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Monday, September 1, 2008

Kever Rachel--Rachel's Tomb

I take advantage of the monthly Shiloh bus to Kever Rachel when I can, even though it's not all that a pleasant experience.

The road from Jerusalem to Kever Rachel, maybe a mile in length, has been walled in, so you can't see the gorgeous views. For years years already, we are forced by the Israeli Government to travel in a bullet-proof bus. Frequently, desperate hitchhikers clamour into the bus at the "Jerusalem border," joining us in the final leg of the trip.

And then we get to the cement-covered structure, yes, as if we're all buried together with her in a tomb. Sometimes it's unbearably crowded, so unpleasant I wonder why I even bothered going. I'm not the "tomb type" of person. I don't feel the connection to all the holy dead. Fighting over positions close enough to "touch it" is a turn-off.

So, why have I been going? Honestly, two reasons. One is that I remember Kever Rachel from 39 years ago, when it was a much more open and pleasant place. Then I did feel something. And two is that not long ago, we Jews were fighting for access to the tomb, and we were told that there must be lots of visitors or it will be "taken away" like her son's Kever Yosef, Joseph's Tomb in Shechem.

Now, there was a government announcement that Kefer Rachel would be accessible by any private car. Let's see what happens. But they didn't say they'd be taking down the walls...

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