Today marks 18 years since Israel abandoned Joseph's Tomb in Shechem. The Zeberg Real Estate Investment Company and the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar have issued a unique coin on which Joseph's Tomb is embossed on one side, and on the other a similar relief to a coin found from the days of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, with a cluster of grapes and the inscription "You shall yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria."
To prepare the relief, Zeberg photographed Joseph's Tomb on the morning of the day of Yesod in the Counting of the Omer. (The 26th day of the month of Iyar is dedicated to "Joseph the Righteous" in the Omer countdown from Passover to Shavuot. The day is called Yesod sh'bYesod according to the teachings of Kabbalah when the Divine attributes of righteousness and purity embodied by Joseph resonate pervasively and all-encompassingly, making it an especially auspicious time for spiritual efforts, prayers, and resolutions in that area.)
At the meeting, Zeberg introduced the new coin to Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva head Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburgh. The meeting was attended by Rabbi Yossi Elitzur - Rosh Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai and Rabbi Menachem Ben Shachar - graduate of the yeshiva and currently active in leading the return to Joseph's Tomb.
At the meeting, Rabbi Ginsburgh said the abandonment of Joseph's Tomb symbolized fear of taking responsibility, and the currency would awaken the people and bring good hope: "The Hebrew word for coin - matbeah - from the word for 'nature' - teva - requires a king who presses his seal onto reality, imprints his mark on nature," said Rabbi Ginsburgh.
"Yosef is the tzaddik, as it is written, 'The righteous man, in his faith shall live'. The most basic faith is, even when there is difficulty we don't go anywhere; we stay, and believe that it will only grow and grow and grow more and more. The fact that they abandoned Shechem is symbolic. They abandoned this place. They fear responsibility. They fear the spot, and they fear the Arabs as well. Out of fear and reluctance to accept responsibility, they abandoned the place. It is written that sefira of Yesod is also a sense of responsibility. The new coin says we are responsible here for the land."
The rabbi said: "The coin will reach many people and awaken them. All the sorrow and pain will contain some good hope because good hope also contains joy. 'The year and its curses shall cease, the year and its blessings shall begin.' Jews believe, without realism, and believe that the next year for us all will turn over favorably, in the visible and revealed good."
Real estate developer and coin maker Lior Zeberg said: "The new currency was issued with the assistance of illustrator Elisha Katz. After several months of work, the currency goes out to my company's customers, to the donors of Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai, and to the public.
"The verse we chose for the coin is 'You shall yet plant vineyards in the mountains of Samaria' from the Book of Jeremiah, and speaks to our customers, many of whom chose to purchase properties and land in Samaria and share in the fulfillment of the prophecy. I was happy to hear from the Rabbi about the importance of the matter and in the near future we'll issue additional coins according to what was said at the meeting with him."