Why don’t we know the exact location of Mount Sinai, after all if millions of people were there, surely they would have handed down the tradition of the location just like Kivrey Avos or Har Hamoriyah (Bais Hamikdash).

For example, in Pirkei Avos 6,2 Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, “Every day a Heavenly voice goes out from Mount Horeb proclaiming and saying, ‘Woe to humanity for disdaining the Torah!”

  • 1
    After the Shechinah left Mt. Sinai, it was no longer holy. It became just another mountain. As it says in the Torah, sheep could graze on it. Jews generally hand down traditions about places with lasting sanctity, like the ones cited in the question, but not places with mere historical significance. – shmu Jan 27 at 17:36
  • 1
    But surely there is some significance because it says in Chapter 6, Mishnah 2 Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, “Every day a Heavenly voice goes out from Mount Horeb proclaiming and saying, ‘Woe to humanity for disdaining the Torah!’ – Daniel Ross Jan 27 at 17:42
  • Not only that, Eliyahu Hanavi was commanded to go to Mt. Sinai, and receive G-d's Word there. Nevertheless, although it is a significant place, as you say, it has no inherent kedushah. Jews flock to places of kedushah, such as kivrei avos, so they remember where they are. I am not aware of any minhag at any time in history to visit Mt. Sinai. – shmu Jan 27 at 17:53
  • 1
    I recommend you edit your comment into your question post to strengthen it. – msh210 Jan 27 at 17:57
  • I don’t think Kedushah really plays a role because there are various opinions as to where Mordecai and Esther are buried 1 opinion says Israel the other Iran which is based on tradition not purely Kedushah? I recall somewhere in a Gemara that they knew where the twelve stones were at the Jordan etc so again based on tradition. Why no mount Sinai? – Daniel Ross Jan 27 at 18:27

Living Torah, Exodus 3.1

Horeb area

(Ramban on Deuteronomy 1:6). This was the area around Sinai (Exodus 17:6, Deuteronomy 1:6, 4:10, cf. Ben Sirah 48:7). Sinai is thus sometimes referred to as 'the mountain of Horeb' (Exodus 33:6). Others, however, say that Horeb was the lower of the two peaks of Sinai (cf. Ibn Ezra on Deuteronomy 1:6). Most early sources identify Mount Sinai with Jebel Musa or Mount Catherine on the southern Sinai peninsula, a five day journey (200 miles) from Egypt, and some 40 miles from the Red Sea (Ma'asoth Binyamin 24; Masa Rabbi Obadiah Bertenoro 3). According to this, Moses had traveled approximately 100 miles along the west coast of the Gulf of Aqaba. There are some difficulties, with this, however, since this 'Mountain of God' seems to have been on a direct route between Midian and Egypt (Exodus 4:27), and not more than a three day journey (some 120 miles) from where the Israelites lived (Exodus 3:18). On the basis of this, it may be conjectured that Mount Sinai was Jebel Ya'llaq (some 32 miles from the northern end of the Gulf of Suez) or Jebel Sinn Bishr (60 miles due east of Bitter Lakes). Obviously, this question is very important in determining the route of the Exodus.

The area was called Horeb (Chorebh) because of its dryness (Ibn Ezra). See note on Exodus 3:2.

  • 3
    The question is about why there is no traditional identification, not asking where it is based on scholarly research. – רבות מחשבות Jan 27 at 20:45

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .