The bizzare of old meets new

It can be truly bizzare when old things meet new things.

Consider this Shabbat elevator in my hotel in Jerusalem, Israel:

On the outside it looks like a fairly normal elevator – and indeed, for six days of the week it is. You push the button and patiently wait, and soon the elevator will reach your floor and the doors will open.

But on the Sabbath, this elevator does not behave like a normal elevator at all!  For on the Sabbath Days many orthodox Jewish people are prohibited by their religious beliefs from pushing buttons. Therefore, on the Sabbath, this elevator will run continuously for 24 hours, going from the basement to the top floor and then back down again – stopping at each and every floor, where the doors open automatically, regardless of whether anyone gets in or out.

I find it is wonderful that we humans are smart enough to have technology like this. But I also find it amazing and interesting that things like this can be the modern day consequences of ancient religious laws set down thousands of years ago!

By the way, you can find lots of interesting information about Jewish traditions here.

Western Wall

This is the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

TempleWall

A few things struck me when I visited it. First, it was much smaller than I had expected.

Second, it was interesting to look at the various pilgrims and visitors. Some were tourists, like me. Some were extremely pious people for whom this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. And others seemed to be “regulars” who came here often.