Friday, October 23, 2015

Thousands of Jews visit Rachel's Tomb

BLOWBACK: 'Islamic site'? Thousands of Jews pray at Rachel's Tomb. Thousands at site of Jewish matriarch's tomb ahead of day of her passing; UNESCO just recognized site as 'Muslim' (Arutz Sheva).
Early vatikin prayers held at dawn on Friday morning saw thousands of Jews visit Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem, Judea, where the Jewish matriarch is buried.

The special visit comes a day ahead of the day of Rachel's passing, Marcheshvan 11 in the Jewish calendar, which falls this Saturday.

Giving a special poignancy to the prayers is the fact that UNESCO just this Wednesday passed a Palestinian Authority (PA) resolution, listing Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of Machpelah in Hevron - where the rest of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs are buried - as "Muslim sites."

The motion also condemned Israel for excavations near the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and the site of the First and Second Temples.

The historical background on the (traditional) Tomb of Rachel is discussed here. See also this post by Todd Bolen at the Bible Places Blog. I do not claim that there was an historical Rachel or that, if there was, this was her tomb. Her actual tomb, if there was one, may have been somewhere else entirely. But it has been a site of Jewish and Christian pilgrimage since late antiquity. And, sure, it's a Muslim holy site too. Let's share. Background on the unfortunate resolution just passed by UNESCO is here and links.