Love of the Land

For the week ending 14 June 2008 / 11 Sivan 5768

Yad Avshalom Monument or Hand?

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

A visitor to the Mount of Olives cannot help but take notice of an impressive ancient structure called "Yad Avshalom".

Although the simple meaning of yad is a reference to the monument that this rebellious son of King David erected for himself to be remembered by, there is a legend that there was actually a carved hand (yad in Hebrew) atop this structure representing Avshalom's hand. It isn't there anymore, says this legend, because Napoleon fired a bullet which chopped it off. "The hand that rebelled against its father, the king" reportedly declared the great French conqueror, "is hereby cut off."

The only problem with this legend is that Napoleon and his invading army never got past Acco, so it is highly unlikely that he was ever in Jerusalem.

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