Beliefnet
Feiler Faster

A blogger reports from the top of Jebel Musa in the Sinai.

Found a spot and zipped ourselves up to get away from the cold. From inside the bag, we could hear the Nigerians singing. We could hear the Jewish Rabbi chanting. We could hear the Muslims praying. And we could hear the Bedouin man selling “Black rock” over and over. It was a symphony. But a strangely eery sypmphony, sung with so much soul. After a while, I peeked out and saw that the light was coming, so we jumped up and found a panoramic spot to watch the sun come up. The full moon was setting just as the sun came up. It was last friday, the vernal equinox, and good Friday, and the full moon… all at once. We stayed at the top as long as possible until our guide, Sobe, came and found us. Took the 3000 step path down. Knees were in pain, but I felt strange inside mostly.
I have since been searching the internet for other people’s accounts of their trip and I found one description which describes the experience much better than I can. Bruce Feiler says, “I realized that my trip had begun to affect me some place deep in my body. It wasn’t my head, or my heart. It wasn’t even my feet, though there occasionally. It was someplace so new to me that I couldn’t locate it at first, or give it a name. It was a feeling of gravity. A feeling that I wanted to take off all my clothes and lie face down on the soil. I recalled my grandmother’s funeral and the gulping ache I felt when they tossed a handful of soil on her coffin: “From ashes to ashes, from dust to dust.” Not until that car ride, staring at that soil, did I fully understand what that phrase meant. Adam had been made from dust; his name is derived from the word adama, earth. “For dust you are,” God says to Adam, “and to dust you shall return.” Here was the source of that soil, I realized, and at that moment I had to resist the temptation to leap out and touch it.”

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