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Beit Midrash Series Parashat Hashavua

Where Is Ein Rogel?

Rabbi Yossef Carmel20 Cheshvan 5770
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Our haftara speaks of two coronations that took place for the succession of David Hamelech, one done improperly by Adoniyahu, without his father’s permission, and one for Shlomo, at David’s instruction. Both were held by water, as was customary. Adoniyahu’s took place at Ein (the spring of) Rogel (Melachim I, 1:9); Shlomo’s took place at the Gichon, which is a famous spring in Yerushalayim. Indeed, the Rambam (Melachim 1:11) rules that the kings of the Davidic dynasty are to be anointed only by a spring.
Springs in and around Yerushalayim have a very central place in the description of events at the time that Mashiach comes. Yoel (4:18), Yechezkel (47:1), and Zecharya (14:8) all speak of water flowing out of the Beit Hamikdash. Because of all of this importance of water for spiritual as well as physical reasons in this area, any discovery of a water source is a matter of great excitement for those who love Yerushalayim and its past and future history.
A big problem has perplexed the experts on the geography of Tanach. In the area of Yerushalayim of David Hamelech’s time, there is only one spring, the Gichon that spills out into the Shiloach pool, and this is what is described as the water source at the time of Chizkiyahu (Divrei Hayamim II, 32:30). Ein Rogel is not found in our days, yet it must have been in the same area so central to the history of the time, as Adoniyahu and his party heard the exuberance of the people at Shlomo’s coronation. The best guess is that Ein Rogel ceased functioning as a result of the great earthquake at the time of Uziyahu. Some experts assume that its water can now be found at Bir Iyov, an ancient pool of water not far from the Gichon.
Rashi and the Radak, based on the Targum Yonatan say that Ein Rogel was a place where laundering was done (as one uses the legs (regel) to clean some fabrics). Indeed we find a laundering pool as the meeting place of a prophet and king (Yeshaya 7:3), perhaps suggesting that Ein Rogel lived on in some way.
We will end off with the interesting findings of an engineer named Koznitz, who spent many years researching the Western Wall tunnels. He tried to identify the waters that are most appropriate to use for laundering in this region, which has to do with the pH. His finding was that the Gichon has the most suitable water, which convinced him that what we presently call the Gichon is actually Ein Rogel. His sharp idea and surprising conclusion do not solve the riddle, but they do add even more mystery to the elusive identity of these precious water sources, with all of their historical significance about the past and the future. Let us pray that the spring that serves as a harbinger to the final redemption will be revealed soon and give water on the Temple Mount, reaching and touching the lives of many.
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