Friday , 21 July 2017
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Serah Bat Asher

The non-conformist village of Klil holds a plethera of surprises for you. The most entertaining surprise I found was the invention of a holy site for the well-known Biblical character who was assumed to Heaven after her death – Serah bat Asher.

Who was Serah Bat Asher?

In the Bible Serah bat Asher was a daughter of Asher, the son of Jacob. The fact that she is the only female mentioned in the genealogical lists (Genesis, 46:17;  Book of Numbers, 26:46; 1 Chron. 7:30) seemed to indicate to our forefathers that she was something extraordinary and she became the heroine of several legends.

  • Serah was the first to inform Jacob that his son Joseph was still alive.  Jacob blesses her saying “May you live forever and never die.” According to this midrash, Serach was eventually permitted to enter Heaven alive.
  • Serah had  the secret knowledge of how to identify that Moses was the redeemer of Israel from captivity in Egypt.
  • Serah, having participated in Joseph’s funeral, was able to locate the bones of Joseph so that the children of Israel could take them in their Exodus.
  • Serah is described as looking down from heaven and listening to the discussions of important religious matters by the rabbis in the house of study. Rabbi Johanan sought to explain just how the waters of the Red Sea became a wall for Israel. Serah looked down and said, “I was there! The waters rose up like a wall for Israel shining like lighted windows.”

Why Commemorate Serah Bat Asher in Klil?

Hiking in Nahal Yehiam near Klil Communal Village you will find an improvised memorial to Serah bat Asher, often referred to as the oldest woman in the Torah, who is considered immortal. The village is in the territory designated in the Bible to be awarded to the tribe of Asher, one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. So whether this is a legitimate tourist attraction of a holy spiritual place to make your wishes, you can find it in Klil.

 

The Hippie Village of Klil

Klil is a unique ecological Israeli village. The village was established in 1979 by a group of city-dwellers who had purchased the land from landlords living in neighbouring villages. They named it after the ancient building discovered in the area called Horvat Klil (Klil Ruins). The village is not connected to the power grid, and all electricity is generated by solar and wind power.Everything here is organic and sustainable. The houses were built inside the shrubby forest remote from other communities, including yurts (Mongolian round tents) and teepees (North American Indian tents). Even in the 21st Century, most of the village’s roads are still dirt roads.

 

Is this another holy spoof?

This reminds me of another holy spoof which led to newspaper articles, radio reports and Israeli TV news: The Grave of Rabbi Asi  near Nachal Kohanim.

 

Serah bat Asher’s Grave in Iran

This site caught my curiosity. So I investigated in Dr. Google and found that the plot thickens.

Serah bat Asher's Grave in Iran
Serah bat Asher’s Grave in Iran

There is a parallel legend that Serah lived until the tribe of Asher was exiled by Shalmaneser V, went with them into exile, and died there, nearly 1000 years old. According to this legend, her grave is located in Pir Bakran, a small town about 30 km southeast of Isfahan. The site consists of a small synagogue and a huge cemetery which is probably 2000 years old.

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