Marcheshvan 5, 5774/October 9, 2013
Rambam's Journey to Israel and the Temple Mount: In His Own Words
For a description of Rambam's perilous journey, we we have the words written in his own hand:
"On the night of the first day of the week, the 14th day of the month of Iyar [May 5, 1165], I set off to sea. On Shabbat, on the 10th of the month of Iyar, in the year 4925 since the time of creation, we were confronted with great waves which nearly drowned us all, as a violent storm arose at sea. I took upon myself a vow that each year I would fast a complete public fast to commemorate these two perilous days of the storm, as would all the members of my household. I am instructing my children to likewise do so, until the end of time, and to
give charity, according to their ability.
On this day of my vow, the 10th of Iyar, I will sit alone, and greet no one, engaging only in prayer and deep thought. Just as I spent that day at sea all alone with the Holy Blessed One, so shall I be alone on this day, unless compelled to speak to others.
On Sunday, the 3rd of the month of Sivan [May 23, 1165], I left the ship in peace at the port of Acco, having been delivered from destruction and arrived in the land of Israel. I made a vow that this would henceforth be a day of joy and happiness, in which I would enjoy a festive meal and give charitable gifts to the poor, as would my household, until the end of time. On Tuesday, the fourth day of the month of Marcheshvan, in the year 4926 from the time of creation, I left Acco and set out for Jerusalem, encountering many dangers along the way. I entered the "Great and Holy House" and prayed there, on Thursday, the 6th of the
month of Marcheshvan [October 21, 1166].
On Sunday of the following week, the 9th of the month, I left Jerusalem and set out for Hevron, to visit the graves of our forefathers in the cave of the Machpelach. On that day I stood and prayed at the cave - may G-d be praised for everything! These two days, the 6th and the 9th of the month of Marcheshvan, I vowed will be for me life festival days, filled with prayer and happiness, food and drink! May G-d help me in all my endeavors and make true for me the verse, "My vows will I pay unto the L-rd" - amen!
Just as I merited to pray in its ruins, may I soon see, myself and all Israel, its comfort, speedily - amen!"
we will study more about Rambam's ascent to the Temple Mount, and his reflections on his experience later in his life.
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