More than 2,000 Jews entered Kever Yosef (Joseph’s Tomb) overnight Wednesday for Selichot (pre-Yom Kippur penitential prayers). The prayer service was organized by the Samaria Regional Council and the Shechem Echad organization, in coordination with the IDF.
The worshipers were from different communities and populations, both secular and haredi.
“This day is certainly a special day, which for us marks the abandoning of Kever Yosef,” Chief Samaria Rabbi, Rav Elyakim Levanon, said. “The fact that we’re returning here today is extremely significant. Here we are, proving on this terrible day, 12 years after the abandonment of Kever Yosef, that we are returning and we control the area. With G-d’s help, our control will increase, without being worried what other nations will say.”
Rav Yisrael Rosen, the Director of the Zomet Institute for Halakha and Technology, explained about the great significance of Joseph’s Tomb for the Jewish people.
“On Sukkot we’ll read the story of Gog Umagog and there it is written that Mount Gerizim is the place that will announce redemption, and that’s why Yosef is buried in such a strategic place,” he said. “We’re here in one of the cities in which Torah was given and a covenant was made with the people of Israel, in Shechem, on Mount Gerizim and on Mount Eval.”
“Just as the Torah was given on Mount Sinai, it has been said that Torah was given a second time in Shechem of all places,” added Rav Rosen. “The return and the praying and saying of Selichot near the grave of Yosef will certainly help us that he will protect us, both in the practical life as well as in the spiritual life.”
“May we all have a full redemption, Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova to the entire people of Israel,” he concluded.