High Ways of Torah – Parashat Ki Tisa

High Ways of Torah’s goal is to introduce readers, based on explicit references, and textual connections, to places in the Land of Israel with which they might not be familiar, as well as re-acquaint readers with better-known towns. Please see this map ( for the locations of the places mentioned.

Towards the end of Parashat Ki Tisa, after the incident of the Golden Calf, the Torah enumerates various laws related to sacrificial animals, as well as observance of the three pilgrimage festivals of Pesach, Shavu’ot, and Sukkot. The Torah rarely uses the term “Pesach” to refer to Passover, but rather either Chag HaMatzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread) or Chag HaAviv (Festival of Spring). As Exodus 34:18 states: “You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread – eating unleavened bread for seven days, as I have commanded you – at the set time of the month of Aviv (spring/אָבִיב), for in the month of Aviv you went forth from Egypt.”

There are three towns in Israel which have the word aviv in their names:

1) Avivim אביבים (blue on the map) – Located on the Lebanese border in the eastern Galilee, nearly due north from Safed, Avivim (plural of aviv) was established for the second time in 1963, after the 1958 attempt failed. It was settled mainly by immigrants from Morocco. In May 1970, nine children and three adults were killed by Palestinian terrorists from the  Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as they were on their way to school in northern Israel. In January 2014, a survivor of the massacre, 52-year-old Leah Revivo, died of an infection caused by a piece of shrapnel lodged in her head. Today, many of Avivim’s residents support themselves through agriculture.

2) Kefar Aviv כפר אביב (red on the map) – Originally called Kefar HaYe’or/כפר היאור (Nile Village) by its Egyptian immigrant founders, Kefar Aviv (Spring Village) was established in 1951. It is located between Ashdod and Yavneh, near B’nei Darom Junction. Since there was no river anywhere near their village, they changed the name to Kefar Aviv, owing to its connection to the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 34:18): “…for in the month of Aviv you went forth from Egypt.” While some residents tend the chicken coop, or grow vegetables and flowers, most earn their livelihood outside the town.

3) Tel Aviv תל אביב (green on the map) – The second-largest metropolitan area in Israel (Jerusalem is first), Tel Aviv began as a small Jewish neighborhood in 1909, known as Achuzat Bayit. Tel Aviv’s name comes from a verse from Ezekiel 3:15: “And I came to the exile community that dwelt in Tel Aviv by the Kevar Canal, and I remained where they dwelt…” Tel Aviv was not formally named for the Tel Aviv mentioned in Ezekiel, however. Its name is based on the combination of old (a tel is an ancient hill upon which many civilizations build cities, thus artificially raising its level) and new (aviv = spring). The name of the city is really based on a connection to the seminal book published by Zionism’s founder, Theodor Herzl – Altneuland (Old-New Land).

During the course of its over 100 years of existence, Tel Aviv has become a center of culture and finance, and hosts A-list names in entertainment. It is the home of hundreds of popular bars and restaurants, and boasts an exciting nightlife. In the north of the city is Tel Aviv University, and Bar-Ilan University is just east, in Ramat Gan. In 2003, UNESCO declared Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus buildings in its White City a World Heritage Site.

See you next week, as we continue to travel the land, exploring the High Ways of Torah. Until then, as God told Abraham in Genesis 13, “Up, walk about the land, through its length and its breadth, for I give it to you.”

Many insights are based on Mapat Shabbat/מפת שבת, by Amos Safrai [Jerusalem: Eliner Library, 2012].

About the Author
Rabbi Aryeh A. Leifert is originally from Teaneck, New Jersey. He served as an Assistant Rabbi and Judaics Studies principal in San Antonio, Texas from 2006-2009. In 2009, he moved to Israel with his family, where he works as a licensed tour guide for individuals, couples, families of all ages, groups, schools, and religious institutions. He also offers Virtual Tours of Israel through the internet. He may be reached via his website,
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