Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Renewing the Ancient TOMB of RACHEL

I had the opportunity to visit the Tomb of Rachel today. Rachel, the second-but-favored wife of the patriarch Jacob, was buried on the road to Efrat in Bethlehem. Although the other patriarchs and matriarchs were buried in Me'arat HaMachpela, Rachel died in childbirth along the way to his father's home in Hebron, and Rachel's husband and his sons buried her in an accessible location on the road.
For the past 4000 years, Jews from the world over have traveled this road to pray at the burial place of our Matriarch Rachel. They have shared their deepest hopes and prayers with the woman who was at first barren, and then merited to be called the Mother of the Jewish people.
When I arrived at Kever Rachel, I was surprised to see all the construction underway.
A new synagogue is being built in the northern most part of the Rachel's Tomb complex, and the inner area by Rachel's memorial is being outfitted with real air conditioning.
Who would imagine that this ancient structure, although renovated throughout the centuries, would receive such modern conveniences.
A make-shift ceiling was put above the place of worship so that the stones, being worked on above, would not collapse on someone's head, G-d forbid.
Work continued as men prayed on one side of a temporary wall and women prayed on the other.
While many people say that Rachel's Tomb should not be changed, that the intimacy and the warmth (literally) of the place should be maintained, I feel that Mama Rachel would be the first one to say, "Make my children comfortable."
Visit Kever Rachel, your great-great-grandmother is waiting for your visit.

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