Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ma'arat HaMachpelah


The Israelis national religious weekly "Be'Sheva" is publishing an interesting article today. On page 30 / 31 you can read about the 75 - year - old Itamar Schneeweiss who lives in Kiryat Arba (right next to Hebron). For the past fourty years he has been dealing with the Ma'arat HaMachpelah (the burial place of Avraham Yitzchak, Yaakov, Sarak, Rivka, Lea as well of the first two humans Adam and Eve (Chava)).

Usually the "Olam Yitzchak - Hall of Yitzchak" is closed for the Jews most of the year. The Arabs took over and only allow the Jews to go there on special occasions such as on Chol HaMoed Pessach and Sukkot. I went to the Machpelah last August but only saw the graves of Avraham and Sarah as well as Lea and Yaakov.

However, the graves / tombstones you see are not the real graves. After the forefathers were buried there, one building after the next was built on top of the original caves. Itamar Schneeweiss says that when Herod built the Second Temple in Jerusalem, he build the Heichal (the place of and around the Holy of Holies (Aron HaKodesh) on some remains of the original Mishkan (Tabernacle). It says that most pieces of the Mishkan actually burnt down.

Itamar Schneeweiss states that besides underneath the Second Temple, Herod also put remains of the Mishkan while building another building over the caves. He claims to have discovered for walls of the Mishkan inside the Olam Yitzchak.
Can you imagine that this is true and we would actually able to see remains of the Mishkan the Israelites carried through the desert ? Remains which have faced G - d's Shechinah ?

Here is a video from the Machpelah with the graves of Avraham and Sarah:

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