web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



WE OWN IT

Thousands to Celebrate Shabbat Chayei Sarah in Hebron

Tomorrow, together with literally tens of thousands here in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, we will read in the Torah how Abraham, almost 4,000 years ago, purchased the Caves of Machpela for us, his children.
Jews from across Israel are gathering outside the Cave of the Patriarchs this Shabbat.

Jews from across Israel are gathering outside the Cave of the Patriarchs this Shabbat.
Photo Credit: 2010 illustration image, Hebron.com

A few days ago, speaking to a group of young adults, one of the people asked me what’s my motivation to live in Hebron. My answer contained a few elements.

Usually my first stop on tours is Tel Rumeida, a great place to start. Because this neighborhood is actually ancient Tel Hebron. If Ma’arat HaMachpela is where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried, this is where they lived. Two walls, one 4,500 years old, dated to the era of Noah, and another, 3,700 years old, from the times of Abraham and Sarah, ensconce a stairwell, over 4,000 years old. We are almost 100% sure that our Forefathers walked these stairs.

Today, the stairs reach the only road accessing this neighborhood. Archeologists have explained to us that under that road, at the end of the stone stairs, are probably the Gates to the ancient city of Hebron.

This site is, for me, probably one of the most important places, not only in Hebron, but in all of Israel, and in the world. Why? Tomorrow, together with literally tens of thousands here in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, we will read in the Torah how Abraham, almost 4,000 years ago, purchased the Caves of Machpela for us, his children. TheTorah states twice, specifically, exactly where this transaction occurred, when he paid 400 silver shekels (today valued at $700,000) to Efron the Hittite. That place is, the gates to the city.

Standing with groups, looking at this spot, I tell them that it is very possible, even likely, that this is where Abraham purchased Machpela. And what I always find amazing isn’t so much that Abraham was there then, but that we are still here today. How many people can say, after 4,000 years, this is where they began, and where they continue to live today?

A tent city is erected for the overflow of visitors who couldn't find indoor lodging.

A tent city is erected for the overflow of visitors who couldn’t find indoor lodging.

This is our roots, the roots of Judaism, the roots of Monotheism. Any person, any group of people, any religion that professes a belief in one G-d, this is where it all began. Quite literally, this is the beginning of humanity as we know it today, the beginning of the end of human sacrifice, of a belief in the one and only Creator of the Universe, our G-d. It is difficult to get closer to our roots than at this very place.

Later we visit the actual site of those caves, known as Ma’art HaMachpela. Here groups hear the stories, legends, Biblical and Rabbinic accounts of this place’s sanctity. It is difficult perhaps, to comprehend this is the tomb, not only of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, but also of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. Abraham, it is written, upon discovering these tombs, was able to inhale and smell the unique fragrances of the Garden of Eden.

Here, so it is written, our souls ascend to the world above, after they depart our physical body.

Not the seventh wonder of the world, rather the first wonder of the world.

But perhaps, the most incredible part of the story, again, isn’t then, but today. For this singular place was inaccessible to Jews and Christians for hundreds of years, seven centuries. For seven hundred years no one, not of Moslem faith, was allowed inside the 2,000 year old Herodian monument built on top of the caves.

Only in 1967, following the six-day war and our return home, home to Hebron, were we once again able to visit, pray, identify with our holy relatives, at this very exceptional site.

How many peoples of the world remember what they lost, centuries ago? How many peoples strive, pray, and even die, to return to their roots, their holy sites, the core of their essence? And how many succeed?

But it doesn’t end there. Not too many years ago, January, 1997, most of Hebron was taken from us, abandoned to our enemy. During negotiations, leading to the signing and implementation of the Hebron accords, the Arabs demanded control of Machpela. They have stated, time and again, that should they retain power here, it will again be off-limits to anyone not of the Islamic faith.

True, we had then, and still do, have many disagreements with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. But when it came to Machpela, he said no. The holy place remained under Israeli control. That is why some 800,000 people of all religions, from around the world, can visit here annually.

Again, such talks are underway. But again, a few days, ago, Netanyahu issued a special ‘blessing,’ leading up to ‘A night to honor Hebron’ in the Knesset and this Shabbat.

“It is no coincidence that the government of Israel included the Cave of Machpela in its list of National Heritage Sites. Hebron, like Jerusalem, has the power to unite Israel…My wish for you is that ‘Shabbat Hebron,’ with its thousands of participants, will deepen our affinity to the City of our Forefathers, to our Land and to our heritage.”

Those Jews, who worship three times a day, recite a special blessing, speaking of the resurrection of the dead. Today’s Jewish community, living at Tel Rumeida-Tel Hebron, Beit Hadassah, Beit Romano, the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, worshiping at Ma’arat HaMachpela, the close to one million people who visit Hebron every year, are all living examples of rebirth, resuscitation of the dead.

Who was here? What was here? Who could have possibly imagined that we would ever really come back, and LIVE here again? Who could have dreamt of a night to honor Hebron, in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset? A dream, a dream come true.

