Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Twas the day before Yom Kippur

Before Yom Kippur, I headed out to Nahal Pratt (see posts 1, 2, 3, and 4.) It's just outside of Pisgat Ze'ev, but feels like it's hours from civilization.

There's a wadi, a sort of gorge cut into the rock by seasonal flash floods. The gorge is cut so deep it penetrates the Jerusalem mountain aquifer, which bursts out of the rock and feeds into the Pratt River (stream, really.)

These natural springs for mayim chayim (living water,) a halachic (Jewish legal) term for a natural spring which flows all year long. The Jordanians, when they controlled the area, made small concrete swimming ponds.

There is a minhag (tradition) in the Shulchan Aruch, the code of Jewish Law, that one should go to mikvah (purification immersion) on the day before Yom Kippur, the day of Atonement.

So I picked up Adam from his new home, smuggled him away from his new wife for a few minutes of serious dunking!
Yours truly and Adam at Nahal Pratt.

When we got to the pool, we, and about ten other men who had come down from Jerusalem for the same purpose, were being watched by a female life guard. This is a problem as mikveh immersion has to be done in the buff. Eventually we made a deal. Everybody jumped in in their underwear. Then we told the lifeguardess to turn the other way as we all stripped and dipped. Mission accomplished.

Background: a cave in the cliffside. Foreground: ruins of an ancient monestary

Religious soldiers heading down the steps to Tovel (dunk themselves)

And now, I'm off to Modiin for the festival of Sukkot. Chag sameach!

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