This post’s initiation came about when I asked my oldest daughter Elaine what I should write about next. Her answer, “Climbing Mt Sinai,” immediately prompted a happy conversation and reminiscence about an incredible journey for us.
In fact, as there has been an ongoing debate about the question: Where is the real Mt Sinai? There has been so much speculation throughout the millennia that no one seems to know for sure. The question of “where” seems of little relevance, but “what” occurred was a world-changing event. Throughout time, Climbing Mt Sinai has been an important, spiritual journey for many.
My personal Impressions climbing Mt. Sinai
The night sky
I must admit, when I think of climbing Mt Sinai, my first and foremost recollection is of the night sky. In all honesty, I don’t remember ever seeing so many stars, planets, and constellations before. The sky was alive with its twinkling brilliance against the stark blackness and was engraved upon my memory as I was completely drawn into its brilliance and magic.
Without a doubt, most of us have become accustomed to the washed-out night sky caused by overused, poorly focused, and unnecessary city lights. That said, there is an astounding opportunity to see the truly spectacular Universe we live in, but it does take some effort on our part. Furthermore, when I looked at my surroundings, I could only imagine the world these ancient people lived in and believe that it was a better place in so many ways.
An historical and important pilgrimage for many climbing Mt Sinai
Along with my younger daughter Ali, Elaine and I hiked the trail to the top of the “traditional” site of Mount Sinai. This Mount Sinai is in the south-central part of the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. The mountain today is called Jebel Musa (“the mountain of Moses”), and it rises to an elevation of 7,497 feet above sea level at its summit. Secondly, it is a crucial spiritual site for Christians, Jews, and Muslims alike. Resulting as a consequence of Mt. Sinai being the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Ultimately, these are a set of biblical principles and laws relating to ethics and worship that have played a fundamental role in these religions throughout time.
You will also find St. Catherine’s Monastery, which was constructed at the northern foot of Mount Sinai in AD 530. Additionally, you will find a Christian chapel and an Islamic Mosque when you reach the mountain’s peak. Furthermore, the ancient library at Jebel Musa was Codex Sinaiticus’s source, one of the major Greek texts used to aid in Bible translation.
Which is better Sunrise or Sunset when you are climbing Mt Sinai?
While the peoples’ choice of climbing Mt Sinai is most often to view the sunrise, our arrival timing meant we were to hike up during the afternoon to watch the sunset. Subsequently, we then descended the trail after dark. All in all, this added to our good fortune of viewing the impressive night sky from the trail.
Later in the night, as we were following the trail down the mountain, I opted to take a camel taxi part of the way down. I found that I was so distracted by the brilliant sky that it seemed safer than stumbling over rocks and uneven ground. To be sure, the camel was much more sure-footed than I was. At the same time, I enjoyed the views even more since I no longer had to keep a constant eye on the ground.
My second most interesting observation
Yet another interesting observation on this trek was the camel driver. Regretfully, I don’t remember his name, but he was knowledgeable about the area and shared it enthusiastically. Furthermore, his skills with language and communication were precise and clear. As my final point, he was so intelligent that I couldn’t help wondering about our personal place in this world and how we end up where we are and maybe a bigger question, why?
An end note on Where is the real Mt. Sinai?
To sum it up, In Galatians 4:25, Paul mentions “Mount Sinai in Arabia.” It’s good to keep in mind that “Arabia” in the ancient world was not “Saudi Arabia” in the modern world. The biblical term Arabia covers a vast area, including what we now call Saudi Arabia and the Sinai Peninsula. That said, who knows, perhaps this is the True Mt. Sinai. Regardless, it is a spectacular climb and a visually stunning journey.