The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 20 November 2010 / 12 Kislev 5771

Mama Rachel

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Two Yahrzeits were observed in Israel on the 11th day of Marcheshvan, October 19th this year.

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 fifteenth 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 Rachel, 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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