Experiencing 'Jacob's Dream' in Beit El
On Jacob's Summit (Pisgat Yaakov) in the town of Beit El in the Binyamin Region, stands a rather unique site.
In the Book of Bereishit (Genesis) the Torah recalls how - during his flight northward from Beersheva to Horon to escape his brother Eisav - the Jewish patriarch Yaakov (Jacob) stopped off for the night on a hilltop. Bereft of all possessions, Yaakov slept under the stars, and that night he had a dream in which he saw angels ascending and descending a ladder into heaven, and during which God promised to protect him in his travels.
Upon rising the next morning, Yaakov named the place "Beit El" - or House of God - and promised that if he completed his journey safely, he would return to offer up a sacrifice in thanksgiving, which he eventually did.
Today, in the modern Jewish town of Beit El, around half an our north of Jerusalem, thousands of visitors flock to the alleged site of "Jacob's Dream" each year.
Beit El's tourism coordinator, Judy Simon, told Arutz Sheva that the famous story draws thousands of visitors to the site on a yearly basis, and helps strengthen the special connection between the people of Israel, their land and their heritage.
The site is "intriguing, stunning and engaging" all at once, she said.
And there is far more to see as well. Hundreds of ancient Jewish burial tombs are scattered throughout the cavernous hillsides, dating as far back as the First and Second Temple periods. There are also three beautiful natural springs for visitors to enjoy.
Simon relates how each year sees visitors from a diverse range of background descend on the site - be they religious, traditional or secular.
"An eight year-old girl once told me during the tour that: 'I feel like I am walking inside the Torah'," she recalls with a smile.
Today (Tuesday), the site will be open until 4pm, and activities include workshops for children, donkey riding, olive oil and bread making, and more.
Entrance costs just 25 NIS for adults (16+) and 20 NIS for children aged 5-16, and covers all activities. Children below the age of 5 enter free of charge.