Max Sparks, a Fall 2016 student, is a sophomore from Napa, California. He is a member of Congregation Beth Shalom, is a participant in NFTY-CWR, and has been a camper at Camp Newman.
We started our tiyul with a hike from Kibbutz Tzuba to Sataf. In Sataf we learned how the Jewish people went through a bad cycle of calling for God’s help. This is highlighted quite often in the Book Of Judges.
As my fellow classmates and I walked through Tzuba, we pointed out the wild agriculture and crops that grow on the kibbutz. In addition, we learned the seven crops native to Israel, which are: figs, dates, wheat, barley, olives, pomegranates and grapes.
Afterwards we walked into the heart of agriculture in Sataf. When the Israelites entered the Land of Israel after wandering in the desert, the tribe of Judah lived in the Judean Hills. The tribe needed to grow crops, but couldn’t do so because the didn’t have flat land. To solve this problem the Israelites created terraces, which was flat land carved out of the mountain like large steps. After we learned about the agriculture of the Israelite tribes we went inside of the mountain to find a mayan (מעין) which is an underground water spring. In ancient times, this mayan was used to water crops, and was seen as a blessing from God for the people. The entrance to the mayan was a small tunnel with a small man made creek so that water could flow from inside the mountain to their crops. The water source is located deeper into the tunnel in a small hole.
After exploring the mayan, we were told stories about how every time Jews would need God they would call unto Him, but once they were safe from danger they would abandon him and start to worship foreign gods in ancient times. עבודה זרה. This was very tempting for Jews to do in the ancient times because they were surrounded by successful civilizations like the Canaanites who worshiped gods such as Baal and Astarte.
This tiyul was truly a beautiful and amazing hike through the Judean hills.
I can’t wait to see where we go next!
–Max Sparks, Fall 2016