The photographs of this collection are presented today for the first time on online for Shavuot of 5768. They were taken by one geographic photographer (MW) on a few days' visit to Mount Sinai in November 2004 and include wide and closeup views of features and vistas encountered during a single ascent of the mountain.
For believers, a direct experiencing of Mount Sinai, the place of the giving of the Law, the Jewish Torah, through Moses to the Children of Israel some 50 days after their exodus from Egypt, can call forth spiritual and emotional responses of magnitudes unequalled by any other place or structure on earth except Jerusalem's Mount Zion and Western Wall of the Second Temple.
It is the historic significance of Sinai, taken together with the awe-inspiring structure of the mountain and its surrounding landscape, including the vast plain of encampment of the some 300,000 Children of Israel before the mountain, that has made countless first experiences of it transforming ones indeed.
Many visitors will have known that for the period of the giving of the Law even the ground of approach to the mountain was declared by the great I AM, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to be holy ground, accessible to only Moses and Aaron. Some will also know Mt Sinai (Mount Horeb of the relating scripture) to have been the place of distant refuge for the prophet Elijah, and the place of God's manifesting--as to Moses, in earthquake, fire and direct speech--to Elijah for his final commissions; the anointing of Elisha as his successor, and of the next kings of Israel and Syria.
Whether the Sinai Wilderness and its famed mountain were purpose-designed to help bring the minds of its earliest Jewish refugee sojourners to the end of themselves and draw them towards following the leadings and Law of its maker is a question for individual decision. What is undeniable is that even today an experience of the Sinai and similarly inspiring landscapes often raises such searching questions, against our wills or not.