Thursday, September 24, 2015

The cave of machpelaThe cave of Machpela, Hebron, Israel

The cave of Machpela, Hebron, Israel

The Cave of Machpelah is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The cave that our forefather Abraham bought from its previous owner, Ephron the Hittite, wishing to establish a family grave-site, after the death of his wife Sarah.
The name Hebron is based on the Hebrew toot h-b-r meaning “connect”, recalling the cave’s connection with the divine realm.

The name ‘Machpelah’ referred to the fact that couples would be buried within it.

First to be buried there were 1- Adam and Eve, afterwards they where joined by 2- our forefather Abraham, and his wife, our fore-mother Sarah.
3- Their son our forefather Isaac and his wife, our fore-mother Rebecca.
4- Their son our forefather Jacob and his wife, our fore-mother Leah.
The only one who is missing is our fore-mother Rachel, the other wife of our forefather Jacob who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth.


Memorial dates:
 Sarah – 1 Elul
Isaac – 15 Nissan
Jacob - 15 Tishri
Enter through Kiryat Arba. Visits must be arranged with the security forces, at special opening times. 
Despite the great importance of the cave throughout the Jewish history; we do not know for certain who built the magnificent structure that rises above it. The accepted explanation is that Herod was responsible for the construction.
The length of the wall surrounding the structure above the cave is 60 meters (197 feet), its width 34 meters (112 feet), and its height reaches 12 meters (39 feet). Each of the hewn stones is more than one meter high (3.3 feet), and one of them is longer than 7.5 meters (25 feet). According to researchers, for dating the wall all evidence points to the Herodian period and he also may have been responsible for thickening the walls and erecting the tombstones on the upper level of the cave. Over 300,000 people visit Ma'arat HaMachpelah annually. The structure is divided into three rooms: Ohel Avraham, Ohel Yitzhak, and Ohel Ya'akov. Presently Jews have no access to Ohel Yitzhak, the largest room, with the exception of 10 days a year.

This Map shows the 450 mile journey Abraham's servant made to find Rebekah and contract with her family for her marriage to Isaac (yellow), her journey to Hebron with the servant (red), and Isaac's journey to Hebron to marry her (violet).
The Mosque of Machpelah in Hebron (below, left) is built over the traditional Cave of Machpelah, which Abraham purchased as a burial site. The traditional Tomb of Abraham (below, right) is contained within the mosque.

View Larger Map


Har Hevron - And afterwards Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, which is Hevron

Har Hevron הר חברון
“…and I will cause you to be inhabited as you were before…I will do more good than before; and you will know I am HaShem.“ Yechezk’el 36:11
In the Hevron Hills you will find the Har Hevron settlement Block. 13 settlements are under the Authority of the Har Hevron regional council but others such as Kiryat Arba are not. The rolling hills of south Judea is among the most beautiful land in the world and the Heart of Ancient Israel. It is here you will find the Holy city of…
Hevron חברון 
“And afterwards Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, which is Hevron, in the land of Cana’an. Thus the field with its cave was confirmed as Avraham’s, as an estate for a burial site, from the children of Het,.." B'resheet(Genesis)23:17,18 
The photo below shows the location of the Tomb in Machpelah where the patriarchs rest. King Herod built a fortification around it that has remained until this day.
This is the city where not only are the Patriarchs buried, but where David HaMelech was anointed King over Y’hudah and also here he was anointed king over Yisrael.
Where there were no men, there were 10 women and 40 children. Although Hevron was liberated in 1967 there was no real Jewish community living in it until just after Pesach in 1979 when 10 brave women with a little help, took charge to correct an unjust situation. They gathered their 40 children like chicks under their wings and in the middle of the night passed from Kiryat Arba through the Palestinian occupied areas to Hevron and entered an empty building known as Beit Hadassah. The photo below shows the building.
The women acting in the spirit of Sarah emanu who once told Avraham to his face, 
“Cast out this slave women with her son, for the son of that slave women shall not inherit with my son!”
Indeed, these women saw the rightful inheritance of Hevron and the Land Purchased for Sarah emanu and were not about to let the children of Hagar the slave women have sole possession of it. It came to pass in the morning the soldiers heard singing from the building and found the women and children. The women refused to leave. The building was put under siege by troops who under the Governing authority ordered no food and water be given them. Later the authorities were shamed into providing them food. After holding out for about a year the authorities gave in and permission was granted to build a Jewish community in Hevron.
Today Jewish life has returned to Hevron. Today 300,000 visit Ma’arat HaMachpelah every year. The place where Avraham, Sarah, Yitzchak, Rivkah, Ya’akov, and Le’ah are buried. In Hevron one can hear again the voice of the Bride and the voice of the bridegroom.
About 530 people live here. Like lions guarding the pray they stand on guard for Hevron. Like Sheep among wolves their faith in G-d gives them strength. In 1983 the Shavei Hevron Yeshiva was established in Hevron. At least 250 students study here.      Hevron is about 1,000 meters above Sea level and is 32 Kilometers south of  Jerusalem.
Every year thousands come here for the Jewish festivals and thousands show up every year for the Shabbot of parsha Chayei Sarah. Many who visit here pray at the Avraham Avinu shul.
Truly Hevron today has became a symbol for those who Love all of Eretz Yisrael.
Some have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the sanctification of G-d’s Name.
However this town is growing and being built up for a habitation of G-d’s people according to His covenant with Avraham avinu.
When you come here to visit  say hello to the good souls who live here.


