Cave of Machpelah
The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron

The Cave of Machpelah also known in English as the Cave of the Patriarchs and in Hebrew Maarat Hamachpelah or the Cave of the double rooms is located in Hebron in the Judean Mountains.  It is considered one of the holiest of all Jewish sites marking the burial site and the three Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with their wives Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. Rachel is buried on a different site near Bethlehem.

After the Six Day War of 1,967 the Jews returned to the site and built a Synagogue over the site where Isaac and Rebecca are buried.

We recently celebrated our great-grandson's Brith Milah
at the Maarat Hamachpelah

Abraham Purchased the Land

Over 3,700 years ago this area was purchased by Abraham Avinu (Our Father). There is a double cave that was a mystery for thousands o years and several years ago archaeologists discovered artifacts dating for more than 30 centuries.

The actual structure that we know today was built by King Herod about 2,000 years ago, during the times of the Second Temple, as a praying site for Jews over the Tombs of the Patriarchs.

Maarat Hamachpelah one of the Holiest Sites in Judaism
Located in Hebron

Intact after 2,000 years

Despite the many occupations, the building as we see it today has survived. The Byzantines and Crusaders used it as a Church, the Mamluks, about 700 years ago, transformed it to a mosque and prohibited the entrance of Jews.

Then in 1,967 when the area was liberated by the Israel Defense Forces, the Jews gained access again, although with many obstacles since the site is ruled by the Muslim Waqf or religious trust. Over 300,000 people visit the Maarat Hamachpelah every year.

Mosaic in the Cave of Machpelah from the time of the Mamluks

Brief History

According to the Book of Genesis Sarah died at the age of 127 and Abraham that was tending to his business elsewhere came to mourn and weep for Sarah. He then asked the Sons of Heth to buy from them the land around the burial site and offered to pay the market price of that time. It is when Abraham purchases the land around the cave of Machpelah at the end of the field.

The burial of Sarah is the first internment mentioned in the Bible, the second one was that of Abraham

Isaac was 180 years old when he died and his sons Jacob and Esau buried him at the same site. There is no record on the Bible about where Isaac’s wife Rebecca and Jacob’s wife Leah were buried, but they appear on the list of those buried in the Machpelah said by Jacob on his final words to his children before he died. In those final words to the children of Israel (Jacob’s second name) he asked to be buried next to his father’s in the Cave of Machpelah.

As we all know Jacob died in Egypt and Joseph, his son had him embalmed by his physicians. He was buried much later when the Children of Israel returned to the Holy Land.

For the schedule of visiting hours, call

From Abroad +972-52-429-5554
While in israel 052-429-5554

Images are courtesy of wikimedia commons

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