Love of the Land

For the week ending 28 April 2007 / 10 Iyyar 5767

The Cave of Tzidkiyahu

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
The long tunnel underneath the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, known as the Cave of Tzidkiyahu, recalls the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash and the end of the Davidic dynasty.

As the Babylonian armies carried out the destruction of Jerusalem, the last king of Judah,

Tzidkiyahu, fled through a secret tunnel that ran from his palace to the plains of Jericho. But Heaven had marked him for destruction as well, and a deer was sent to run on top of the tunnel. The enemy soldiers pursued the deer and caught up with it at the other end of the tunnel just as Tzidkiyahu and his sons were exiting. They slaughtered the king's sons before his eyes and then blinded him and carried him off in chains to imprisonment in Babylon.

It is told that it was from this tunnel that stones were quarried for the building of the Beit Hamikdash.

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