The view from the gravesite of the great sage, Rebbe Meir Baal HaNess, looking at the city of Tiberius.
It's very quiet out there in blog land, and I at long last have a moment to share with you some photographs from a special and uplifting tour of the Four Holy Cities of Israel that my daughter and I joined on October 27th. This tour, which included interestingly enough, four bus loads of women, and departed from the Holy City of Safed, took place on a very special day, the yarzheit (day of passing) of our beloved mother Rachel. A day especially good for prayer and introspection in the merit of Rachel, and which, in our case included a visit to her gravesite near Bethlehem!
Our first stop, the Holy City of Tiberius, and specifically the gravesite of Rebbe Meir Baal HaNess— a special place indeed, and with a great view of the lovely Lake Tiberius (The Kinneret).
I love the old architectural details on the building.
Our next stop, the Holy City of Hebron, and a visit to the Cave of The Patriachs, Maarat HaMachpela. The cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham, and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, the Patriachs and Matriachs of the Jewish people, are all buried here! The only matriarch missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem, (on the road between Hebron and Jerusalem) where she died in during the birth of Benjamin.
The building itself is an impressive Herodian era structure, and the actual graves are located in a series of subterranean chambers which are not accessible. Rather large tomb stones have been erected within the building over the location of these caves.
Once inside the building, Jews can visit the graves of Abraham, Sarah,Jacob and Leah. And on ten specific days of the year one has access to the graves of Isaac and Rebecca, as this space is otherwise in use as a mosque. (Non-Jewish visitors can enter the site from another entrance and view the same tombs from the other side within the mosque.)
Ahhhh, Abraham.......THE Abraham........the tears flow freely, and even for my young daughter, as we pray in his merit for all of our needs, as a people, as individuals. A feeling that I simply can not describe in words!
And Sarah, for whom I'm named, THE Sarah........truly a gift to visit this special place.
And Jacob, THE Jacob ................
And Leah, THE Leah....................
And outside once again, in a spot which some say is actually physically closer to the actual tombs, a Hassidic man pours out his heart.
Goodbye Hebron, we hope to come back again soon— especially since my young sons have not yet had the experience of visiting this special place. Okay, it's quite a journey from our home in the North, and security-wise a little scary, but we'll do it, as they're now old enough to appreciate it! I don't think my daughter will ever forget her first visit, (or at least her first visit not in a stroller) and I certainly do want my sons to have equally precious memories.
Next stop Rachel's Gravesite, which I'll cover in Part 2. See you there!