The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 7 December 2002 / 2 Tevet 5763

"Mama Ruchel"

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Two Yahrzeits were observed in Israel on the 11th day of Marcheshvan (October 17th).

Traditional Jews flocked to the Bethlehem tomb of the Matriarch Rachel to pray there on the anniversary of her passing just as she entered Eretz Yisrael.

The secular media, however, focused on another Yahrzeit, the seventh anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

There is an interesting historical anecdote linking these two. Back in 1995 two Knesset Members met with Rabin concerning plans for turning over the Rachel Tomb area to the Palestinians. While Hanan Porat was stressing the security and nationalistic ramifications of such a move, Menachem Porush stood up, approached Rabin, embraced him and burst into tears, sobbing and shouting. "It is Mama Ruchel, how can you give away her grave?"

Rabin was sufficiently moved to reexamine the issue and to decide to retain Israeli control over this sacred site. A few months later he was assassinated - on the eve of Rachel's passing.

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