The Kever of Rachel.
Our third-holiest site, has been
the scene of prayer and
pilgrimage for more than three
Rachel, the beloved wife of the
third of our Avos, Ya'acov died
in childbirth on the way to
Hevron returning to his family's
So Ya'acov set up a monument over her
lonely grave site so that exiled Jews would
recognize it and pray and be comforted as
they were being led into captivity. Ancient
writings describe the grave marker as 12
stones that represented the 12 tribes of
Israel with one large stone that symbolized
Why did Yaakov bury Rachel
here and not in Me’aras
Ya'acov buried Rachel at this spot along
the road, rather than at the family burial
plot at Me’aras Hamachpela in Chevron,
because he foresaw that his descendants
would pass this site during the forced exile
to Babylon in the year 423 B.C.E.
And then Rachel would pray for their safety
and ultimate return
Changing the Look:
From the Byzantine period until
the 1800's, Rachel's Tomb
consisted of a tiny domed
More Recently …
About 150 years ago, there was a wealthy British Jew names
Sir Moses Montefiore who did many things to help his fellow
Once, he and his wife went to Eretz Yisroel which in those
days was under Turkish rule. He got permission to fix Kever
Rochel. They cleaned it and built a beautiful stone building
over the site. It has a large room where travelers could rest
and eat something, if they were tired or hungry.
In Our Times …
In 1996, the government of Israel built a large
stone building around the site, so that visitors
would be safe.
Even though the outside of Kever Rochel now
looks different, it is still the same holy place
that Jews have been visiting for hundreds of
Day of Mar-Cheshvan
Kever Rochel is most visited on the 11th
of Cheshvan, the day Rochel Imeinu passed
away. Men, women and children come to
daven and touch the velvet cover which
drapes over her grave.
Women who have no children cry to Rochel and ask her to
daven by Hashem. She knows exactly how they feel, because
she too had no children for so many years.
Orphans without parents come to cry by Rochel – for she
died young and left her two children motherless (Yosef was 6
and Binyamin a newborn baby). We can imagine how her
soul prayed to Hashem for her little boys. Now surely she
comes and prays for the Jewish people who come and pour
out their hearts to Hashem.
So many different Jews come to cry and beg her to go before
Hashem. Surely one day soon, Hashem will return us to our
land forever – with Moshiach.