DAY 1: Tel Aviv D
Arrival in Ben Gurion Airport. You will be met, assisted and transferred from the airport to your hotel. Time to check in and relax before dinner.
Day 2: Tel Aviv/ Jaffa/ Tel Aviv B/D The Sacred and the profane.
Begin the day in Jaffa at the Kabbalah Center for Jewish mysticism where over 1,000 people study Kabbalah in weekly classes. Continue to the ancient port of Jaffa to hear the story of Jonah, the son of Amittai and how he was swallowed by the whale. Stop at the underground Archaeological Museum located in an old Turkish Seraglio to learn about the ways of the ancient Jews who once lived here. In the Ramses II garden park see the sculpture representing an Egyptian gate dubbed the “Ramses Gate”. Stroll down the famous sea promenade of Tel Aviv. The mavens of Kabbalah always drew their inspiration from the “Big and Mighty” sea of God. A guided visit to the Gemological Institute at the Diamond Exchange Center of Israel provides an opportunity to learn about the divine powers of precious stones in Kabbalah. The highlight of today’s tour will be a chance to see Kohen Gadol’s Breastplace of Judgement known as “Chosen HaMishpat” inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel which was worn by the high priests of the Jewish Temple when they entered the holy place. At the end of the tour check-in to your hotel, dinner and overnight in Tel Aviv.
Day 3: Tel Aviv/Haifa/Beit She’arim/Safed B/D Following the footsteps of Elijah the mystery of Mt. Carmel.
Following breakfast we leave Tel Aviv heading towards Haifa to visit Elijah’s Cave located on Mount Carmel just below the Stella Maris Lighthouse and Monastery. It is believed that the Prophet meditated here before his fateful encounter with the Priests of Ba’al. In the Jewish faith, Elijah’s memory is preserved in a variety of ways at Passover, every Brit and at the end of Shabbat. Next is the golden domed Baha’i Shrine and the perfectly manicured Persian Gardens that form the Baha’i World Center of the Baha’i Faith whose motto is equality, tolerance and visual esthetics. A unique opportunity to meet with a representative of the Baha’i religion at the World Peace Center and learn how Jewish Mysticism has influenced the Baha’i religion. Making our way to the University of Haifa we visit the Reuben and Edith Hecht Museum inaugurated in 1984 where the archaeological and historical exhibits from the Land of Israel are displayed in chronological sequence from the Chalcolithic period to the Byzantine period. See the statues of Ba’al and Ashterah, the enemies of Elijah the Prophet and meet the professor of Jewish Mysticism at the University of Haifa. Leaving Haifa we travel eastbound towards Beit She’arim in the southern foothills of the Lower Galilee to visit the Jewish Necropolis dating from the Roman Period. Founded at the end of the 1st century BCE, the vast necropolis contains more than 30 burial cave systems containing many tombs. Its catacombs, mausoleums and tombs are artistically adorned with elaborate symbols, figures and painted inscriptions. We now head to Safed located in Northern Israel above sea level in the mountains of the Upper Galilee for dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Safed B/D Kabbalah and the Kabbalists of Safed.
Breakfast at the hotel then we are off to explore Safed, a center of Jewish Mysticism for hundreds of years. Safed, one of the four holy cities of Israel has a rich past. We begin with a guided visit to the Ha-Ari and Abuhav Synagogues with their great stories and mystical messages. Kabbalists such as Rabbi Yitzhak Luria (Ha-Ari Ha-Kadosh made the city famous with their great stories and mystical messages.This synagogue is the perfect setting to learn about the origins of tikkun olam (the Kabbalistic idea of repairing the world) and about the Kabbalah itself. Also, hear about the Ari and his contribution to Kabbalah and be amazed by the worshippers\’ story of survival during the War of Independence. If you want to see one of the oldest surviving synagogues in Safed and the place where the Ari loved to spend his time, then check out the Sephardic HaAri Synagogue.
The Historical Trail
For a bit of historical excitement, make a stop at the Abuhav Synagogue where you can view a Torah scroll from the Middle Ages and see a synagogue that has not one, but three holy arks. Safed is one of the four holy cities in Israel, together with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias. The old part of town consists of narrow cobblestone alleys revealing artists\’ galleries, medieval synagogues, private homes and small guest houses. Despite its small population (ca 27,000), Safed is once again making its mark on the map. A guided visit to the Kabbalah Music Center. A visit to the Yoshbe Winery in Safed or enjoy a pale ale from the Dancing Camel Brewery. A stroll through the Amulet market of Safed and a visit to the Talit design shop and the workroom of Torah Scrolls writer located in the artists\’ colony. A meeting with a Kabbalist at the Kaballah Center in the Old City of Safed. A visit to the Ancient Cemetery of Safed where inscriptions on old tombstones reveal the presence of sages and mystics, among them, the most prominent being the Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria, Hannah and her seven sons and Hosea the Prophet. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5: SAFED B/D On the slopes of Mt. Meron: The story of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai
Breakfast at your hotel. Steep yourself in the unique spiritual and mystical atmosphere of the Galilee by hiking the Mt. Meron area, final resting place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, the author of the “Zohar”. Stop and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery of the Upper Galilee and the mountains of Lebanon.Enjoy the outdoor musical performance which will reveal to you the connection between God and nature. Visit the graves of the famous rabbis, Hillel and Shammai, located near Meron, as well as the third century C.E. synagogue at the base of the mountain and the gravesite of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Climb the trail through Meron Stream and reach “Elija’s Chair” (Kisse Eliyahu), a tall rock shaped like a pillar, where Elijah the Prophet spent his last days.
Day 6: SAFED B/D
Holy Graves of the Upper Galilee.
Breakfast at your hotel. Climb Mount Yavnit, located directly across the main road to Safed and enjoy the scenic overlook of the Hula Valley.Visit the tombs of Abaye and Rava, the prominent Talmud Scholars who lit the study halls in ancient Babylonia with their fiery Torah debates, ensuring their niche among the most quoted sparring partners in the Talmudic period known as the Amoraim (explainers or interpreters), from about 200-500 CE. Continue to Amuka, the burial site of the famous Talmudic sage Rabbi Yonathan Ben Uziel, located in the Biria forest between Tzfat, Hatzor and Rosh Pinna. Meet local Tzaddikah (the righteous one) and receive her blessings. Visit the tomb of Honi HaMeagel, (Honi the Circle-Drawer) located on the western outskirts of the town of Hazor Hagelilit. The name of this righteous sage, who lived in the first century BCE, comes from a miracle: During a time of great drought the people asked Honi to pray for rain. The Talmud says Honi drew a circle, sat in the middle, and told God he would not move until it rained. God then sent so much rain that Honi had to pray again – for it to stop. Ascend Mt. Hermon, the highest peak in Israel. According to tradition, this is where God promised Abraham that He would give the land to his descendants. An ancient tomb marks the spot and huge oaks grow next to it. Visit Nimrod Castle names named for the hunter Nimrod, grandson of Noah, who was first mentioned in the book of Genesis. Return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. After dinner enjoy the evening tour of moonlit Safed.
Evening Lecture: Politics, black magic and practical Kabbalah. The dangers of Kabbalah in Israel.
Day 7: SAFED/ CITY OF TANNAIM/ JERUSALEM B/D
Breakfast at your hotel. Check out and departure. Visit Tiberias, Israel\’s lowest city at 200 meters below sea level and a multi-layered experience from the days of Herod Antipas through contemporary Israel, including guided visits to the newly excavated Roman Theatre constructed in the 1st C AD., the Barniki Castle and Bath House. A walk along the cliffs of Mt. Barniki with it\’s incredible view of the sea of Galilee, Tiberias and the surroundings ending near the ancient cemetery. The tomb of Rabbi Akiva and hear the story of the “Orchard” which depicts 4 traditional methods of exegesis in Judaism. A visit to Hamat Tiberias National Park, which includes seventeen hot springs whose 60-degree Celsius waters are infused with approximately 100 minerals with unique therapeutic qualities that can be found only here. Travel south to the Judean Desert and visit the caves of Qumran believed to have been home to a Jewish sect of the Essenes, which seceded from the Zadokite priests. Visit the grave of Nabi Mussa (Prophet Moses) for a window into the unique world of Muslim Mysticism in the heart of the desert. Drive to Jerusalem. Stop at Mount Scopus for an overview of Jerusalem and the traditional “shehechiyanu” blessing. Check into your hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 8: JERUSALEM From Mt.of Olives to Mt.Zion B/D
Breakfast at your hotel. Start the day with a drive to the beautiful Mt. of Olives to behold the breath-taking panorama of the Holy City. Stop by the Tomb of the prophets Malachi and Haggai or the \”Small Labyrinth\” on the Mount of Olives. Descend to Yehoshafat Valley, where, according to tradition, the dead will be resurrected by the God of Israel for judgment. Visit the ancient tombs of Absalom and Zacharias and learn about the ancient methods of burial. Guided visit through the ancient City of David and learn about Messiah Ben Joseph, Messiah Ben David and their role in Kabbalah.
Visit the traditional site of Tomb of King David on Mt. Zion and the Diaspora Yeshiva where you will hear a short lecture about connection between the Hasidism of Rabbi Ba’al Shem Tov and the mysticism of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria. Walk through the Valley of Hinnim described in Talmudic sources as the “Gates of Hell”. Return to your hotel for dinner. Stroll through the streets of “Me’ah Sha’arim”, one of the oldest neighborhoods of Jerusalem mainly populated by Haredi Jews. Meet a Hasidic Sage and learn about Hasidic mysticism. Overnight in Jerusalem.
Day 9: JERUSALEM Around the Temple Mount B/D
Breakfast at your hotel. Enter the Old City of Jerusalem through Jaffa Gate and visit the Anglican Church/Synagogue. Here you will meet the representative of the Jewish Messianic community who will give you a short lecture on Mysticism in Messianic Judaism. Visit the Hurva Synagogue, originally built by Rabbi Judah He-Hasid. Experience the special energy at the Western Wall (the Kotel), followed by a visit to the Temple Mount where the Jewish Temple\’s Holy of Holiest once stood. Visit the traditional burial site of the Biblical Hebrew prophet Samuel followed by a visit to the yeshiva (school for boys) which was constructed on this site, the ancient Crusader compound, the spring of Hannah, the mother of prophet Samuel and the Holy Figure tree. Enjoy the panoramic view of Bet El Mountains. Return to your hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
DAY 10: JERUSALEM/TEL AVIV B
Breakfast at your hotel then transfer to the airport for departure.
Tours are based on a minimum of 20 participants, but can be customized for individuals based on their specific requests.
LAND TOUR INCLUDES
All airport transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary
Service of an English speaking local guides
Hotel Accommodation based on double occupancy
Meals as specified (B-Breakfast; L-Lunch; D-Dinner)
Entrance fees to the monuments
Airfare, taxes, lunches, insurance, gratuities