Uzi Avner

Shaping a desert ethic. At Rosh Zin in the Negev, a stone dated to c.11,000 B.C.E. was re-erected from its fallen position near its base. Interestingly, the base of this very old sacred stone had been carefully shaped, unlike later masseboth, which are untouched by human tools—perhaps in keeping with prohibitions such as that voiced in Exodus 20:22: “If you make for me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for by wielding your tool upon them you have profaned them.”