Tens of Thousands at Rachel's Tomb
Tens of thousands of Jews visited Rachel's Tomb on her yahrzeit on Monday night and continued to flock to the site throughout the day on Tuesday.
Tuesday was the 11th day of Cheshvan, the Yartzheit (anniversary of death) of the biblical matriarch Rachel, whose tomb is located on the road from Bethlehem to Efrata where she died, rather than in Hevron where the other three matriarchs are buried with their husbands.
The Jews prayed at her tomb on their way to the first exile in Babylonia after the Holy Temple's destruction, so that the site symbolizes the pain of exile and the return from exile of the Jewish people. The prophet Jeremiah, in chapter 31, describes her weeping for the exile of her people and G-d's promise that they will return to her.
Rachel, barren for the first years of her marriage to the Patriach Jacob who loved her but had to wait more than seven years to marry her and then was given her sister Leah first, died while giving birth to her second son Benjamin. Women identify with her life story so that the tomb is a site where they come all year to pray for their families. In the women's section, the wedding gown of Navah Appelbaum, murdered by terrorists the night before her wedding, serves as a curtain.
Today the tomb is located within Bethlehem city limits, a few minutes from southern Jerusalem and is protected by high concrete walls. The Egged bus company operated a special service to the tomb from Monday evening to Tuesday evening for the occasion.
Police and paramedics were there to guard the worshipers.
Arutz7 was there and brings you a video documentation of the event.
Photos courtesy of Hadashot 24