Safed is steeped in culture and history, and it is one of the most popular tourist destination. Not only does it allow visitors to see what life was like some centuries ago, but it also provides all of the modern amenities that vacationers expect.
About the City of Safed
Safed, Israel – also spelled Tzfat – is a city located in Israel’s Northern District. It is the highest city in the country, and because of this, it experiences relatively warm summers and cold (with occasional snow) winters. It is considered one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities; the other three are Hebron, Tiberias, and, of course, Jerusalem. Since the 16th century, the city is a center of Kabbalah, which is a term used to describe Jewish mysticism. It is steeped in history and culture and is quickly becoming a prime spot for tourism in the country, particularly among Jewish visitors. The city also offers beautiful scenic views and high-quality resorts.
The Birth of Kabbalah
Some 2,000 years ago, the Roman army occupied and controlled the land of Israel. A rabbi by the name of Shimon Bar Yochai often spoke out against the Roman rule, and eventually, the Romans issued a death decree against him. Shimon along with his son, Elazar, fled and hid in a cave near the town of Peki’in. This is when Rabbi Shimon experienced divine inspiration and was taught many secrets found in the Torah. He wrote them down in a book called the Zohar. The Jewish people believe that learning these secrets strengthens man’s relationship with God and allows man to better understand Him. Once the death decree was revoked, Rabbi Shimon traveled throughout northern Israel teaching the secrets.
The Growth of the City of Safed
During the next 1,000 years, only a few select individuals from each generation were allowed to study Kabbalah. Following the Spanish Expulsion of 1492, when the Spanish brutally murdered some 200,000 Jews from Spain those who were lucky enough to flee fled to Israel – particularly to Safed due to its unique connection to Kabbalah and Rabbi Shimon’s gravesite located on Mount Meron. Rabbi Isaac Luria, otherwise known as the Ari, or “holy lion”, was one of the many Jews who fled to Safed (however from Cairo). He began to teach Kabbalah more readily, and his students further developed those teachings. Today, Kabbalah is studied throughout the Jewish world.
Today, Safed is a very popular tourist location for both Israelis and foreigners alike. It offers a heavenly experience high in the mountains with its clean, fresh air and mystical atmosphere. It is a haven for those of the Jewish faith since it is one of the Four Holy Cities, and scholars have worked hard to preserve the city, which is apparent in its artist quarter, which also boasts many of Israel’s finest artists. It is the place most people will buy the memento they want to keep for the rest of their lives to remind them of their trip to Israel. In Safed visitors will find beautiful synagogues with high ceilings, colorful and ornate decorations, and ancient Torah scrolls. There are a number of luxurious hotels, resorts, and activities to enjoy, especially for history buffs and those studying the history of Judaism.
Safed is one of the most beautiful and historical cities in the whole world, and this is why so many people choose to visit the mystical city of Kabbalah each and every year. Some even claim to have had religious epiphanies when visiting, much like Rabbi Shimon in the cave near the city of Peki’in.