Rakia! Shaa’ma’im! Cielo! Sky!

This morning as I looked out over the tree tops at the steady clear blue first day of summer sky, I felt the great joy of knowing that from today until late September Israel’s daytime sky will be clear blue and unchanging until the rainy season returns.

I do love the stable consistency of the Israeli summer sky but as I finished my morning meditations the line “When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers; the moon and the stars which You have established” (Psalms 8:4) came into my heart and I found myself longing for the variety the sky over Israel offers during the other three seasons of the year.  So profound was my longing that I decided to put up some of my favorite sky photographs on IsraeLightly. 

 According to traditional Jewish teachings the new day begins at night so I have decided to start with night sky photographs.  I chose the following two photos because “The State of Israel is the beginning of our redemption”, (“Medinat Israel He Raysheet Ge’ulatanu”)

Spring Sunset over the Knesset of the State of Israel

Fireworks display at the beginning of Israeli Independence Day

This Winter sunset on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway is one of my favorite sky photos.  I was running up to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv at 110 KPH (almost 70 MPH) and even though the sunset took my breath away I wasn’t in a position to safely stop to take the photo.   So credit for this amazing photograph goes to my partner Jay.

  

This full moon of the Hebrew month of Mar Heshvan (late October 2010) is over the Old City of Jerusalem.  Mar Heshvan is unusual in that it is the only month that has no holiday.  But since we say a blessing over the full moon that was holiday enough for me!    

The following three photographs were taken at sunrise on 14 Nisan 5769 (8 April 2009) over the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.   The Temple Mount is the site of the ancient Jewish Temple.  However, since the destruction of the Jewish Temple by the Romans, the site has served first as the location of a Roman Pagan Temple and since the late 7th century Common Era (A.D.) it has been known to the Moslems as “Haram Al-Sharif”.  The Golden Dome visible in the foreground is the “Dome of the Rock”.  Sunrise on 14 Nisan 5769 was very important, according to ancient Jewish calculations it was the one day in every 28 years that the sun rises at the exact mark upon which G-d placed it upon creating it.  Jews around the world sing out a series of Psalms and recite a special blessing of thanksgiving to G-d for the creation of the sun.  The sun will rise in exactly this spot in 2037, I hope to be there to photograph it again!       

Last winter I drove down to Tel Aviv with greater frequency than usual.  On one of my early morning “I seriously need to get out of this traffic jam” drives down to Tel Aviv, G-d framed this amazingly beautiful sunrise right into my rearview mirror!  I just love it, when for no reason at all, G-d pours out His Most Majestic gifts for all of us to see!     

This is a view of the late Spring mid-day sky over the Kinnereth (Sea of Galilee) from Korazim (very near to the Christian Mount of Beatitudes).  Korazim is due north from the Kinnereth, in the Upper Galilee, Israel.

When I think of G-d who is in the Desert, the G-d I think of is the Mighty and Merciful G-d of Israel and the desert I think of is the Wilderness of Zin.  This is a view of the mid-morning Fall sky over the Wilderness of Zin as it faces due East towards Jordan.

This is the late afternoon Spring sky over the ancient synagogue of Nevoraya in Ya’ar Biriya in the Northern Galilee.

This is the noon Spring sky over the Apse of a Byzantine Church from the 5th Century Common Era (A.D.) at the Shivta (Sobota) National Park about 20 kilometers east of Sde Boker in the Negev.

And finally the setting sun on a Fall day over the Mediterranean Sea.  As it is written in Psalm 148: 1-5: “Halleluiah! Praise G-d. Praise AdoShem from the sky; Praise Him in the heights! Praise Him, all His  angels, praise Him all His hosts! Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all the stars of light.  Praise Him skies of skies, and the waters that are above the skies.  They will praise the name of AdoShem for He commanded and they were created.”

(All photographs for this blog post are original works by Isa David-Ben-Rafael, except the sunset on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Highway taken by Jay Berman, and are owned by IsraeLightly)
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