Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual
teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law.
He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their
search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,
and spiritual engagement.
Breaking News: Rules change again and you can get your fourth shot after four months not six
From Yesterday until today the rules changed and you can now sign up for fourth booster shot if you had your shot more than four months ago. I called in yesterday and could have made an appointment right away but waited until next Tuesday the 11th as I am going to Eliat and Nahariya to stay warm. Both the farthest South and North I can go and stay in Israel.
The Three Musketeers at the Kotel
Hebrew U Study Credits Pontius Pilate with Building the Sophisticated Biar Aqueduct in Jerusalem By David Israel -
Photo Credit: Azriel Yechezkel and Yoav Negev
Yes, he may have crucified you know who, but Pontius Pilate, the fifth governor of the Roman province of Judaea, knew how to build an aqueduct. A new study that was published May 30 by Geoarchaeology, conducted by Azriel Yechezkel, Yoav Negev of Israel’s Speleology Club (the folks who explore caves), and Amos Frumkin and Uzi Leibner of Hebrew University, has concluded that Pontius Pilate was behind the construction of the Biar aqueduct (The Shaft Tunnel of the Biar aqueduct of Jerusalem: Architecture, hydrology, and dating). The study was conducted as part of the doctoral dissertation of Azriel Yehezkel from the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University
The Biar aqueduct, it turns out, is the most sophisticated of the aqueducts supplying water to Jerusalem during classical periods. It had a total length of five kilometers, including Biar spring, a three-kilometer underground tunnel with dozens of shafts that were used for its construction and maintenance, a dam, an upper aqueduct, and a tunnel traversing a ridge.
Yechezkel, Negev, Frumkin, and Leibner conducted a survey of the Biar underground Shaft Tunnel, crawling and mapping all 1200 meters of its accessible parts, and came up with a new understanding of the cutting-edge hydrogeologic and engineering skills used by the Roman engineers and slaves (here’s one for the slaves!) in this project.
According to the study, the last 536 meters of the Biar Shaft Tunnel was constructed with a unique channel made of finely dressed stones (ashlar), divided into segments, designed to withstand different loads:
In a mechanically weak bedrock, a roofed channel with arched gables and barrel vault (specus) was built within a hewn winding tunnel
When dug as an open shallow trench, a channel roofed with complex gables of ashlars with drafted margins was built
To release hydraulic pressure, a channel roofed with alternations of barrel vaults and simple gables set perpendicular to the course of the tunnel was constructed
The existence of the Biar aqueduct has been known to scholars for 150 years and to date, various explanations have been offered for the identity of its builders – from the Hasmoneans in the second century BCE through Herod, to the late Roman period after the destruction of the Temple in the second century CE. The new study used Carbon-14 dating of plaster samples that suggested the Biar aqueduct was built in the mid-first century CE and was later renovated in the days of Aelia Capitolina, after the defeat of the Bar Kochva rebellion in the second century CE.
“Due to the fear of a rock collapsing, a wide and high underground tunnel was first hewn,” Yechezkel explained. “After that, a kind of ‘sleeve’ was built inside the tunnel of massive ashlars that were lowered through the shafts.”
This technology was mentioned in the writings of the Roman architect Vitruvius (80–70 BCE –15 CE) in a two thousand-year-old manuscript.
The Biar aqueduct is part of the system that was used to carry water to Jerusalem. The shortest of the aqueducts that made up the system, Biar carried water from a point south of Bethlehem to Solomon’s Pools. From there, the water was transported through another aqueduct to Jerusalem.
The carbon dating also matches the description by historian Flavius Josephus who wrote that Pilate used the Temple treasury to build an aqueduct. “The people were angry about this, and when Pilate arrived in Jerusalem they surrounded the stage on which he was sitting and shouted against him in a loud voice,” he reported. According to Josephus, Pilate had predicted the protest and ordered his soldiers to hide among the crowd and beat up the protesters (which stands to show you that some things in Jerusalem never change).
“Many Jews were killed under the rain of beatings and many others were trampled at the feet of their comrades in their escape,” Josephus continued. “The people in the crowd were horrified at the fate of those who perished and fell silent.”
After former House Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head
outside a supermarket in Tucson in 2011, it wasn’t clear if she’d
survive, let alone be able to speak. Giffords’ injuries, which led her
to resign from office, left her with partial paralysis and aphasia,
which makes it difficult for her to speak.
The milestone was the culmination of 20 years of study with Rabbi
Stephanie Aaron, as well as two close friends. Aaron delivered a speech
that Giffords wrote and Giffords performed the song “Amazing Grace” on
the French horn.
“My Torah portion is from Genesis, from the story of Joseph,”
Giffords told the Forward in an email. “If you know Vayeshev you know it
begins ‘And he lived.’ Any story that begins ‘and he lived’ is good
with me. I lived. Everything afterwards is a gift.”
Giffords and Aaron first began studying together when Giffords was a
member of the Arizona legislature in the early 2000s. While the two
discussed Giffords becoming a bat mitzvah multiple times, it wasn’t
until two years ago when Giffords recruited two friends to study with
her that they began preparing for the moment in earnest. The four women
studied the weekly Torah portion together before beginning to study
Gifford’s portion, which Giffords chanted along with Aaron.
“I am a person who is always looking for ways to grow, to keep moving
and find new paths,” Giffords wrote to the Forward. “I am proud and
honored to become a bat mitzvah as an adult. It is never too late to
explore faith, to learn the stories of the past and reflect on their