So I’m still catching up with a backlog of blogs I’ve been meaning to write. Here’s another little adventure.

A couple of weeks ago my school took us on a tiyul (trip) to Neot Kidumim, the “Biblical Landscape Reserve.” It’s about what it sounds like–a reserve with lots of the plants, animals, etc. that were found in the Bible and an effort to tie things all together. So you can see, like, an ancient threshing floor, or an ancient mikveh, or how oil was made, that sort of thing. We saw a lot of trees, a bunch of cisterns, a well, and an ancient wine press:

 ancient wine press

Much more exciting, though, was when they brought us to the goats and the sheep! We did a little study about the role that shepherding has in the Torah (and psalms, natch) and then they had us do a little excercise where it was our job (“us” being the group broken up into smaller groups and competing against each other to do this in a short amount of time) to herd the sheep and goats from one part of the field to another. Much harder than it looks! They are stubborn critters who do not follow just anybody. Coaxing with food/leaves, it turns out, helps. Everybody likes a bribe. Also you figure out who the leader is and you get him to go in your direction–that’s really the easiest way to move them.

as a shepherd passes his flock beneath his staff....

It was, in some ways, the best excercise in practical rabbinics that I’ve had since starting rab school.

I determined during this event that A) My Azazel preoccupation is real: I love goats and want one! They are swell! and B) goats are somehow Jewish in a way that sheep are not. Dunno why, but I think it’s true.


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