Here is the English abstract of Dr. Mohsen Sharfaei's presentation in the 2nd pre-con meeting of the conference “Theology of Pilgrimage" which was held by Astan Quds Razavi’s Foundation of Islamic Researches on June 14, 2023, at Mashhad, Iran.
Typology of Pilgrimage in Judaism and Jewish Culture
Judaism, alongside Christianity and Islam, places great emphasis on pilgrimage, and from a historical perspective, it is considered a pioneer in this regard. As the holiest religious site of the Jews, Jerusalem is also revered by the other two religions. The tombs of prophets and religious figures such as the tombs of Prophet David on the heights of Mount Zion, Prophet Samuel in northern Jerusalem, and Rachel in the midst of Jerusalem and Bethlehem serve as points of connection between these three divine religions. The complexity and breadth of the realm of pilgrimage in Jewish culture can be categorized from various perspectives. Therefore, the beliefs, intentions, and motivations behind different forms of pilgrimage and various pilgrimage sites are worthy of investigation. For example, pilgrimage sites can be put into three groups: 1. The Jerusalem Temple and the surrounding areas. These pilgrimage sites are of historical significance and are mentioned in the Bible. The resting places of Jewish sages and prophets are also included among them. 2. The tombs of Talmudic and Kabbalah scholars and Rabbis, predominantly located in Galilee. 3. Various sites that emerged in modern times, mostly serving as memorials for sages, scholars, and certain historical events. This paper seeks to explain the various dimensions of pilgrimage within Jewish culture from a descriptive-historical perspective. As historical research reveals, some newer forms of pilgrimage, such as memorials and virtual pilgrimage, have emerged in response to the social and historical conditions of Jews over the last century.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi