יום חמישי י"ח בתשרי תש"פ 17/10/2019
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  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!

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בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.

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Place

  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.

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In Jewish Sites

The ancient town of Emmaeus

Emmaeus, which is just off the main highway leading to Yerushalayim, was a city in ancient times, from the times of the Chashmona’im. It is also mentioned as being the place of residence of the Tanna Rabi Elazar ben Arach. It is still possible to find fascinating remains at the site, dating back to the period of the second Beis haMikdash.

M. Shurak 04/11/2009 11:00
The town of Emmaeus is situated on the main highway that leads from the coastal plain towards Yerushalayim. Its location, near an intersection, gave the town its strategic advantage which was exploited over the generations, and accounts identify the town as also having been a major trading centre. Furthermore, the town is located on a fertile plain, an additional reason contributing to its historical importance.



The name given to the town, ‘Emmaeus’, is a Greek word, which translates into Hebrew as ‘Chamas’ or into Aramaic as ‘Chamsa’, after the hot springs that used to be found in the area. In fact, the town was renowned in the past as “a source of beneficial waters and with a beautiful view (Midrash Koheles Rabba 7:9). The town also has an additional name, ‘Nikopolis’, which translates from the Greek as ‘Victory Town’. This name was given to the town during a later period but did not survive into later usage.

The first reference found to the town of Emmaeus is from the period of the Chashmona’im, when Greek troops were stationed there, who fought against the Jewish soldiers under Yehudah HaMaccabee. The Jewish fighters made a surprise attack on the Greek garrison there and captured the area from them – from then onwards Emmaeus was a Jewish town, and still later, it served as one of the regional centres of the Yehudah area.

In a later period, we find a reference to Emmaeus from the time of the Bar Kochva revolt, in the year 3892 (132 CE), when Roman troops were stationed there. During this period, the town also gained prominence owing to the public baths situated there, which attracted many visitors.

Apart from these references, the town is cited numerous times in other places, and is also mentioned as being the place where the Tanna Rabi Elazar ben Arach settled, after the petirah of his teacher, Rabban Yochanan ben Zakai. In Avos d’Rabi Nosson it states; “For what reason did his name not grow in wisdom? Because when they left Yerushalayim and asked – where shall we go? – he answered that they should head for Maeus [Emmaeus], to a beautiful town whose waters are sweet, and so his name did not grow in wisdom. As for those who said – let us go to Yavneh, to a place where Torah is beloved, to a place where there are many talmidei chachomim – their names increased in wisdom.” Other chachomim who lived in the area or visited there are also cited in our holy sources.

Later, during the period of the Crusaders (4859 – 5021), Christian knights of the Templar order lived in Emmaeus.
The final transformation of the town was to an Arab village named Emmaus (spelled with an ‘ayin’ as the first letter rather than ‘aleph’ in the Hebrew version). This village was built over the ruins of the ancient town, and maintained the ancient name of the location. This village was inhabited until the Six-Day War in the year 5728 (1967CE) when it was abandoned.
The finds at the site

At the site of the ancient town, remains were found dating back to the period of the second Beis haMikdash, from the period of the Mishnah and the Talmud and from later periods too. There exists there a lintel from an ancient beis knesses, with the words ‘Baruch Shmo l’Olam’ written on it, along with the Greek words for ‘HaShem is One’.

From the period of the Bar Kochva uprising, utensils were found, as well as candles and a coin from the third year of the uprising. In addition, many hidden tunnels have been uncovered.

From the Roman and Byzantine periods, wine vats and oil containers were found, as well as remains from a farm and burial caves. In addition, a large hall paved with a mosaic-tiled floor was discovered, which was destroyed in the earthquake of the year 4510 (750 CE).

Today one can visit these remains and others from Emmaeus in ‘Canada Park’ near Latrun. In addition, there are several other interesting historical sites to visit in the area.

Wells in  Emmaeus[]
Wells and Water Holes  []
Material Center in Park Canada  []
The Pond in Park Canada []
Winepress []
Signs in Park Canada  []