Shrine of the Book - where the Dead Sea Scrolls are held.

Shrine of the Book – where the Dead Sea Scrolls are held.

After visiting the National Museum of Israel for the wine festival, I was keen to go back and check out some of the other exhibits. We headed to the bus stop and again narrowly missed our bus by mere moments.

Our first stop at the museum was the ‘Shrine of the book’ – where the Dead Sea scrolls are housed along with the Aleppo Codex. They are not just in a display case but the whole shrine takes you on an experience. Ambling through a cave like structure with artefacts from the era on display throughout. You then enter a big room, which feels very much like Indiana Jones entering the Temple of Doom to look at the circular presentation of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Around the outside of the room are also other important scrolls of biblical texts.

Then, there is a narrow, stone staircase leading further down underground to the Aleppo Codex – another significant biblical text. The exhibition makes you feel a part of history, like you are uncovering the scrolls yourself. Unfortunately photos are not allowed so you will have to use your imagination.

After that, we explored the exhibition on the life and times of King Herod. What a man. Herod was the king of Judea, installed by the Romans. He was a powerful and charismatic leader, leaving many long lasting legacies through infrastructure, temples, monuments and cities. Herod though, was not popular in Israel and was always caught balancing between appeasing the Romans who gave him his power and satisfying the people he ruled. Towards the end of his life, he turned very bitter and paranoid. Before his death, he divided his kingdom up between his heirs, as he did not believe any one of them would be charismatic enough to lead all the territories. A very interesting man.

That afternoon, I spent some time writing up my blog posts (I know, they don’t just happen!). I also thought I should catch up on some life admin, like updating my LinkedIn profile – given I am not working at the moment. I reflected what I should change to – I am not technically unemployed, but I am without work. I thought about putting ‘On sabbatical’ – then I thought, I better check what sabbatical actually means.

Well, it seemed the title was more apt that I could have imagined. A quick visit to Wikipedia informed me a sabbatical is a year off from work – tick. Moreover, it derives from the biblical reference to the requirement to not plough the field in the seventh year to allow the ground to rejuvenate. What an epiphany, after 7 years of work, I was now taking a year off – to rejuvenate. And to discover this while in the holy-land, what sweet poetic justice.

Note, I am still yet to update my LinkedIn profile…


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