The last time we stayed in this moshav, we had a number of feast days wherein we would stroll the afternoon away wandering through the neighborhood. We have not had so much time this visit… until today.
Last night as we discussed what we might do today, we decided to drive to Ein Kerem to hike a trail that I spotted yesterday as we came home. Then, around noon today I asked about doing that and Marie, the experienced member of the team, having lived in Israel for 8 years, said, “No, I think the Israeli Trail passes by the front gate. Maybe we just walk out there and see how far we can go.”
So, we loaded up with water, strapped on shoes or boots and set out on another adventure!
At the entrance to the moshav, Marie veered off to one side and found a very nice sign with a regional map and information, which she already knew from multiple hikes in the region, on trail markings! Interestingly, the trail is called the Trail of Holy Ones. My mind immediately started rolling around the above verse from Isaiah 35. Only after I read it in full context and understood that the trail begins at the northernmost border of Israel and runs all the way to/through Jerusalem and on to Eliat that I realized the potentially great significance!
So we began to follow the trail while I made a mental note that if we had the energy when we got back, I wanted to hop the fence to an abandoned hotel across 395 from the moshav entrance that has not been completed since the late 90s. Something about that property intrigues me….
So we began walking on a trail that seemed well marked and wound right through vineyards, orchards, deep woods and, at points, quite rugged terrain.
Just yesterday, we ran into Glenn and Amanda in downtown Jerusalem. They attended the 3rd Congress where we initially met them and in conversation both there and in Jerusalem they talked a bit about their hike through Israel on the trail that in many places has obliterated or nearly invisible trail markers. Maps exist like the one Marie had in her pocket, but the markers are nice comfort to keep hikers on the (not so) straight and narrow.
As we walked, Marie pointed out many different things with her broad knowledge and experience in the Land and among the people. Once she introduced us to the trail markers, we took pleasure in finding them as we went. A major construction in one part had removed the markers for then Trail of the Holy Ones, but a side trail led us on with a different set of colors. Because we were not headed to a particular destination, the switch in trail was fine and we kept walking.
During the walk we saw Israelis picnicking at tabled sights as they enjoyed the feast day. A funny sight was one couple ‘walking’ their dog. See the pic.
Once we were a great distance into our walk, we decided to turn around and head back. Near that point we stopped to discuss a spur that went steeply up hill, guessing that it was a short cut that would lead us back to 395. We consulted Waze and Marie’s map before taking the plunge. The farther we went up the hill, the more narrow and rougher the terrain got, but it drew us on until we could hear cars. We pressed on choosing at each fork the way we though most likely to get us back then suddenly popped out at a large gap in the fence surrounding the back of the abandoned, or seemingly so, hotel!!
We wandered around part of the hotel until we figured out there was someone working back there. We were not sure what his role was, but suspected watchman for the equipment and numerous piles of building supplies on the site. Maybe someone is going to do something with the place though our host claims it has changed hands multiple times in the last decade with various parties who have big plans but never finish… we felt compelled to stop and pray for the place as a possible site for Ephramite presence in the future. Marie made the interesting observation that the graffiti on the walls is like the labels others try to put on our unfinished ‘building.’
After praying, and more pictures, one of our group noticed a car pulling up to the gate. We suspected that the watchman had called someone, so we headed toward our entry point. As we scooted along, Marie spotted a very small hole in the fence which we quickly scrambled through and found ourselves almost at the entrance to the moshav, next to where our hike began!
We strolled back through the neighborhood excitedly discussing the walk, events and spiritual connections. The whole walk, about two hours long, was good exercise and a refreshing connection with the Land in a manner quite different than driving through to get to the light rail or other parts by car.
Glenn, if you are reading, you and Amanda have an idea with potential serious Messianic implications!! The Highway of Holiness indeed needs to be well marked!
Shalom Pete. I see you are wearing your ‘All American’ hat there… It was because of my membership with the AA that I had the privlidge of an all-expense paid trip to Sinai and lv into Israel tooling around like you and the family are there:-) it is an oasis in the desert so to speak. Blessings.
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Yeah, can’t get enough of this place!!
Shabbat Shalom from Jerusalem (area)
Pete, did no know any other way to get a hold of you just wanted to say thank you so much and I am at the gate fixing to board! Thank you all do your prayers and friendship. I am beyond blessed to call y’all my brothers and sisters!
