Monday, December 6, 2010

What's The Attraction of Rachel's Tomb?

Over forty years ago, I made a point of going to Kever Rachel and the Ma'arat HaMachpela (Tomb of the Patriarch's) before leaving Israel.  I signed up for a day's tour to Bethlehem and Hebron, and I'm not sorry I did it.  It was very special. 

Kever Rachel was particularly beautiful in 1969, on a quiet street, looking like those old pictures.  Today's Kever Rachel is unrecognizable.  It's like looking at a tiny, wrinkled old woman and trying to find the gorgeous bride she once was. 

Last night I caught a few minutes of the medical-comedy series "Nip Tuck."  A very elderly woman had come in to request an extreme make-over so she'd look like the picture her senile husband recogizes as "his wife."  She wanted to look like the picture so her husband would accept her.  I didn't see the end, so I don't know if her scheme worked.

But I was in Kever Rachel today, the eve of Rosh Chodesh Tevet.  It's like a Frankenstein's monster.

It isn't comfortable, and it's noisy, too.  I couldn't concentrate.

I understand that there are many people who do feel a strong spiritual connection to the place, but I have to admit that I'm not one of them.  Tomorrow, G-d willing, I'll be going to pray in nearby Tel Shiloh, where Chana prayed.  The grass isn't greener and the spirit isn't stronger in other holy sites.

Chodesh Tov and Chag Urim Sameach
Have a Good Month and an Enlightened Holiday


Hadassa said...

I still have hopes that when we, G-d willing, celebrate one of our daughter's Bat Mitzva (she was born on yom petirat Rahel Imeinu) at Rachel's Tomb in about three years we won't need a bullet proof vehicle to get in.
We'd also like to be able to sing "veshavu banim ligvulam - the sons [of Israel] have returned to their borders".
That's our connection to Rahel Imeinu.

Batya said...

You don't need a bulletproof vehicle now to get in. Speak to Evelyn Hais about using her room, since the actual "tomb" area can't be controlled.

Hadassa said...

Let's see what happens in a few years. Once upon a time there wasn't a concrete tunnel.

Batya said...

I'm going to try to avoid it.