Love of the Land

For the week ending 3 February 2007 / 15 Shevat 5767

Beror Chayil The Secret Signal

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

The name of a kibbutz in the northern Negev recalls two milestones in Jewish history.

Beror Chayil was the seat of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai who negotiated with the Romans for the survival of the Sanhedrin in Yavneh at the time of the destruction of the Second Beit Hamikdash.

It was there too where Jews, banned by the Romans from circumcising their sons, came up with a way to secretly publicize a brit milah feast. They would light some candles in their windows during the day or an excessive amount at night to let their neighbors know of the celebration. It thus became common knowledge that if there is "Ohr Haneir b'Beror Chayil" (the light of a candle in Beror Chayil), there is going to be a feast there.

Interestingly enough, right next to Kibbutz Beror Chayil is Kibbutz Ohr Haneir.

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