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A message from the ruins of Gamla

What do ancient Gamla’s archaeological finds help teach us about Mishnaic prose? Take a closer look at this hill, site of the ancient battle of the Israelites in the Great Revolt against the Romans, circa. 67 CE.

Masechet Shabbat includes many mentions of Eruv issues, that is the public, private and other spaces we live in, and their direct influence on whether or not we can carry, throw or otherwise move an object through that space. Interestingly, the Mishnaic town included spaces that to the modern man must be explained, as we are less familiar with a ‘carmelit’ than they were. 
In fact, our sages did not always know how to relate to the described spaces, or solutions. On Daf קי”ז and many others throughout the Masechet and in Euruvin as well, some concepts remained a mystery, seldom explicitly understood. Take the small but powerful Lechi, for example. Yes, we know it’s at least ten tefachim (approx 80 cm) tall and helps turn a ‘mavoi’ into an area permissible for carrying. 
But what’s a mavoi? Take a look at this thin passageway for a better idea. 
Lo and behold – in the ruins of the second-temple period city of Gamla, uncovered by archaeologist giant Shemaryahu Gutman, near this breach of the walls, we find our very own Lechi!

Ten tfachim high, the Lechi, or post, stands in the Mavoi, or passageway, allowing the Israelites of Gamla to carry their belongings on Shabbat without worry. A messenger from the past, coming to personify the Mishnaic passages that were vaguely understood until we returned to our land and dug up our heritage…

Shulie Mishkin

Shulie Mishkin

Shulie Mishkin made Aliyah from New York with a Master's degree in Jewish History from Columbia University. After completing the Ministry of Tourism guide course in 1997, she began guiding professionally and has since taught and guided all ages, from toddlers to retirees. Her tours provide a complete picture of the land of Israel and Jewish heritage, with a strong reliance on sources ranging from the Bible to 19th century travelers' reports. Alongside her regular guide work, she teaches "tour and text" courses in the Jerusalem institutions of Pardes and Matan as wel as the Women's Bet Midrash in Efrat and provides tours for special needs students in the “Darkaynu” program. Shulie lives in Alon Shvut with her husband Jonathan and their five kids. Shulie Mishkin is now doing virtual tours online. Check out the options at
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