Yeshayahu and his son Shear-Yashuv confront Achaz, then king of Yehuda, who was facing an invasion from Aram (Syria) and the northern kingdom of Israel. While Achaz fearfully refers to them as two powerful princes, Yeshayahu tries to assure him that they are only tails of smoking firebrands, meaning two kingdoms on their deathbeds. Therefore, says Yeshayahu, Yehuda has only to trust in Hashem, and nothing to fear. This meeting — a paradigmatic demonstration of faith in God — occurred at the Launderer’s Pool. This pool of water is mentioned two other times in the Bible, and there are various opinions with regard to its exact location. One opinion is a location in the northeast of Yerushalayim, close to today’s Lions’ Gate, where a dam forms a pool carved into a riverbed. Another opinion suggests the pool was in the northwest of the city, where a channel of a riverbed was discovered. While it is unclear if one of these is the pool referred to in this verse, we do know that both of these pools were within the city limits during the time of the Second Temple, and were used by tens of thousands of pilgrims each year for drinking, cleaning and purification in preparation for their visit to the nearby Beit Hamikdash.

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