We left Arbel by first visiting the ruins of an old synagogue that brought reflections to our minds regarding the permanence of our lives and undertakings.
- Dr. David Smith
We left Arbel by first visiting the ruins of an old synagogue that brought reflections to our minds regarding the permanence of our lives and undertakings. We were blessed by getting to partake of the abundant fruit of the fertile valley below before getting to the Mount of Beatitudes that evening.
We ventured up the very steep mountainside to the Arbel National Park where spectacular, closer views of the Golan Heights, the Sea of Galilee (also known as Kinneret, Lake Gennesaret, or Lake Tiberias), and the Arbel Valley awaited us. We explored the ruins of an ancient synagogue (see below). Some of us thought our guide must be joking as he stated we would be going to the steep side of the Arbel cliff the next day. Fortunately, there were steel grab bars conveniently placed providing support as we descended. On the way down, there was an ancient fortress built into the rocky cliff and some caves that could be explored. Then, we came through some very large orchards with grapefruit, oranges, mango, and lemons; there were so many grapefruit left on the trees for those walking and traveling through, that we all had one along the way until we arrived at a restaurant for lunch in the early noon. "When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.'" (Leviticus 23:22). "When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigner, the fatherless and the widow, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands." (Deuteronomy 24:19). These folks were practicing what they have been taught and we were surely thankful.
It was getting near dark by the time we got close to Mount of Beatitudes Guest House in Tabgha on the north side of the sea. As we made it up that hill, it was almost pitch black outside. We used the little light we had to finally arrive at a beautifully landscaped area where the Mount of Beatitudes church and Guest House were located. The type of food eaten in Israel is something that all of the United States could learn from and improve our health greatly. The next day was eagerly awaited for what would surely be the highlight of the trip thus far.