So when we go out to "spy out the Land," it is really just to find out what else there is to love, outside our own back yard.
Yesterday, we had a wonderful adventure. It started with our effort to get to our destination without a car. We took a bus to Jerusalem, another bus to Tel Aviv, a train to Binyamina, another bus to Zichron Yaakov -- and then a taxi to Nachsholim on the Mediterranean Sea. Our goal: to learn how tekhelet, the blue dye for tzitzit, is made.
We had been instructed to meet Rabbi Mois Navon at Beit Mizgaga, the museum where we would learn about the underwater archeological history of the area, and about the science and history of tekhelet.
|I tended to photograph those periods that had some Jewish reference -- good or bad.|
|Storage jars of the 13th-12th centuries BCE, found near Tafat Island in the south bay of Dor.|
The Mystery of Tekhelet, which can be viewed at The Ptil Tekhelet Organization (www.tekhelet.com) site. It clears up some of the historical mystery about the tekhelet controversy, introduces the scientific concepts, and shows the hunt for the little hillazon snails. (Tiferes Yisroel crowd: Rabbi Avraham Twerski makes a short instructional cameo appearance.)
To Rabbi Navon's credit, Torah was woven throughout his lectures. He started by reminding us that everyone needed to wear tee shirts for the sake of modesty. This added to the family-friendly atmosphere. Then he explained to us what the snails looked like, what might fool us (hermit crabs; similar snails; algae-covered rocks), and that we would be throwing all of our catch back after our swim. "If the fact that it's illegal doesn't stop you from taking them, remember that it's tzar balei chayim (giving pain to animals) to take them away from their habitat. Within half an hour or an hour, they would be dead." Jews don't do that for no reason.
|We felt exactly six years old after this wonderful and fun experience.|
|Yes, I know. Too cool to move, right? They call me The Snorkel Fox, down by the beach.|
|The Great Snail Hunter|
|Sure I'm bragging. MY man found the biggest snail of the day.|
|We had the coolest table, since all of us happened to come from Gush Etzion.|
|The Dearly Beloved adding the second ingredient -- a base compound.|
|Time for Ingredient Number Three. Don't ask me: I can't remember what it was.|
|"It's about the science, Lady. It's not about the photo op."|
|"High five! YAY!"|
|"All together now: '...l'sheim mitzvat tzitit!' For the sake of fulfilling the mitzvah of tzitzit...|
|Somehow, preparing tekhelet on an ancient Roman ruin delights me.|
|And now, the transformation. Yellow wool... and nothing up my sleeve but this bottle of clear water...|
It was a great adventure, something fun for several generations to do at once. And The Dearly Beloved and I have gotten a little more fuel for our fire for tekhelet. Because it was the Romans who began the end of our use of this holy color, we feel a national pride in helping to restore it in our days.
Chu"l: Chutz la-Aretz, outside the Land of Israel
Tekhelet: blue dye for making ritual threads
Tzitzit: strings attached to garments worn by Orthodox Jewish men - the threads remind him of The Infinite
Ptil Tekhelet: thread of blue
Shpilkes: "ants in one's pants," antsiness
Mishkan: the movable Temple of the desert generation of the Jewish people
Haveil Havalim #280 is posted by Soccer Dad, the originator of this particular online journal of Jewish blogs. This is a great way to get to know a sampling of the J-Blogosphere; so if you've always wondered about Jewish blogs and where to start, start here! BTW, Soccer Dad's bride and I were old friends back in The Old Country...