Kiryat Arba קרית ארבע
As for the villages and their surrounding fields; some of the people of Y’hudah lived in Kiryat.Arba and its villages.” Nechemyah (Nehemiah) 11:25

The Torah tells us that Hevron was previously named Kiryat Arba. Thus today Hevron is 5 minutes down the road from Kiryat Arba and can be considered today an extension of it.
Modern Kiryat Arba was established in 1971 and is now home to over 6,000 Jews. It is governed by its own local council and has established Schools, modern Medical facilities a bank and good places to shop and zones for industries and commercial businesses.
Kiryat Arba is a nice city. Jews of all types live here. Israelis and Olim, religious and some non-religious. Everyone gets along. Many work in Jerusalem. Like Hevron the town is about 1,000 meters above sea level making the air fresh, clean and not too hot at night.
    The children are taught well in the Talmud Torah School
Our fathers found Kiryat Arba a good enough place to settle. Maybe you would like to join these souls that are walking in our fathers foot steps. On an adjacent hill on the north side of Kiryat Arba is Ramat Mamreh. Below is a photo of its Yeshiva and a street.
Come have a look what G-d is doing.

Carmel    כרמל
“This is the inheritance of the tribe of Y’hudah…Ma’on, Carmel,…” Y’hoshua(Joshua)15:20,55
Carmel today stands on a Beautiful hill in the eastern Har Hebron region, approximately where ancient Carmel stood. The place where King David proposed Marriage to Avigayil.
Carmel is an agricultural Moshav founded in 1981 and now has about 50 families with about 250 little ones.
It is a warm religious community. There are  care centers to look after preschool children and those who are older go to school in a near by town. One can find a clinic for basic medical needs, a room for those practicing Music and an exercise room for kids and adults. Carmel is proof that the prophetic Word of G-d is true about Jews returning to settle His Land. In the evening many attend Torah classes in Carmel. They are Hospitable and even invite people to inquire about joining their community. How about You!
However some of them gave it all for the Love of the Land and the sanctification of G-d’s Name. On October 16, 2005 Kineret Mandel age 23 of Carmel, seen in bottom left photo; the first child born from  the settlement of Carmel and Matat Adler, age 21, seen in bottom right photo; a recent Bride of Carmel had their life taken on a road in the Hills of Judea. However their glory remains. The two were cousins.
And not only them but also Oz Ben-Meir, 15, from the neighboring settlement of Ma’on. A strong young man with leadership qualities. His light still shines. He is seen below with a photo of Ma’on מעון.
The is a hill on the opposite side of the road from Carmel. It has a small forest on it. It is a delightful place where people can go up for picnics or campfires at night. It is great to see how Jews have turned a desert hill top into a green forest.
To have a closer look at the Har Hevron region on the South Judean Hills, see the Map which has Gush Etzion region on the top half and the Har Hevron region on the bottom half.
Have a closer look at beautiful Maon Settlement in the two photos below.
Sheqef     שקף
Lets take the road to Shekef and see another fine community
In Sheqef there is agriculture on beautiful land
Within the gates of Shekef is the gateway to Negohot

