Jacob Joshua Falk was home studying Talmud when a nearby gunpowder factory exploded. Trapped beneath debris with no escape route in sight, the 22-year-old Pole made a vow to God: if saved, he would study Talmud diligently. He immediately spied a clearing and crawled out of the rubble only to find that his entire family had been killed.
In 1947, a young Bedouin scrounging around some caves about 15 miles from Jerusalem came across some sealed clay urns and unearthed one of the most important archeological discoveries of the century -- the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls are 2,000-year-old fragments of Hebrew manuscripts written on parchment, leather and copper. Some are transcriptions of Torah portions, others contain commentaries on the Torah, and still others contain records of a separatist Jewish sect in the mid-Second Temple era that established itself high on the hills of Qumran, where the scrolls were found.