We are here: for all of those who lived here and died here, for all those who dreamed but could only dream, and for our grandchildren’s grandchildren, so that they too will be able to be here.

We are but links in a chain, the beginning of which started 4,000 years ago, and the end of which is eternity. This is what will be going through my head tomorrow, celebrating Shabbat Chayei Sarah in Hebron, with tens of thousands from Israel and around the world.

We are here. To stay. Forever.

If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

4 Responses to “Thousands to Celebrate Shabbat Chayei Sarah in Hebron”

  1. Listening to Brooks Violin Concerto as I read this article, curiously appropriate, my thoughts are with Israel.

  2. Michelle Dan El Carr says:

    I was in Hebron many years ago for this Shabbat and it was wonderful to see the place where our patriarchs Sleep. How sad it is that this is now part of the PA.

  3. Yechiel Baum says:

    It is NOT part of the PA.
    Israel has a rule that no Jew to be abandoned to the Arabs and we have the deed that Hebron is ours. No one has the right to give it away at any price!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest News Stories
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.

Hamas murdered a 4 yr old Israeli boy with a rocket launched next to an UNRWA school/shelter for Gazan refugees.

Photo: Rotter.net / Tikonist

5:33pm Shabbat Shalom from Israel. It should be a peaceful Shabbat. 5:28pm Kerem Shalom 5:26 pm Kerem Shalom 5:22pm Nachal Oz 5:13pm Erez, Miflasim 5:13pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot, Erez, Miflasim 5:13pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot 5:02pm Erez, Miflasim 5:02pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot, Erez, Miflasim 5:02pm Gaza perimeter/Sderot 4:04 pm Sdot Negev, Shaar Negev 4:00 pm Sdot Negev, Shaar Negev […]

Living in Israel is an open ticket against intermarriage. Above: MK Tzipi Hotovely and Or Alon at their wedding last year.

If you are worried about your child marrying a non-Jew, and you should be, then move to Israel.

It is believed that this is a photo from the Friday afternoon execution outside a Gazan mosque.

Hamas publicly executed 21 people they accused of collaborating with Israel. Unlike ISIS, they didn’t behead them.

One woman fighter is enough to scare away 72 virgins.

Israel remains a lone outpost for those who know that talking to liars is not a diplomatic solution.

Obama, who is sure the “peace process” will make Hamas safe for democracy, now has crowned himself an expert on radical Islam.

There were soldiers inside the attacked Hebron building, but they managed to get out in time.

On Thursday, the Israel Air Force hit a motorcycle transporting 2 terrorists in Rafah.

Temple University’s SJP claims the pro-Israel Jewish student harassed and provoked them into assaulting him.

The White House has unblocked the weapons shipment to Israel that they had recently blocked.

10:58pm Negev 10:32 pm Eshkol 9:38 pm Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ashkelon Coast 8:47 pm Modiin-Maccabim-Reut, and area. Iron Dome Interception. 8:46 pm Beit El 20:00 pm  Iron Dome downs two rockets over Be’er Sheva; three others explode in open areas. 19:42 pm     Two warnings of rockets in Be’er Sheva, warnings of rockets Hatzerim , site […]

The IDF readies what it does not want unless there is no alternative – a deep ground invasion of Gaza. Hamas also is ready.

If “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” Diaspora Jews are in big trouble.

The security cabinet authorised Thursday the emergency call-up of 10,000 IDF reservists. Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Israel would continue to pursue Hamas leaders anywhere and at any time, and added that the current campaign would “take time.” Ya’alon called on the Israeli public to display patience and strength while the army deals with the […]

More Articles from David Wilder
He was my friend. He was also a doctor. A very good one. He treated both Arabs and Jews. His trauma treatment was legendary in Israeli medical circles. His on-the-spot diagnoses were, after weeks of hospital tests, found to be 100% on the mark.

The agenda of articles appearing 20 years after the Goldstein episode has nothing to do with human rights or suffering.

Netanyahu shaking hands with Arafat in Hebron.

Seventeen years ago today, the ‘Hebron Accords were implemented.

A few days ago Hebron joyfully greeted back the archaeologists.

Ariel Sharon. He had many positions, and many titles. I will remember him as a monster.

Tomorrow, together with literally tens of thousands here in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, we will read in the Torah how Abraham, almost 4,000 years ago, purchased the Caves of Machpela for us, his children.

A few hours after the murder, the Prime Minister issued a directive to allow Jews back into Beit HaMachpela immediately.

People here develop “antennas” which pick up vibrations in the air, and the vibes were definitely there.

The first time was many years ago. I had just concluded explanations about Yeshivat Knesset Yisrael” which arrived in Hebron from Slobodka, in Lithuania in 1924. The Hebron Heritage Museum at Beit Hadassah features an exhibit about this illustrious Torah-learning academy, nicknamed the ‘Hebron Yeshiva,’ which includes a ‘class picture’ from 1928. As I finished […]

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/thousands-to-celebrate-shabbat-chayei-sarah-in-hebron/2013/10/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: