Ever since her passing, thousands of men, women, and children have journeyed
to the Tomb of Rachel (Kever Rochel) to request her intercession on their behalf. The barren
pray for children. The sick pray for health. The lost and the troubled pray for
release and relief. And no one ever leaves empty-handed. For Emeinu (Our Mother)
always gives her blessings.
Jacob must have known that her resting place would become, like Jerusalem, a
destination for pilgrims. Therefore, the Bible writes, "Over her grave Jacob put
up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day." (Genesis 35:20-21)
According to the Jewish sages, the original monument was a pillar of 13
stones. Each of Jacob's 12 sons placed a stone on Rachel's grave, with Jacob's
stone on top. It remained there, on the side of the road, for hundreds of years.
From the Byzantine period (fifth century C.E.) until the 1800's, Rachel's Tomb
consisted of an open dome. In 1841, Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the Tomb,
constructed an anteroom, and enclosed the dome.
Today, Rachel's Tomb has been surrounded by a building complete with
reinforced concrete barriers and guard towers, but the ancient interior remains
pure and seemingly unaffected by time or technology.
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