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Tomb of the Patriarchs

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Highlights of the Tomb of the Patriarchs


Known by a number of names including the Al-Haram Al Ibrahimi al Kahalil (the Sanctuary of Ibrahim, the friend), the outside walls of the Machpela cave visible today are at least 2000 years old and were likely constructed by King Herod who also built what today is known as the Western Wall in Jerusalem.  the massive misptue has a 20 meter high wall with the lower part dating from the time of Herod  while the main part was formerly a Crusader ChurchThe Machpela cave is the best kept structure built by Herod still standing and for that reason alone it is of particular significance. Another structural feature of note are the spectacularly painted Crusader ceilings inside the building, very detailed and of high artistic quality. Two minarets, added during the period of the Mareluks, remain. As the place of King David's anointment and the burial of the patriarchs, the sanctuary is regarded as holy to Jews, Christians and Muslim.






The Tomb of the Patriarchs, also called the Machpela Cave is the ancient building housing the graves of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, according to tradition. The oldest mention of the place is in the Bible where Abraham is said to have bought the site for 400 silver shekels as a burial place for his wife Sarah. The Machpela Cave is the second holiest site in Judaism, also rendered holy by Christians as well as Muslims due to their common reverence for the patriarch Abraham. Today the building houses a mosque and a synagogue but have through the ages also been used as a church on two occasions during its turbulent history. It's status is still politically disputed and tensions have surfaced between the Muslims and Jews inhabiting Hebron today, but the site is open to visitors of all three religions. 




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 Closed for visitors on Fridays and Saturdays. Organized tours recommended.




Machpela Cave by Sondra Baras, CFOIC


The great sages of the Jewish People teach that Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpela some 3,700 years ago for the full market price rather than receive it as a gift, so that the nations would never be able to dispute the eternal ownership by the People of Israel. The Cave of Machpelah is the world's most ancient Jewish site and one of the holiest places for the Jewish people. The patriarchs and matriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are all buried in the Cave of Machpelah.  The only one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. The structure was built during the Second Temple Period by King Herod, providing a place for gatherings and Jewish prayers, and till today is a very beloved site of prayer for the Jewish people.


For more information, please contact Sondra@cfoic.com  or click on Christian Friends of Israeli Communities.   







Nearby Places of Interest



Kiryat Arba, the Jewish community of Hebron, Hebron


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