The Temple Institute: Rachel's Tears



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Rachel's Tears

November 9, 2000
© 2000 The Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

Today is the 11th day of Marcheshvan ­ the anniversary of the death of our Matriarch, Rachel. On this day, it is a tradition for the Jewish people to visit the tomb of Rachel, located just a few hundred meters outside the city of Jerusalem, on the way to Bethlehem. The Bible records that this is the spot in which Jacob buried Rachel ­

"And Jacob set a monument upon her grave ­
this is the monument of Rachel’s grave to this day." (Gen. 35:20)

In past years, thousands upon thousands have made the pilgrimage to Rachel’s Tomb on this day. This year, however, the government of Ehud Barak has once again capitulated to Arafat’s terrorism, and instructed the army to close the area and declare it a closed military zone. This is because the Palestinians have threatened that visitors will be met with violence…close by, Palestinian snipers wait in ambush. And so the Israeli response, rather than seeking to insure that Jews have the right to pray at their own holy sites, is to close down Rachel’s Tomb...

Thus, the cycle of “Islamicization” of the Jewish holy sites continues. The Temple Mount, Judaism’s only holy place, remains closed to Jews. Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, never of any interest to the Moslems, was brutally attacked and desecrated, razed to the ground ­ and then declared a Moslem holy site. Yesterday a Palestinian official proclaimed that Rachel’s Tomb, too, is a Moslem tomb and has no connection to the Jewish people.

For some time now it has been felt here in Israel that Rachel’s Tomb is in danger of going the way that Joseph’s Tomb went. Is it noteworthy to anyone, that Jews cannot visit their own holy sites? Rachel’s Tomb is only 500 meters from the tip of Jerusalem. If Barak is afraid to open Rachel’s Tomb today, of all days, on the most important day of the year for visiting the site, will he ever open it? Does he not realize that this type of action plays into the hands of the Palestinian bloodlust? Does he need more proof that the more concessions he makes, and the more he gives into terror and threats, the more that terror is escalated? Will the army soon decide that it is too dangerous to visit the Western Wall, and close that as well?

Perhaps the entire country may soon be declared too dangerous for Jews...

It is not only Rachel that is being held hostage by the Palestinians. It is the entire country. The significance of these events is staggering. These are not isolated incidents that only apply to these particular locations. This is part of an orchestrated, step by step plan. The situation at Rachel’s Tomb today is an actual microcosm of the Jewish people’s struggle to exist in the Land of Israel ­ to exist at all, anywhere. The Palestinians, who keep reiterating how sincerely they wish to return to the negotiating table, continue to fan the flames of violence. Just two days ago a miracle occurred when Palestinian policemen lay in ambush for a schoolbus near the Gush Katif community of Kfar Darom and opened fire on the bus. Fortunately, the bus was bulletproof and the children were unharmed. By why didn’t the international media report that our partners in peace opened fire on a bus full of children?

Faisal Husseini, who holds the portfolio for “Jerusalem affairs” in the Palestinian Authority, said he has "no problem" about the murder of two National Insurance Institute security guards last week, who were murdered in cold blood, since such action is a legitimate expression of protest against the Israeli occupation. Mary Robinson, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, is presently in Israel to investigate the current situation. But after the Palestinians threatened to boycott her, she cancelled her meetings with Jerusalem’s mayor Ehud Olmert and Likud leader Ariel Sharon…but then, do atrocities against Jews even count as human rights violations?

"Thus says the L-rd: A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation, and bitter weeping;
Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted for her children,
For they are not.
Thus says the L-rd: Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears:
For your work shall be rewarded, says the L-rd, and they shall come back again from
The Land of the enemy. And there is hope for your future, says the L-rd ­
And your children shall come back again to their own border."(Jeremiah 31)

Rabbi Chaim Richman

PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 97500



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