The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 2 August 2008 / 1 Av 5768

Tale of Two Tombs

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Before he died at the age of 101 the legendary Jewish philanthropist Sir Moshe Montefiore left instructions to build a small dome on his grave in England as a replica of the dome on Rachel's tomb in Bethlehem and to have dust from her tomb placed inside his burial site.

The reason for this was the special connection that Montefiore had with Rachel's tomb. It was he who secured a building permit from the Turkish sultan and financed the construction of the building at the site of the tomb.

When Jews regained control of the tomb in 1967 improvements were made to accommodate the large number of visitors to the grave, especially on the memorial day of 11 Cheshvan and special times of the year.

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