After centuries of certainty that the site of Mount Sinai was in the Sinai desert in a no-man’s land between Egypt and Israel, an Israeli archaeologist, Emanuel Anati, thoroughly researched the area and in the late 1980s wrote a book called “The Mountain of God” in which he argued that Sinai was really in the Negev in the wilderness of Paran.
After investigating over twenty theories as to the location of Mount Sinai he was sure that history had got the story wrong and the true Sinai was Mount Karkom in Israel in a place strewn with religious relics.
The validity of his argument is now in the hands of the scholars but if it is true there are a number of major historical implications that need to be addressed.
There is a dimension of the problem that speaks to ordinary human beings, Jews and non-Jews alike. It is suggested by a D’var Torah I heard many years ago on the subject of the burial place of Moses.
The Torah insists (Deut. 34) that “no-one knows his burial place unto this day”. The D’var Torah I heard – and remembered – asserted, “Despite the Torah, I can tell you where Moses s buried. He is buried here in our own community where his Torah is neglected and spurned. That’s where Moses is buried – in our own midst”.
In similar fashion I might say that I know where Sinai is. Wherever the Sinai message is known, loved and heeded, that’s where Sinai is located.
Where is Sinai? Wherever we take it seriously.