The Cave of machpela

The Cave of machpela

The Cave of Machpelah is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The cave that our forefather Abraham bought from its previous owner, Ephron the Hittite, wishing to establish a family gravesite, after the death of his wife Sarah.
The name Hebron is based on the Hebrew toot h-b-r meaning “connect”, recalling the cave’s connection with the divine realm.

The name ‘Machpelah’ referred to the fact that couples would be buried within it.

First to be buried there were 1- Adam and Eve, afterwards they where joined by 2- our forefather Abraham, and his wife, our foremother Sarah.
3- Their son our forefather Isaac and his wife, our foremother Rebecca.
4- Their son our forefather Jacob and his wife, our foremother Leah.
The only one who is missing is our foremother Rachel, the other wife of our forefather Jacob who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth.

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Memorial dates:
Sarah – 1 Elul
Isaac – 15 Nissan
Jacob – 15 Tishri

Directions:
Enter through Kiryat Arba. Visits must be arranged with the security forces, at special opening times.
Construction:
Despite the great importance of the cave throughout the Jewish history; we do not know for certain who built the magnificent structure that rises above it. The accepted explanation is that Herod was responsible for the construction.The length of the wall surrounding the structure above the cave is 60 meters (197 feet), its width 34 meters (112 feet), and its height reaches 12 meters (39 feet). Each of the hewn stones is more than one meter high (3.3 feet), and one of them is longer than 7.5 meters (25 feet). According to researchers, for dating the wall all evidence points to the Herodian period and he also may have been responsible for thickening the walls and erecting the tombstones on the upper level of the cave. Over 300,000 people visit Ma'arat HaMachpelah annually. The structure is divided into three rooms: Ohel Avraham, Ohel Yitzhak, and Ohel Ya'akov. Presently Jews have no access to Ohel Yitzhak, the largest room, with the exception of 10 days a year.


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