Sent from Debbie’s mobile device
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Wow!! Awesome. We were amazed at how fast Yah moved. Praying safe travel. Keep us posted.
Shalom Pete Rambo.
As Amanda and I have been walking the land, we’ve opened our bible up randomly and read much about our House of Israel idolatrousness (adultery) and also about Ephraim’s return to the Father and then our return to the Land. I don’t recall having read your Isaiah 35:8 Scripture about the Highway of Holiness. Toda rabba for that!
Our journey began together when we were married during Sukkot of 2008, when we were invited by Yosef and Keren to get married on their ranch. I had collected enough air miles with Alaska Airlines to get Amanda and I free seats all the way from Medford, Oregon to Ben Gurion International Airport. When using air miles, the airlines told us when they had two available seats to get to the Promised Land for our honeymoon. The dates they picked were three weeks after our wedding. As we flew off from the USA we noticed that the daily Torah Portion for that day was in Lech L’cha where YHVH is telling His servant, Avram, to leave the land of your fathers and go to a land I will show you. We flew from Seattle and overnighted near Heathrow in London.
The following day we boarded a British Airways jet to Israel. The daily Torah portion for that day, which is the third day reading from Lech L’cha was when Master YHVH Elohim tells Avram to, “Arise and walk the land, north, south, east, and west”. “Walk it’s length and breadth”.
Knowing how many days are in a year, we knew it wasn’t a coincidence that the Torah Portion would say these things, but it didn’t dawn on us until we read a book by Judith Galblum Pex called “Walk The Land” where she and her husband John Pex hiked the Israel National Trail (INT) from Eilat, where they own and operate a hostel called, “The Shelter”. That’s when I, slow of mind and dull senses, told Amanda, “I think YHVH wants us to walk the INT”, known in the Land as Shvil Israel. We made plans last year to start in the late Winter early Spring to start in the North at Kibbutz Dan and head toward the Mediterranean Sea, bought our airline tickets, and made preparations including lots of walking and exercise over the Autumn and dark Winter.
As we prepared, we started realizing that the Northern end or start of the Shvil Israel goes through Tel Dan, right where our fathers were divorced from YHVH for our idolatrous ways and taken into captivity by the Assyrians and dispersed throughout the earth and became, “Lo Ami” (not My people).
The Shvil has been, for us, a tough trail. It’s not easy by any means. We’re both in our 60’s, but although the Shvil oftentimes is nothing more than a goat trail with hard to follow or even non existent trail markers, we’ve also been blessed many times by the generosity of the local population from the House of Judah who see us as “Lost Sheep” wandering around with our backpacks looking truly lost. We’ve been keeping journals and taking lots of pictures of all of the trials, Divine Appointments, and Scriptures that have led us along. We have changed some of our plans too, which is why we were blessed to be able to attend the B’ney Yosef Congress in Ariel where we met you, Pete, and your family. It’s also amazing to walk the streets of Jerusalem and run into you and many others everyday in a city as big as Jerusalem.
Na’im me’od, lehitraot, Glenn & Amanda Miller
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It was great to meet and get to know you and Amanda. Trusting we’ll meet again and again in the Land and in Jerusalem.
Do pursue your desire to bring a team (several youth?) To repaint the trail.
Pete, as I read about your hike on the “Trail of the Holy Ones” section of the Shvil Israel that Glenn and I have been hiking prior to and after the B’ney Yosef Congress, I couldn’t help but think about that abandoned building you all found. For some reason, it brought to my mind the building that Ken Rank, Frank Houtz, and others I am not aware of, I’m sure, that have turned it into a Torah-based school in Kentucky. From my limited understanding of their process in doing so, I believe it started as a vision, most assuredly from Yahweh. Only Abba knows what He has planned for a future place for our Ephraimite community in Eretz Israel, the land He has promised to us as His descendants, but we agree with your proposition you presented at the Congress, and will be praying with you and others regarding this.
As far as “walking the land” on the Shvil Israel, with many faded and/or missing trail markers, may we and our Ephraimite brothers and sisters be brilliant in His spirit and truth, and know AND share our identity in Him, as we forge our path to the reconciliation and restoration of the Whole House of Israel! Praise Abba, from Whom ALL blessings flow!
May Yahweh bless you!