There are large swathes of history that have been lost, either through the passage of time or the intentional destruction of human hands. Despite the toll of the ages, there still remains fragments of Jewish heritage that survive through the centuries, to be rescued and rediscovered in later dates. Kosher River Cruises prides itself in giving their guests a chance to explore such preserved heritage. One of the most iconic fragments of Jewish history was found in the caverns of Qumran. This is the story of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Caves at Qumran | (c)

The Texts from Twelve Caves

In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd accidentally discovered a cavern in Qumran, where a trove of scrolls and texts were found housed within clay jars. Seven scrolls were initially found in the initial cavern, which included the Great Isaiah Scroll, several apocryphal books such as the Book of Enoch, and a few rites and texts believed to be part of the Essene sect, who were said to have broken off from the main Jewish religious groups during the Second Temple Period. The advent of the 1948 conflict between the Arab League and the newly-declared state of Israel stopped further exploration, but only temporarily. In the years that followed, more caves and more scrolls were uncovered, which included the Temple Scroll, the New Jerusalem Scroll, various fragments of biblical texts and more apocrypha. The 12th cavern was discovered in 2017, but sadly it was already pillaged as the archeologists uncovered it. However, in the shifting sands and weathered cliffs of the Judean Desert, maybe more caves and scrolls can be uncovered.

Fragments of Antiquity

The Psalms scroll, one of the Dead Sea scrolls. | (c)

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls brought to light many things long thought to be lost in history, providing context and insight to an important period in Judea. While the information found in the scrolls can often be fragmentary, they still gave glimpses into the cultures, customs and writings of our ancestors. To this day, Qumran is a great destination for Jewish trips that seek to capture the essence of uncovering history, piece by piece.