By Logan P., 11th grade, Glastonbury Connecticut
The walk started from right outside of our rooms, where we live. We walked and walked, over hilly, almost mountainous landscape, until Tzuba seemed a long way behind. We trekked through the woods, over hills, and across a main road with traffic, just to arrive at the beginning of our Tiyul.
Here we rested, eating dates and learning about the seven main agricultural products that Eretz Yisrael provides: Wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, pomegranates, and, of course, dates.
With no time to waste we were back on the trail, hiking past the most beautiful views and rolling hills as we stepped across ancient and modern trails.
We wasted no second, on the trails or on a break, learning about how the Israelites were challenged when arriving in the land of Israel, more than they thought they would be. The Israelites originally settled in the mountains. The only problem with this was that there was no flat land on which to grow food. They had to find a way to farm on the mountains in order to sustain themselves. To solve this problem, the Israelites created terraces on the mountains. They did this by making the angled sides of mountains into a series of step-like flat areas where they planted their crops. Irrigation systems channeled the water down one terrace at a time, watering all of the crops on each level. The water would be, and still is, channeled from a spring (maayan) that collects near the top of the mountain. We went to one of these springs. Without flashlights, the journey through the tunnel across slippery rocks would have been frightening to say the least, but we make it into the chasm which served as a technologically advanced water source for plants from the time period around 1200 BCE.
This was not the only challenge that the Israelites faced when they arrived at their promised land. The land was already inhabited by kingdoms with far more military technology than the Israelites, and protections that would have made any attack on the cities pointless. According to the Bible the protection of G-d, however, gave the Israelites more power than any pre-established kingdom. In the battle of Jericho, by marching around the city seven times, they were able to make the city walls collapse with G-d’s aid and miraculously took the city and many more, allowing them to have the land of Israel that they earned.
In skit form, we learned about all of the various leaders from the Bibical Book of Judges that led Israel in the years that followed. Devorah, Gideon, Yiftach, and Samson were all different in their own ways, but consistently, as time went on, the Israelites disrespected the Torah and then looked to a progressively less righteous leader to save them. The story of each “judge” as they are called, was acted out by a group of budding young actors just discovering their skills. My group acted out the story of Samson, a war hero who killed many Philistines over his lifetime until he was captured. As his last act, he pulled down the Philistine temple on himself and killed many more enemy Philistines as he died.