into the rocks of a mountain in the Shomron, that is.
We sat under some trees and the guide told us about Tzredah. Tzredah is mentioned in the Book of Kings as the hometown of Yerov’am ben Nevat and in Pirkei Avot as the hometown of the sage Yossi ben Yoezer. Tzredah means the middle finger and the rock formation above the city juts straight up into the air. She advised that children not go over there, because of pits. My husband elected to stay with the two small ones.
The guide explained how archeologists who had come from the wrong direction had missed the distinct topography, and mistakenly placed the settlement of Tzredah in the valley below. But the shards found in the valley turned out to be non-Jewish and from a different period. Then a second archeological team, coming from another direction, identified the spot correctly.
In order to capture as much water as possible and prevent soil erosion, the ancient and not-so-ancient peoples living here built terraces on the hillsides.
It was a long way down. The guide warned us that it got a little tricky after the beginning. It was more than that. At one point about halfway down there were large rocks with gaps in-between. I tripped over something, banged my leg into a rock, and tumbled over on my head into a gap. I called out but no one heard. I knew my husband and four-year-old were not far behind, along with a few others. When they caught up they helped me stop the bleeding. After resting a few minutes we all continued. Our friends, who were already down in the creek bed, saw we were having trouble and directed us to an easier descent. There was no path and the rest of the group was already at the end. Eventually we made it to the road and my husband was ushered into the car back to Peduel.
Your injured correspondent couldn’t resist this last picture:
On that cheerful note, I’ll save the rest for another post.
Continuation: Sukkot in the ER