Love of the Land

Love of the Land - Modi'in

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Love of the Land
Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael

HAIFA

Haifa, home of Israel's largest port, is first mentioned in the Talmud in an unusual context which may shed light on the history of a community whose source is otherwise obscure.

The residents of ancient Haifa, say our Sages (Megillah 24b) could not lead the services in the synagogue nor could its kohanim bless the congregation. This was because they were unable to differentiate between the guttural sounds in Hebrew, and their mispronunciation could turn a blessing into a curse. Some historians suggest that this language defect was the result of the exposure of Haifa's Jews to the many foreign merchants who settled on the coast for commercial purposes.

These historians also suggest that the name Haifa is a contraction of two Hebrew words: Hof Yafe - beautiful coast. A major feature of its beauty is Mount Carmel, site of the famous showdown between the Prophet Eliyahu and the idolatrous prophets (Melachim I, 18). A major part of the modern city has developed on this mountain.


The Love of the Land Archives

Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
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