SAFED WITH A PRIVATE DRIVER - THE CITY OF MYSTICISM AND BONDAGE
An amazing time to start traveling again, we are officially over with the covid lockdowns for good, today we invite you to hire a private driver to Safed and blend into the mystery of kabballah.
GUIDED TOUR OF SAFED BY A PRIVATE DRIVER - INTRODUCTION
Safed is the capital of Upper Galilee, the city of mysticism and bondage. Safed is one of the 4 holy cities of Israel (along with Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias). Of the 4 basic elements of creation (in Greek philosophy, and then in Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages), it corresponds to the air. The dominant color of the city is "Thelet" (blue, turquoise).
HISTORY OF SAFED
Local tradition says that Safed was the home of the teachings of Shem and Eber, the descendants of Noah. In historical sources, Safed is mentioned for the first time only by Josephus, as one of the places fortified during the Great Jewish Revolt against Rome. Later, the Crusaders built the largest fortress in the Middle East here.
SAFED IN JEWISH TRADITION
Safed acquired its place in the Jewish world in the middle of the 16th century, when the “national team of the Jewish people” gathered in the city. Rav Yosef Karo wrote here a collection of Jewish law - Shulchan Aruch. Shlomo Elkabets composed the Lech Dodi hymn, the most famous song of the Jewish people. Cabalists Moshe Cordovero and Saint Ari (Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi) taught the deepest knowledge of Genesis. The Sabbath Prayer, Tu B'Shvat Seder, and many other traditions adopted in all communities of the Jewish people were created here.
These prominent personalities, direct descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain, dreamed of complete deliverance. Since then, the city has lived and lives in anticipation of the Messiah. At the end of the 18th century, Hasidim, disciples of the Baal Shem Tov, came to Safed from Eastern Europe. They built their shrivels and homes here. Recently, the city has become a center for Jewish music and creativity. The street of artists and the annual festival of klezmer attract many visitors here.
THE BLUE COLOR OF SAFED
The color blue is striking at every corner of Safed. House doors, window shutters, the interior of the old synagogues of the city. Old people say that this color brings happiness and protects the city from evil forces. Scientists can add that the blue color repels flies and other harmful insects.
In the Jewish tradition, the color blue (thelet) is associated with one of the central commandments in Jewish life - tzitzit. The Torah says: “... Tell the sons of Israel and tell them to make tzitzit (tassels) for themselves on the edges of their clothes in all their generations, and they will give the tzitzit thread thelet to the tzitzit on the edge (of clothing). And you will have it in tzitzit so that you can see it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and fulfill them ... and be holy to your God ... ”. (Bemidbar, 15).
The Jewish sages compared Thelet with the manifestation of Divine Presence (Divine Presence), for: "Thelet is like the sea, the sea is like the sky, and the sky is like the throne of Glory." This light of spiritual expectation and striving for complete deliverance calls to rise from everyday life. By touching the spirit of this city, you can feel this feeling.
THELET IN OUR TIME
The commandment Thelet in tzitzit, lost by the Jewish people during the Galut, comes back to us in recent generations. In the synagogues of the Land of Israel, you can find more and more people tying the thread of the restored commandment in their tzitzit. The Thelet light is again taking its place on the edges of clothing and in the life of the Jewish people.
SYNAGOGUES OS SAFED
1.Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue is the oldest in Safed. The modern building was built in 1857, but it is based on the remains of a 16th-century synagogue. Despite its "Ashkenazic" name, the first "Ari" synagogue was built by the Sephardi from Greece. It owes its name to the famous rabbi Yitzhak Luria (abbreviated as "Ari"), who is believed to have been one of the founders of Kabbalah in Safed. The second part of the name, "Ashkenazi", appeared in the 18th century with the arrival of a large number of religious Jews from Eastern Europe (Ashkenazi).
The Torah vault in the Ari Ashkenazi synagogue is made of olive and was created by a carpenter from Galicia. In honor of Rabbi Ari, it depicts a lion, "Arie" in Hebrew.
2.The Abohav Synagogue is the main Sephardic synagogue in the city. The building was built in the 15th century and was rebuilt twice after earthquakes. The Abukhav synagogue houses a Torah scroll, preserved from the 15th century. It is taken out only during the biggest holidays.
3.The Yosef Karo Synagogue is famous for its collection of sacred books, which can be seen through the doors of glass cabinets. The synagogue was named after Rabbi Yosef Karo, who, according to legend, wrote his code of Jewish laws in a cave that was once under this synagogue.
4.The Ari Sfaradi Synagogue is located in the old Jewish quarter of Safed. Here, according to legend, Ari prayed and during prayers the prophet, Eliyahu Hanavi appeared to him, who initiated him into the mystical secrets of Judaism.
5.The Artists' Quarter is the most picturesque place in Safed. After the War of Independence, several artists approached the city hall with a request to move to abandoned houses and set up their workshops there. Over time, they became more and more - that's how the artists' quarter appeared here.
Take a trip to Safed with a private driver from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, Safed is the right place to absorb some positive energy and soak mountains air, walk around the local galleries and visit the ancient synagogues, and don't forget to shop. There are also some great places to explore with a private Israeli driver around, perhaps a few wineries of battle heritage sites, or ever bird watching in the Hula Valley.