Today was our monthly, pre-Rosh Chodesh (beginning of Jewish month) visit to Kever Rachel, Rachel's Tomb. Since it's my day off, I was able to go with my neighbors from Shiloh.
So after f2f'ing I took a bus to the Malcha Mall to catch the bus to Kever Rachel. Not so quick, I had to wait for the bus and became mesmerized by the strange images reflected in the bus stop wall.
The bus finally came, and we were off!
It only takes a few minutes to get to the "hole in the wall" which lets us into the "security bubble" of Kever Rachel. That's fine and dandy if there's an armed, armored soldier available to join us on the bus. We had to wait, and wait. OK, we got in. The set-up was changed since my last visit a few months ago. Now we're back to the same old entrance--for both men and women.
Wonderful, we went in.
I said Mincha, then T'hilim. Then it was time to go.
The hand-washing sink at the exit, a requirement of Jewish Law, did not provide water. I asked the yeshiva guys, stationed at a table there, what to do; they said the the sinks in the bathroom are OK and walking down the long corridor afterwards would be no problem. OK, did what they said.
We all waited; we had set with the driver that he should come get us at 5:15. No driver, no bus, no soldiers to let us out. Yes, we were locked in Rachel's Tomb. The driver spoke to one of my neighbors by cellphone and reported that he couldn't find a soldier to go in with him, so he was out of the complex.
We couldn't find a soldier in the building to ask what was going on. We realized that we were locked in a tomb, Rachel's Tomb. Finally a neighbor asked the yeshiva students whom I had asked about the water, and one of them had a key and was able to go out and speak to soldiers who were right outside.
They're doing "more important things;" the bus will come when someone's available.So we waited. Yes, we waited some more. Eventually the bus came, and we began the winding trip back towards the opening. The soldier went out to open the gate, but he didn't. He returned saying that word had come from Kever Rachel that we had left someone. The organizers did a headcount and reported that we were all on the bus. But the soldier didn't believe us. It took a while until he did and finally opened the gate.
B"H, after that it was clear sailing and not only did we get home safely, the driver even took us up the hill!