On Friday, June 25, we took the participants at our study center and some who studied in our New Believers study on a “field trip” to Tzfat, Israel. It was a lovely day [we don’t receive rain in June] and most of the people had never visited this ancient in the north of Israel. Some of these people, while Jewish, were raised in totally secular households in the former Soviet Union. We felt that this was a great opportunity to instill in them some knowledge of their Jewish heritage. Here are some interesting facts about Tzfat (also spelled Safed) from Wikipedia:
Located at an elevation of 900 metres (2,953 ft), Tzfat is the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel.
Tzfat has been identified with Sepph, a fortified town in the Upper Galilee mentioned in the writings of the Roman Jewish historian Josephus. The Jerusalem Talmud mentions it as one of five elevated spots where fires were lit to announce the New Moon and festivals during the Second Temple period. Tzfat attained local prominence under the Crusaders, who built a large fortress there in 1168. Later, after a century of general decline, the stability brought by the Ottoman conquest in 1517 ushered in nearly a century of growth and prosperity in Tzfat, during which time Jewish immigrants from across Europe developed the city into a center for wool and textile production and the mystical Kabbalah movement. It became known as one of the Four Holy Cities of Judaism.
Legend has it that Tzfat was founded by a son of Noah after the Great Flood. According to the Book of Judges (Judges 1:17), the area where Tzfat is located was assigned to the tribe of Naphtali.
It has been suggested that Yeshua’s assertion that “a city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” may have referred to Tzfat.
You can find out more information online.
Baruch and I and our family lived in Tzfat for 5 years. It is a very quaint, special place, full of stories, legends and is known for its fresh mountain air. Tomorrow I will share about some of the famous synagogues of Tzfat.