Valentine’s Day is this week, the celebration of love and lovers (did we mention romance?), so to commemorate this festive holiday we went out to find other couples in the Tower of David citadel and the Old City that would inspire some romance or just simply make us smile…
For this special occasion, we wanted to share an historical and .. hysterical story about the power of love, and what it can do when we fall victim to psychopathological impulses.
Of course, you all know of King Herod. There’s no doubt that he was one of the greatest builders in the Land of Israel, perhaps even the greatest in all of history, but even the most gifted people have their flaws…
Besides being a talented and passionate builder, Herod was also power-hungry, paranoid and neurotic.
We won’t go into detail, because there are many different versions of this story. Instead, we’ll tell you the legend told in the Babylonian Talmud. Because of Herod’s desire to establish his rule in Israel and become a “kosher” king, he decided that he had to marry Miriam the Hasmonean, a descendant of the Hasmonean dynasty. According to the legend in the Talmud, Miriam saw this “arrangement” as less than suitable, since one of Herod’s goals in his conquest of Israel was to eliminate all of the Hasmonean dynasty (aka Miriam’s immediate family) besides Miriam herself. As the story goes, Miriam jumps to her death. She jumps only after declaring from the top of the tower that whoever now claims to be of Hasmonean descent is a liar, as she is the last! This final statement was clearly aimed towards Herod, implying that he could never bear the title of a Hasmonean or claim royal descent.
Where is the romance in this legend, you ask yourself? While a healthy relationship or true love is nowhere to be found in this story, there is no lack of obsession (or creepiness). The ending to this story sounds like it comes straight from an episode of Game of Thrones; according to this version, Herod preserved the body of Miriam in honey so he could keep her by his side forever. Whether this was a symbol of eternal love for his wife or a reminder of the defeat of the Hasmonean Dynasty, we will never know…
Meet Marec and Lenka Aldorf from Prague in the Czech Republic. They are newly married since September and are visiting Israel for ten days and having a blast so far. They are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner in a restaurant in the Old City.
The second cute couple we decided to harass are Laura and Rano who met in new York 5 years ago and will soon celebrate 3 years of marriage. Laura is originally from Jerusalem and also a photographer so she kindly accepted the role of being in front of the camera instead of behind it for a change. They are back from the US and looking for a nice apartment in Tel Aviv (yeah… good luck with that). When we asked Rano if Laura is bossy she immediately answered NO! and he obviously agreed with her. LOL
The last couple we found spreading some romantic sparks around were Michal and Liraz Anavi and, you won’t believe it, but they came all the way to Jerusalem from far away Herzliya. They were so cute that we had to ask them if we could shoot their picture for Valentine’s Day and they almost immediately agreed but not before Michal confessed that she is happily married…. to someone else! But it’s okay because her husband knows Liraz who is actually her cousin – LOL. Who cares? These guys are still cute under the umbrella right?
Want to hear more fascinating stories about our city’s incredible and versatile history? You are welcome to visit us at the citadel we have lots of guided tours and different activities in English.
Happy Valentine’s Day