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Tags - migdal eder
Standing on fulfilled prophecy part I and now waiting for part 2 - The watchtower - Rachel's tomb
Today is January 02nd, 2012 or 07 Tevet 5772, with 3 more days to the 10 Tevet. Rachel's Tomb (Kever Rachel - רחל קבר) was the last visit on the tour agenda on 04th November 2011. As I look back to write, these dots seem to connect - I like connecting dots - especially when the masterpiece forms bit by bit with the Tanakh as a witness!
This was the 09th of November 2011 - It seemed as uncanny as the bus rode down the road with Security fences on either side. The guide's voice announced, ‘We are on our way to Rachel tomb', seemed on level with another question that toyed in my head, ‘Why the security to a religious and historic site?' The answer was the Guide's next sentence, ‘We are at the border of Bethlehem and there is Security here. The fences that you see on either side are that the site has been surrounded by a barrier to separate it from Bethlehem.'
Geographically, this site is located between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and is a very significant historical site for the Jews, Christians and the Muslims. It is believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel, wife of Jacob and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She died giving birth to Benjamin and "Jacob set a pillar upon her grave" (Gen. 35:19). ‘For the Jews, this is an important place of Jewish pilgrimage, especially, Jewish women unable to give birth,' I learnt. I also heard someone in the bus say, ‘Isn't this interesting, we came to the Promised Land; we prayed for the return of Jews back home and now we return via Rachel's Tomb. According to Jewish tradition, it is said that Rachel weeps for her children and that when the Jews were taken into exile, she wept as they passed by her grave on the way to Babylon (Jeremiah 31:11-16).' That sounded poignant indeed.
We got off the bus and were told to separate. There were two sides - one for men and the other for women. I walked into the women's section. There was simple activity - chatter, siddurim being sold and many women meeting ‘thing', etc.. I walked around the place, feeling like something was here, yet couldn't seem to a finger to it. I can't say I prayed, but just left myself ‘void'- like I usually do when I stand on history and am speechless... I turned round, put in a little tzeddaqah into the box and walked out. I found a space for myself and was soon joined by our guide.
I learnt that the site consists of a rock with 11 stones on it, one for each of the 11 sons of Jacob who were alive when Rachel died (at childbirth). Over the centuries, the rock was covered by a dome supported by four arches. The large tomb is now covered by a velvet drape. Today, as the site is very close to the checkpoint from the Palestinian territories into Israel. The original tomb, a rectangular structure with a white dome, has been enclosed inside a fortress, complete with guard tower, soldiers and barbed wire.
I am back home and as I go through the Tour itinerary and the photographs, I realise that the group entered Israel on 04th November when the synagogues around the world had just read the Torah portion, ‘Lech lecha' (Gen 12:1 - 17:27). How amazing is that! The portion begins, ‘Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee...'I don't believe in coincidences, not this one either!
Weeks later, we read ‘VaYishlach' (Gen 32:3 - 36:43)... with Rachel's tomb and the Bible says ‘it still stands even this day'. Wow! Again that ‘void' feeling, to think we actually stood, touched and felt the watchtower enriched in prophecy! I read and re-read Gen 35:20-21, ‘And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.'
The weekly Torah study from www.elshaddaiministries.us seemed to patch in the missing portion of the masterpiece that is yet incomplete and will be brought to an end soon. Migdal Eder -the tower of Eder (flocks) and in Gen 35:20-21, remains for us even today to fulfil history, I see now. The watchtower continues as a reminder as mentioned by Prophet Micah (4:8-9), hinting of Rachel, a woman in labour!
I like this one: According to the Targum in Aramaic by Yonatan, taking both these verses (Genesis 35:20-21 and Micha 4:8-9), here is what it says and is paraphrased as so: ‘He spread His tent beyond Migdal Eder, the place where the King Messiah will reveal Himself in the end days.' And how interesting is this, when we realise that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem!
The story is so intertwined, Travelujah with so much to know - the King's birth here, Israel mourning the death of the lamb bringing sorrow to Bethlehem, Rachel's distress at childbirth, the Migdal Eder (http://hethathasanear.com) and much more, as it really was.. and worth all the time and space for any Bible history/story enthusiast. There is so much, but for now, this is it...
I have visited and traveled the Holy Land, no better description, for pilgrimage, a tour and even for a Bible feast and have yet not had enough. It is so true when people say, 'The Bible comes alive' - every stone talks here!