Written by Zvika Gasner Koheleth, 15-March-2021, Edited 04-March 2022. Photography by Angela Hechtfisch
The Qumran caves
The Qumran caves are an archaeological site located on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea, next to the Kalia beach and the kibbutz carrying the same name. The caves served as a residence for a Jewish settlement of an estimated 100 – 150 personals mainly young single men, of believed to be the Judean Desert sect during the period of about 150 BC till approximately the year 68 AD, 2 years before the 2nd Temple destruction and 5 years till the last Jewish front hold of Masada rebel crushed by the Romans. The Qumran caves are famous for finding the “Dead Sea Scrolls.” These scrolls are mostly made of leather and written in 2nd Temple period Hebrew letters that a Hebrew speaker nowadays will be able to read and comprehend. However, some are written in Older Hebrew or Greek laid on papyrus paper. 929 scripts were found altogether with almost the exact canonical copies of the biblical scripts which we are familiar with its version today, therefore making it the oldest written document of Bible known to mankind (Except for a short “(Jewish)priest blessing” (“Cohen blessing”) made of copper dating back to the 7th century BC found in the city of David in Jerusalem). Other types of scrolls were also found that describe the everyday life, routines, and belief of the local community called “Yahad” society. “Yahad” in Hebrew meaning a collective togetherness group. The 3rd part of scripts found was the of mistics, secrets of the universe and the prophecy of the days before and after the “End of Time” where the life which they believed to be predestined include the battle between the sons of light, which they believe to potray themselves, against the evil forces of sons of the darkness.
The “Yahad” society’s daily routine was extremely strict and consist of a self-contained unit logistically, with no body indulging and any private possessions, performing twice a day baptizing in the special bath that receives their rare desert water from special aqueduct they had built (and still exists) to purify their bodies and soul, following the book of Ezekiel Ch. 36, p 25:
“And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.”
These purifying baths called “Mikveh”, for ritual washing which religious Jews still perform nowadays, were taken from the purification custom held in Jerusalem before entering the House of God on the Temple Mount. Studying and writing the Bible was the prime objective, which included a 24-7 day and night rotating shift that follows the biblical phrase found in the book of Jeshua ch.1:
“This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.”
Years later when the scrolls were discovered, only this book, Jeshua, was discovered fully by its 743 centimeters length, which symbolically been the words of the prophet Jeshua who dealt extensively with the notion of the days after the “End of Time” and the Armageddon collusion.
This 2nd Temple period is the earliest switch from Judaism as (an animal) sacrifice procedure exercise to a religion based upon studying & learning of the holy book. Later this signified the Jewish nation as the “People of the Book”. Formore, one of Judaism’s fundamentals of the formulation of a uniform prayer that was said at a fixed time, an idea that has been preserved to this day, started here in Qumran.
The village of Qumran is also important to Christianity since it is traditionally believed that John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin and mentor was acting in this part of the land on the northwest side of the Dead Sea and was a sub-member of this community for 2 years, and a direct influence of the “baptizing” procedure is clearly to be noticed.