Mt. Sinai is mentioned in the bible as the site where Moses receives the 10 commandments and speaks with god through the burning bush. Where is it though? That has always been an interesting debate.
There are a few possibilities mentioned over the years, 2 of them are in the Sinai desert in Egypt. Recently I discovered that there is an additional option that is in Israel, in the southern Negev desert, in a cl
osed military area that is almost impossible to get to. The area opens to the public only 3 times a year.
The destination was Mt. Karkom. So, naturally I had put this off. You all know how incredibly busy I am. However, fate has a funny way of getting us where we need to go. I had heard of Shirin Ben Jacob through a friend and have always wanted to meet him. A Facebook publication of his drew my attention – he was organizing a group to hike for 4 days in the desert to this exact spot!!! Surprisingly, I asked to join and was accepted.
We started at Mt. Ramon and hiked for 4 days and 3 nights (sleeping in tents in the desert). Along the way we climbed Mt. Ido, Mt. Arif, Mt. Hispas and finally – Mt. Karkom. Mt. Karkom has been the center for human worship in this region for tens of thousands of years and contains on it 40-42 thousand Geoglyphs (rock carvings). In addition, there is one cave on its top that shows signs of a human living in it for a period of time 3200 years ago (Moses’s time). One of the Geoglyphs found there has 2 tablets with 10 boxes on it (10 commandments???) and another a bush (burning bush???) and both date 3200 years ago (again, Moses’s time).
Oh. and there is a glowing phenomenon that may explain the burning bush… and last but not least, there is an altar at the bottom made from 12 massive unchiseled pieces of stone, perhaps where the Israelites wait on Moses and sacrifice in his absence to the golden calf. These pieces of information, along the fact that the Israelites led by Moses would have journeyed through this exact area on their way from Egypt led Prof. Emanuel Anati to claim that Mt. Karkom is in fact Mt. Sinai. After visiting the site, I must say I think he may be right. Take a look at the pics and see for yourselves what we saw.
A great thank you to Shirin Ben Jacob that led us and taught me so much on these 4 days. It was a true pleasure and I am confident I will join his groups again. Also, thank you to Doron Stein, some of the pics here were taken by him.