Today is the yahrzheit, hillula, (the memorial anniversary of the day of passing) of our dear Rachel Imeinu, one of the mothers of the Jewish people. Sooooooo, just like last year, my daughter and I boarded a bus for an 18 hour trip which encompassed all four holy cities in Israel, and included a visit to Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) to the gravesite of Rachel.
Let's start with a photo journal of our visit to Chevron (Hebron) the gravesite of Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Sara, Rivka, and Leah. As well as Adam and Chava (Eve). Rachel is the only one not buried here, but rather a 30 minute drive away, in Beit Lechem, where she has been visited for 3,000 years!
Our forefathers and mothers were buried in a cave, Marat HaMachpela, over which was built this impressive structure. Within this structure are large tombstones which more or less mark the placement of the actual graves in the cave far below.
Here you can see the grandiosity as one approaches......
......the anticipation builds as we climb the steps to the entrance. I had the special merit of walking these steps with another American Jewish woman that has lived in Israel for five years, but this was her first visit to this special place.....
The main hall is filled with a special air of holiness.
The tombstone of Avraham Aveinu, the Avraham.....taken through bars.
Our guards are allowed to smile....this one is stationed outside the locked doors which lead to the tombstones of Yitzchak (Isaac) and Rivka (Rebecca). Unfortunately there is Jewish access to this room only ten days a year, as it is used as a mosque. Non-Jewish tourists, or possibly Jewish tourists who aren't obviously Jewish (proceed at your own risk!) can enter the mosque somewhere on the other side within the neighborhood of Chevron, though I have no idea if there is any security there.
The tombstone of Yaakov Aveinu (Jacob)
The palms which are said to be growing over the entrance to the cave in which Adam and Chava (Eve) are buried. I had heard about this spot many many times, but never actually had access to it, so this is a first for me! I thought it was in some secret spot, but it's really right in the main hall.
Goodbye, Marat HaMachpela, next stop Beit Lechem (Bethlehem) and the gravesite of our dear Rachel Imeinu, affectionately known as Mama Rachel, stay tuned!
For a few more, and different photos from our trip last year, check out my post here. There's also some photos of Tiberius, which you might enjoy!