dimanche 12 juin 2016

KADDISH AT THE TOMB OF JOB. RECITING SHEMA AT THE EDGE OF THE EMPTY QUARTER OF ARABIA

KADDISH AT THE TOMB OF JOB. RECITING SHEMA AT THE EDGE OF THE EMPTY QUARTER OF ARABIA
The drive up the mountains from Salalah had its own spectacular beauty, a combination of incongruous elements of nature. Imagine a fjord that is empty, now a playground for camels, within a few days would be flowing with water with greenery unlike anywhere in Arabia, during the upcoming Khareef season. (Monsoon)
The dark mist descended quickly, the harsh temperature of the desert dropped, the little car mustered its strength as it chugged up towards the town of Gadu and the tomb of Nabi Ayoub.
Who was Nabi Ayoub?








According to the Islamic tradition, Ayoub was the Jewish prophet JOB. There has been a confusion where he died and where his tomb is, the confusion arising from the fact that Prophet Mohammed had a companion by the similar name, now buried in Turkey. Palestinians and some other Arabs claim to have the tomb, but it cannot be historically correct. Palestine as an Arab entity is quite recent, and they too, like many other Muslim populations, fabricate their history, to garner respect for their connection with ancient prophets.
For me, the tomb up in the mountains in Salalah belongs to the Jewish Prophet. We have considerable evidence to show that these parts were traversed by Jews in antiquity and Judaism thrived long before Islam arrived in mountains.
A Jew from Zhofar? A Jewish prophet in the mountains of Arabia? Remember for the first three thousand years of our existence, we were just as nomadic and just as settled as other populations in the region, long before Islam arrived. The settling of Jews of Cochin a thousand years ago can be traced to trails from Mesopotamia and Yemen.
I am not a learned person when it comes to Bible so I shall leave it to the experts to decide where Job lived, and died.
To me, as I said the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead, I was addressing it to the Prophet Job, and I begged his blessings for all those close to my heart.
A collection of very shabby shops, manned by Bangladeshis, and an abandoned restaurant built with greater hopes for visitors? Omanis do not exploit their holy sites for touristic propaganda and while I was there a couple of Moslems were praying at the tomb. I walked into the compound, a dilapidated and unkempt mosque on the site, with no signs of recent use, on the left, strange to see tropical flowers in bloom, bougainvillea and hibiscus, on the right is the modest building overlooking the mountains.
A Jewish soul rests here!
I thought of my family, especially LBGS, and other people close to my heart, old and new friends.
I said the Kaddish.
Such a privilege and without becoming too emotional, I recited the Shema as well
It felt so good, I felt the presence of our people in this remote region, in touch with our history and also thanked the Omani people for their gentleness.
I went outside, looked around, I imagined a Jewish community living here amidst the mountains and the season of monsoon, when Omani people spoke their own language and practiced their own religion long before Arabic and Islam arrived here. Many people in this area speak a language unrelated to Arabic, as they did before and as they do now, Jabali, the mountain people. Looking at their faces, I imagined how our ancestors might have looked.
It was gratifying to make this ancient connection.
It was a wonderful visit to Salalah, my third in less than five years. It won’t be my last.
I have promised someone that we would come here together!