Selections from classical Torah sources
which express the special relationship between
the People of Israel and Eretz Yisrael
"Kalev declared: To whomever shall conquer Kiryat Sefer I shall allow to marry my daughter Achsah.' " (Shoftim 1:12)
As the Jewish People under the leadership of Yehoshua began their conquest of Eretz Yisrael, the Tribe of Yehuda headed by Kalev ben Yefuneh reached the city of Kiryat Sefer in its efforts to drive out the Canaanites from Yehuda's portion of the land. The city presented a serious challenge that motivated Kalev to make this attractive offer. It was Kalev's half-brother, Otniel ben Knaz, who conquered the city and won the hand of his extraordinary niece.
The gemara (Mesechta Temurah 16a) interprets the name Kiryat Sefer as meaning "the city of the book" and ascribes a different sort of triumph to Otniel. During the mourning period following the passing of Moshe, 1700 halachic interpretations received from him were forgotten. It was Otniel who, through his scholarly talents, restored them to his people and won the hand of Achsah.
The city today bearing the name Kiryat Sefer is about a half-hour's distance from Jerusalem, and is fast becoming the third largest charedi community in Eretz Yisrael. Right next to it is an area designated to house an Ohr Somayach housing project in the very near future..
Written by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach, Dean, Ohr Somayach Institutions
General Editor: Rabbi Moshe Newman
HTML Production: Eli Ballon
HTML Design: Michael Treblow
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