Unravelling the Scrolls
Cross posted at JewsByChoice.Org
Avi and I headed to San Diego in order to have a mini-honeymoon and to visit family along with the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit. This is an experience that we both believe will only come once. According to the museum, this is the largest collection of the scrolls ever displayed in one place. Additionally, there are scrolls displayed that have not been put out in public until now. As a matter of fact, five of the ten scrolls we were able to view were on public view for the first time. How exciting!
As a Jew there is some sort of personal connection, in some sort of far off place within, that makes viewing these ancient texts quite special and in some ways personal. For me there were two specifically memorable texts.
First, seeing the Ten Commandments scroll was amazing. This scroll dates to 30–1 BCE. That is practically incomprehensible. The Ten Commandments are very, perhaps cliche, but altogether symbolic and meaningful texts and symbols for me as a Jew. I believe that the image of the tablets is one of the earliest symbols I recall from childhood.
The second significant text today came at the end of the exhibit. There was a Torah scroll on exhibit. This was an ordinary (if there is such a thing) scroll. A scroll used at a local synagogue, typical of the scrolls many of us see weekly in shul. The special thing for me was that of the portions that were unrolled, I was actually able to make out some of the Hebrew text. Not only was I quite proud, but the text was significant. As I skimmed the hand written Torah, with no vowels (which for me is quite challenging), for any familiar words, I was able to find: Sh'ma Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Ehad...followed of course by the V'havtah. WOW! Hebrew school payed off and at that moment I felt quite connected and special.
These texts afterall are my/our history, my/our lineage.