Where Cyclamen Blush In Ancient Tzaanan
Even without flowers, the sweet air and peaceful atmosphere along the Govrin Riverbed make this scenic route worthwhile.
Born in Hungary 176 years ago, Rabbi Akiva Yosef Shlesinger had very strong opinions.
He was even something of a fanatic — especially concerning the dangers of the European Reformed Movement and that of the Neo-Orthodox, who combined strict adherence to Jewish law with Western cultural influences.
Indeed, Rabbi Shlesinger considered modern thought dangerous to the continued existence of the Jewish people, and decreed that the solution was an end to the diaspora and mass immigration to Israel.
Accordingly, and against the express wishes of his extended family, Rabbi Shlesinger moved to Jerusalem in 1870. Soon he began riding his donkey all over the country and speaking out strongly about the importance of Jewish settlement and farming the land.
In 1875, while touring the region identified as the Judean town of Tzaanan (Micah 1:11 and Joshua 15:37), west of Hebron, he discovered what he had never dreamed of finding in the land of Israel: “Fertile mountains and forests full of trees and between the mountains a flowering plain . . . I prayed. . . with more heartfelt feeling than even on Yom Kippur. . . and wept at what we had lost. It is impossible to describe these places, deserted by our people for thousands of years and now, at our return, full of joy.”
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