This Passover holiday I have the personal goal of visiting some of the many holy sites that are very close to our home and that I have visited many years ago, but never with my family! We pass the Idra Raba Cave every time we visit Meron, and yet I have never been successful at getting my husband to stop the car for a visit. Until yesterday that is, when this very special historical spot was actually our destination! The Idra Raba Cave can be found on the Tsfat-Meron road, around 10 minutes west of Tsfat, and was discovered by the Ari HaKodesh, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria in the 16th century!
In this cave sometime around 70 CE, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and his 9 students studied the Kabbalistic secrets that were incorporated in the Zohar, especially the part called “Idra Rabba” [the Great Idra]. The Ari HaKadosh and his students also gathered in this spot, and it was here that the Ari also revealed to his students deep and hidden secrets. A stone structure was built over the cave to mark its location and to identify the spot as well as make it accessible.
The view of the Idra Raba, with an adjacent grape orchard, as seen from the street.
Inside the cave are burial sites of what I believe are 8 students of Rebbi Shimon, but I have yet to find conformation on that, will have to check it out with someone who knows!
And of course, since boys will be boys, my son for some reason decided to climb a fence and descend down into the olive grove below, and since mom always encourages exploration and exercise, I took his photo, and minutes later his younger brother joined him as well.
Stay tuned for photos of another holy site just a 15 minute walk from this one......and now I must run to start another day of adventures, chag sameach and wishing everyone a joyful, peaceful Passover.