Love of the Land

Love of the Land - Akko

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

AKKO

Although this ancient coastal city is not mentioned in Tanach, its name comes up often in Talmudic and Midrashic literature. In Bereishet (1:10) Rashi cites the Midrashic explanation for the Torah's plural term "seas" to describe the inter-connected mass of water forming the earth's seas and oceans: "The taste of a fish caught in Akko is not the same as that of a fish in Aspamia" - a reference to the fishing done in Akko, which even visitors to the city today can appreciate.

Akko as a port appears in the Talmudic narrative of Nikanor's gate for the Beit Hamikdash, which was cast overboard in a storm and miraculously surfaced as the boat reached Akko (Mesechta Yoma 38a). This city was also designated as Eretz Yisrael's northern border regarding the laws of an agent bringing a divorce document from husband to wife (Mesechta Gittin 2a), and Tosefot suggests that one part of the city was actually outside the border.

This Old Town of Akko, its walls a reminder of Napoleon's failed attempt to conquer the city as a stepping stone to establishing an Eastern Empire, is a popular tourist attraction. It contains the Citadel, erected by the Turks at the end of the 18th century on Crusader foundations of the 13th century, where the British imprisoned and executed Jewish underground fighters. It now serves as a monument to the struggle for liberation.

The New Town is populated mostly by immigrants who arrived after statehood, but also has a sizable Arab community.


The Love of the Land Archives

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