteen days of Rosh Chodesh in the Jewish Calendar, meaning fifteen days a year for us to party.

I like to celebrate Rosh Chodesh by visiting and praying at Tel Shiloh, about a mile from my house.  It's the perfect place to be on a Women's Holiday, because it's the location of the source of Jewish Prayer.

ט וַתָּקָם חַנָּה, אַחֲרֵי אָכְלָה בְשִׁלֹה וְאַחֲרֵי שָׁתֹה; וְעֵלִי הַכֹּהֵן, יֹשֵׁב עַל-הַכִּסֵּא, עַל-מְזוּזַת, הֵיכַל יְהוָה. 9 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk--now Eli the priest sat upon his seat by the door-post of the temple of the LORD;
י וְהִיא, מָרַת נָפֶשׁ; וַתִּתְפַּלֵּל עַל-יְהוָה, וּבָכֹה תִבְכֶּה. 10 and she was in bitterness of soul--and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
יא וַתִּדֹּר נֶדֶר וַתֹּאמַר, יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת אִם-רָאֹה תִרְאֶה בָּעֳנִי אֲמָתֶךָ וּזְכַרְתַּנִי וְלֹא-תִשְׁכַּח אֶת-אֲמָתֶךָ, וְנָתַתָּה לַאֲמָתְךָ, זֶרַע אֲנָשִׁים--וּנְתַתִּיו לַיהוָה כָּל-יְמֵי חַיָּיו, וּמוֹרָה לֹא-יַעֲלֶה עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ. 11 And she vowed a vow, and said: 'O LORD of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Thy handmaid, but wilt give unto Thy handmaid a man-child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.'

Yes, it's the very same place where Biblical Chana prayed for a son, the son who would rescue the Jewish People from the sins of the time of Judges:
כה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, אֵין מֶלֶךְ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל: אִישׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו, יַעֲשֶׂה. {ש} 25 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes. {P}
In Shiloh, the Jewish People united after the horrendous civil war:
טו וְהָעָם נִחָם, לְבִנְיָמִן: כִּי-עָשָׂה יְהוָה פֶּרֶץ, בְּשִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. 15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.
טז וַיֹּאמְרוּ זִקְנֵי הָעֵדָה, מַה-נַּעֲשֶׂה לַנּוֹתָרִים לְנָשִׁים: כִּי-נִשְׁמְדָה מִבִּנְיָמִן, אִשָּׁה. 16 Then the elders of the congregation said: 'How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?'
יז וַיֹּאמְרוּ, יְרֻשַּׁת פְּלֵיטָה לְבִנְיָמִן; וְלֹא-יִמָּחֶה שֵׁבֶט, מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל. 17 And they said: 'They that are escaped must be as an inheritance for Benjamin, that a tribe be not blotted out from Israel.
יח וַאֲנַחְנוּ, לֹא נוּכַל לָתֵת-לָהֶם נָשִׁים--מִבְּנוֹתֵינוּ: כִּי-נִשְׁבְּעוּ בְנֵי-יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֵאמֹר, אָרוּר, נֹתֵן אִשָּׁה לְבִנְיָמִן. {ס} 18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters.' For the children of Israel had sworn, saying: 'Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.' {S}
יט וַיֹּאמְרוּ הִנֵּה חַג-יְהוָה בְּשִׁלוֹ מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה, אֲשֶׁר מִצְּפוֹנָה לְבֵית-אֵל מִזְרְחָה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, לִמְסִלָּה, הָעֹלָה מִבֵּית-אֵל שְׁכֶמָה--וּמִנֶּגֶב, לִלְבוֹנָה. 19 And they said: 'Behold, there is the feast of the LORD from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Beth-el, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Beth-el to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.'
כ ויצו (וַיְצַוּוּ), אֶת-בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן לֵאמֹר: לְכוּ, וַאֲרַבְתֶּם בַּכְּרָמִים. 20 And they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying: 'Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;
כא וּרְאִיתֶם, וְהִנֵּה אִם-יֵצְאוּ בְנוֹת-שִׁילוֹ לָחוּל בַּמְּחֹלוֹת, וִיצָאתֶם מִן-הַכְּרָמִים, וַחֲטַפְתֶּם לָכֶם אִישׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ מִבְּנוֹת שִׁילוֹ; וַהֲלַכְתֶּם, אֶרֶץ בִּנְיָמִן. 21 and see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.
כב וְהָיָה כִּי-יָבֹאוּ אֲבוֹתָם אוֹ אֲחֵיהֶם לרוב (לָרִיב) אֵלֵינוּ, וְאָמַרְנוּ אֲלֵיהֶם חָנּוּנוּ אוֹתָם--כִּי לֹא לָקַחְנוּ אִישׁ אִשְׁתּוֹ, בַּמִּלְחָמָה: כִּי לֹא אַתֶּם נְתַתֶּם לָהֶם, כָּעֵת תֶּאְשָׁמוּ. {ס} 22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come to strive with us, that we will say unto them: Grant them graciously unto us; because we took not for each man of them his wife in battle; neither did ye give them unto them, that ye should now be guilty.' {S}
כג וַיַּעֲשׂוּ-כֵן, בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן, וַיִּשְׂאוּ נָשִׁים לְמִסְפָּרָם, מִן-הַמְּחֹלְלוֹת אֲשֶׁר גָּזָלוּ; וַיֵּלְכוּ, וַיָּשׁוּבוּ אֶל-נַחֲלָתָם, וַיִּבְנוּ אֶת-הֶעָרִים, וַיֵּשְׁבוּ בָּהֶם. 23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they carried off; and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and built the cities, and dwelt in them.

The dancing was in this valley, the Valley of Shiloh, which I photographed as it was covered by a Brigadoon mist.

In all honesty I feel so blessed living in Shiloh.  It's almost thirty years since we moved here, and I think that living in Shiloh has changed me in so many ways for the better.

Chodesh Tov!


Anonymous said...

gorgeous view, btw.

Batya said...

G-d's work; I'm just the photographer.