On the Israel Trail: A love letter to Israel

Some people complete the trail a bit at a time over a period of years; others, like Moss and her husband and son, hike the entire trail in one go.

ON THE Israel Trail (photo credit: AMICHAI SUSSMAN)
ON THE Israel Trail
(photo credit: AMICHAI SUSSMAN)
In 2009, life coach, psychotherapist and Jerusalem resident Tzippi Moss took on a goal many Israelis, especially those who recently completed their army service, share – to hike all 1,000 kilometers of the Israel Trail, from the northern border with Lebanon to Eilat in the South.
Some people complete the trail a bit at a time over a period of years; others, like Moss and her husband and son, hike the entire trail in one go.
Moss calls Angels & Tahina: 18 Lessons From Hiking The Israel Trail, the book she created from the experience, “my love letter to Israel.... Each chapter is organized around a specific life lesson, a treasure that I received, inspired primarily by folks I met along the way.”
Some of the lessons, such as those found in the chapter titled “Invest in Your Gear,” are practical. Moss details the importance of acquiring quality footwear and backpacks before undertaking a hike.
She also ruminates about the way trash, spotted on the trail, is a blight on the face of Mother Nature.
“When I returned home,” she writes, “I swore off buying plastic disposables and bottled water. I’d seen far too many of both mar the landscape. It was a tiny gesture, almost insignificant in scope. But at least in that one small area, I’m doing my best to invest in this fragile earth.”
Other chapters, like the one Moss titled “Open Your Eyes,” are more lyrical. In this chapter, Moss weaves pragmatic observations, Jewish wisdom, anecdotes and personal insights together to create a metaphorical reflection on the concept of seeing.
Asked why the book was completed 10 years after the hike itself, Moss responds thoughtfully, “While the trail took us a bit more than two months, the writing of the book was a journey in itself. I’ve never written a book, and thus the weaving together of the different lessons was a huge challenge; and – true to two of the book’s lessons – I had to find my own pace and know when to rest.
“There were long periods in which I put the book aside, which were followed by endless edits. Evidently I needed to let the lessons slowly simmer until it all came together.”
Some readers will most enjoy the geography covered in Angels & Tahina. Perhaps educated by her tour guide husband, Moss doesn’t skimp on including lavish descriptions of the places her feet took her.
Others, who may never set foot on the Israel Trail themselves, can derive much value from the contemplative prose of a therapist who took 10 years to let the lessons of the trail mature within herself.
Toward the end of the book, in the chapter titled “You’re Being Watched Over,” Moss wrote, “[W]henever I feel lost, confused or in doubt, I recall the feeling I frequently had while hiking: the feeling that I’m protected and being watched over. While I need to do my part, ultimately it’s this divine power that helps me complete anything: a relationship, a creative endeavor, a journey.”
Moss called her book a “love letter to Israel.”
It is also a love letter to the human soul.