Biblical Tours here in Israel can be very confusing. Guides love to plague us with doubt about the legitimacy of the names and locations of places. Today, I went on a tour which included Nebi Samuel, which many people consider to be Shmuel Hanavi's grave and post-Shiloh home town.
Why don't Jews celebrate the return of Jewish life to our historic HomeLand?
The guide had me totally confused by the time we left. Yes, it has a long, Biblical tradition of being a place of prayer, but if it's really where Samuel The Prophet lived and died? Good question.
Even now, a few hours later, checking my notes, nothing makes sense. We also heard the reasons why the traditional Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb can't be in Bethlehem. The location doesn't jive with the north of Jerusalem location of Rachel's death described in the Bible. In addition many Jewish Bible scholars find it peculiar that the mother of Benjamin and grandmother of Efrayim and Menashe could be buried in Judah's territory. The "Efrata," "to Efrat," could be referring to Efrayim, even though Efrayim wasn't yet born, and the tribes certainly hadn't been allocated land. And going back to Samuel, his father Elkana, was known as an Efrati, one from Efrayim. There is a location between Jerusalem and Shiloh, which the Arabs consider, Kubar Bnai Yisrael, Jewish Grave.
At least there's no doubt about Shiloh. There's a continuous tradition that Shiloh is here, and the archeological studies have reiforced and proven it. That's part of the absurdity about the lack of support and enthusiasm by many Israelis for Jewish life in Shiloh. I don't understand it. Our history as a Jewish Nation began here. Today in Jerusalem, there's a Liberty Bell Garden, named after the Liberty Bell of American Revolution fame. Why don't Jews, here and all over the world celebrate the return of Jewish life to our historic HomeLand?