Love of the Land

For the week ending 19 June 2010 / 6 Tammuz 5770

Maaleh Adumim Setting the Record Straight

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In our Beha'alotcha column we mentioned the source of the name given to this thriving suburb of Jerusalem with its red colored earth.

A resident of that community wrote us that "it is a very nice place to live" and "we have all kinds of Jews living together and showing a lot of respect for one another."

Although it may take some time to take him up on his invitation to "visit and see the red earth and meet some really great people", we certainly agree with his argument that there should be no controversy surrounding Maaleh Adumim because "the Jewish People have the right to build in our Land."

In a subsequent correspondence from Andy Luterman he calls attention to the reason we cited for the name which he claims is from an Arab source. (We relied on what the eminent historian Zev Vilnai wrote in his "Agadat Yisrael" without carefully checking his source, and we regret our oversight.) Instead of writing that the red color of Maaleh Adumim earth "stems from the large amount of blood which was shed by robbers who attacked pilgrims and travelers on their way to Yerushalayim", says our reader, we should have noted that this name appears twice in the Book of Joshua in reference to the boundaries of the Tribes, and we might have also referred to the tradition that on Yom Kippur the goat for Azazel was led out to somewhere near Maaleh Adumim.

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