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KEVER RACHEL-RACHEL’S TOMB
January 21, 2020, 3:19 pm
Filed under: Kever Rachel, Uncategorized

rachel 1912

rachel today

For thousands of years, Jews have unburdened their hearts to Rachel Imeinu – and had their prayers answers.
The Barren were blessed with children,
The sick were cured,
The single found their soul mate
And the broken-hearted found solace and peace.

Rachel’s Tomb, a site sacred to Jews for many generations,

 

Midrash teaches that Rachel was buried away from “Ma’arat ha-Makhpela” (Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs )  so that the exiles, passing by her tomb, would be able to ask her to pray on their behalf. We noted the possibility that the reference is to the captives’ camp that Nevuzaradan established in the city of Rama close to Rachel’s tomb. The tomb of Rachel is said to be on the Efrat road to the misery of the exiles of Zion. She is said to be always weeping for her children.  Yaakov wanted to bury her in the portion of her son Binyamin, to whom she gave birth before dying. People relate Rachel’s grave to a place of  prayer for the exiles of Zion, she  prays for them The exiles when being force from their homeland it is said they passed by her grave in an organized, mass fashion. So to now we see the returning exiles coming back to the land and praying at here grave again.

Rachel’s Tomb is located in the city of Bethlehem. For centuries, it lay on a deserted roadside, and Rachel’s descendants would come here to pour out their hearts to her—the mother who dwells in a lonely wayside grave in order to be there for her suffering children. Rachel is a continuous source of comfort to her children—praying for her children and eliciting the divine promise of her children’s return to their Promised Land.

According to Midrash, the first person to pray at Rachel’s tomb was her eldest son, Joseph, who was only 7 when his mother died. When he was 17, his brothers sold him into slavery. As he was being carried away to Egypt, he broke away from his captors, ran to his mother’s grave and cried to her: “Mother, my mother who gave birth to me, wake up, arise and see my suffering.” “Do not fear,” he heard his mother answer. “Go with them, and G‑d will be with you.”

The structure on the site, a cube topped by a dome, was built around 1620 by the Ottoman Turks. in 1622  the Turkish governor of Jerusalem, Mohammad Pasha, permitted the Jews to wall off the four pillars that supported the dome and for the first time Rachel’s Tomb became a closed building. This was allowed by the Turkish governor to prevent Arab shepherds from grazing their flocks at the site. ”It was lengthened in 1860 by Sir Moses Montefiore. At the tomb is a rock with eleven stones upon it, one for each of the eleven sons of Jacob who were alive when Rachel died in childbirth. Over the centuries, the rock was covered by a dome supported by four arches. The large tomb is now covered by a velvet drape.

From the fifth century CE until the mid-1800s, Rachel’s tomb was marked by a tiny dome upheld by four beams. In 1841, Sir Moses Montefiore and his wife (who, like Rachel, was childless) added walls to the dome, and added a long room where visitors could find shelter from the weather, rest or have a bite to eat. The image of Rachel’s tomb that has been popularized in art and photos is of this structure.

In 1948, the Jordanians took control of the area and Jews were no longer allowed to pray at the tomb. Until then, Rachel’s Tomb had remained in an open area on the side of the road, but at that time, the Arabs built their own cemetery around the tomb, and Bethlehem expanded so that the tomb was now in the center of town.

After Israel’s Six-Day War victory in 1967, the tomb was reopened to Rachel’s children. For the next 30 years, Jews frequented it, making the short drive from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, praying at the site. A popular song of the time promised: “Your sons have come back to you, Mother Rachel, at their head Benjamin and Joseph . . . We will never go away from here again, Rachel.”