Monday, March 14, 2011

forty days and forty nights

Lent is my favourite time of year.  I know it's crazy.  Most people dislike it because of the tradition of giving up things we like to do or eat or whatever.  I've given up chocolate and coffee and alcohol in the past.  But I don't usually have enough of any of these things to make it any sort of penance.  This year, I've given up playing solitaire on the computer.  OUCH!  I really have to slap my fingers hard.  It's how I get through reading boring emails. 
Lent is more about preparing for Easter.  This time last year, we were in England.  It was our last few days of a six-week trip, two weeks of which had been spent in the Holy Land. 
the view from the tram taking us up Temptation Mountain
Going through the check-out to leave Tel Aviv on February 16th, (an experience more arduous than entering Israel) my suitcase was scanned. "Did you go to the Dead Sea?" the Israeli woman asked me.  "Yes," I said.  "Did you get any mud from the bottom of the Dead Sea?"  "Yes," I said.  "Did you scoop it out yourself or did you buy it?"  "I bought it."  "Where?  What was the name of the shop?" she asked.  "Temptation Mountain," I said.  Temptation mountain, where Jesus spent the forty days and forty nights remembered each Lent.  I'll try and post the pictures here.
It's hard to photograph this place.  You can see it is desolate desert and mountainous.  There is a Greek Orthodox monastery near the top.  Long difficult climb from where the tram stops, leads to the small cave where it is said that Jesus slept for those forty nights.

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