Monday, May 18, 2009

The mighty Jordan, and the tiny North

This little "rapids" is about as mighty as you will ever see the river Jordan -- a waterway that, like the country it flows through, can be so giant in our imaginations and in our hearts, even if it is but tiny in the "real" world. The "kayak" with the screaming children upon it is rental from Kfar Blum, the kibbutz in the northernmost part of Israel where Minna spent a year as a teenager. We managed, as our days dwindled here in Israel, to sneak to the north for a bit, and Minna got to finally show me around Kfar Blum.

Here she is, in front of a statue of the kibbutz's namesake, Leon Blum, who was once the prime minister of France:

The room she shared was on the second floor of this building:

We met this little guy nearby. He was pretty cute, although not too friendly:

On the way up there, we had a chance to stop briefly at Beit Shean, an amazing ruin of an ancient city that, being at the junction of the Jezreel and Jordan river valleys, was on the trade routes between the empires of Mesopotamia (Babylonia, etc) and of Egypt and the rest of the west.

Much of the significance of Israel in the ancient world was due to its being located between these two great groups of empires. It is no accident that the Torah begins its story of the Jewish people with Avraham leaving his father's house in Mesopotamia, and later tells of his journey to Egypt before settling finally in the Holy Land and burying his beloved wife Sara in Hebron -- the basic experience of the ancient Israelite people was the experience of being a little people situated on, and sometimes wandering upon, these roadways between these "giants". Other of our "Avot" -- like Joseph and Jacob -- would make journeys similar to Avraham's in the course of their lives.

In Beit Shean, Minna found this pomegranate tree, and was fascinated by its "baby" pomegranates, still more flower than fruit.

It was glad to see the north one more time!

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