Grave of Meir Baal Haness
The paths of destiny are mysterious: one of the holiest and best-known sites in the Jewish world is the tomb of a tanna about who very little is known. We know neither his origins nor his family, not even his father’s name. We cannot even be sure of his own name, as he is known by his nickname, R. Meir Ba’al ha’Nes (“R. Meir the miracle-worker”)
R. Meir was one of the great scholars of the Mishnah, He supported his teacher R. Skiva in encouraging the tradition of Torah learning after the Bar Kokhba revolt. The midrash says that these two together filled Eretz Yisroel with Torah.
R. Meir who was the leader of the Tiberias community and earned the title “Baal ha-Nes” after saving the community from a band of robbers.
Almost every Jewish home throughout the Diaspora had a R. Meir Ba’al ha-Nes charity box. On happy occasions, in times of illness or worry, or when anticipating a birth, a member of the household would put a few coins in the box and murmur, “God of Meir, answer me.”
Why did the holy tanna R. Meir merit vows and charity contributions in his name, and no other tanna? He merited this because he spoke in Israel’s favor, and we know that Hashem loves those who speak favorably of Israel. In the Talmud, R. Meir said many times that even though Israel does not fulfill God’s will, they are called children. This is why he merited being “the miracle-worker” who performed great wonders.
On the right side of the road at the southern exit from Tiberias going toward Zemah, opposite the Tiberias hot springs.
For many years, the grave of R. Meir was marked by a large, tall stone, recalling that R. Meir was buried upright to wait for the Messiah. Later, two pillars were erected at the site. In 1867, construction began on the present-day monument.