We began the day at 4am to prepare for our sunrise ascent to Masada. Just after we got to the top the sun broke through brilliantly. How great to have to face north to pray the Amidah instead of east.
A tour de force...tour of Masada and its history from Yishai our guide.
This symbol of resistance was once occupied by the zealots, frowned upon by the rabbis for their commitment to violence and death over life. And this week we read Parshat Korach, about another band of rebels disliked by the authorities. But we learn that the fire pans on which these rebels offered the incense rejected by God were used after the rebellion as part of the mishkan. To dissent becomes part of the altar. So too with the Great Revolt that culminated in mass death at Masada, rejected by rabbinic authorities and crushed by Rome - it becomes a symbol of resistance and freedom as the temple is destroyed and Judaism is reborn without Temple service. A new altar is created.
Now we're in Jerusalem. We started with a kiddush and shechechiyanu at Mt. Scopus. Tomorrow is Yad Vashem. Everyone is infused with the city's spirit. More later