Negohot נגוהות
Negohot is a small settlement located opposite Beit Hagai a few kilometers west on the other side of the highway and 3 kilometers inside the green line. These have progressed beyond was is seen in this profile and have had difficult early beginnings. Like most settlements, it stands as a light on top of a hill. Thus the name Negohot that comes from the word in Hebrew called Noga meaning bright light. On a clear day one can sea the Mediterranean Sea.
The families who live here are few but important to Israel, since Negohot stands as a look out for Eretz Yisrael. They wish they had more people. The financial cost of moving into a settlement  like this is very small. The people here still live in trailers however a permanent building has been built which also has a Mikvah. There is a water tower, a shul, and a nursery school with a playground. 
  Are you interested in joining these beloved souls on this little quiet hill top oasis?
Otni’el עתניאל
"Otni'el the son of K'naz, Calev's younger brother, captured it, so he (Calev) gave him Akhsah his daughter as his wife...Calev gave her the Upper Springs and the Lower Springs."Shoftim1:13,15  
Today Otni’el’s tomb still stands as a monument in Hebron.  
Below is a photo of the Otniel Yeshiva.
Otni’el is the largest and most developed towns under the Har Hevron regional council. It is a religious town that shines on top of a hill almost 1,000 meters high containing at least 700 residents. The view from this place is one of Israel’s best. It is about 20 minutes south of Hevron and 30 minutes north of Beer Sheva located next to highway 60. The photo below looks down from Otni’el. It is serviced by Egged Bus Lines.
One could truly describe this place as an Oasis of Holiness. A large steel security fence surrounds it. Looking down from above Hashem must see the fence as a crown on top of a hill and inside the Jewels of the crown. That is the people. Otni’el gives first class education to all its children from a very young age.
The Yeshiva of Otni’el offers both Yeshivat Hesder and Kollel with at least 170 students. Enlist in the Hesder program and combine Torah study with I.D.F. obligations. You must come and see the settlement that is blessed. A man who recently visited Otni’el was awed by the step slops and the drive up to the top of the hill. Almost like a little kingdom unto itself. Thus the meaning of the name Otni’el… ”The.Strength.of.G-d”
There are nursery and kindergarten schools. Elementary schools and places for the study of Torah and Talmud. A Bnei Akiva youth group is located here as well. High school girls attend the Ulpan high school in Kiryat Arba.
The town has a first class community center, a good medical clinic and shopping.  Here is everything from a Library and a swimming pool  to a great synagogue, children’s play area and facilities for sports.
If one does not work in the town, Beer Sheva is not far or even Jerusalem which is less then an hours drive.
To quote the Har Hevron regional council regarding the Yeshiva in Otni’el they say,
  The Yeshiva aims to educate a new generation of Torah scholars with an in-depth understanding of Torah and Halacha, as well as an awareness of the day to day problems and needs of the communities outside the Yeshiva world. These Torah scholars are being trained to spread the light of Torah throughout the land.”
Truly this Yeshiva is a beacon of light, shining through out the Land.

If you are interested in buying or building here consult the Har Hevron regional council. Great discounts on mortgages and even grants can be available to you. Come up here and have a look. And not only here, there are discounts in every settlement.
Penne Hever
A little north of Carmel is the settlement desert oasis of Penne Hever. Have a look at the photo below and have a taste of this delightful place.

Sussya סוסיא
Sussya is southwest from Ma’on down the road. About 70 families live here and every year they grow in number as more move in. Most families have many children and are religious. The people possess a variety of occupations. Most of those who work out side the town go to Beer.Sheva or Arad.  
Sussya stands 850 meters above sea level providing good fresh air for all. There is no pollution and the atmosphere is family like among one another.
 Although it is small, Sussya is note worthy in the area because it contains an elementary school, junior high school and a boy’s high school Yeshiva that specializes in environmental studies. From the beginning boys and girls learn separately. People attend these schools from neighboring settlements. This delightful, Shabbot keeping community of shalom, has a grocery store, a hall and gymnasium. Near by is located an archaeological site. Other children activities include soccer, judo, music lessons, field trips and religious studies. As well for adults there are classes of religious studies and numerous minyans to daven.
Sussya’s pride is in their Yeshiva. In 2004 it received from the government a national prize for excellence in education. The Yeshiva says, “Our mission is to cultivate the best citizens of the state of Israel…. We are planting seeds today for leaders of Israel’s tomorrow. As can be seen, our students are trained in the school of life…. This is how we motivate these teens to become real men, caring about their fellow human being on their road to creating a new reality – a better, improved Land of Israel.”
Here students go on missions to befriend and help the poor and there is a big brother program.
They learn about, and how to better the environment with much out door activity. In other words they are learning to make Israel a better place. Ba’ruch HaShem. Where can you find a school hutz l’aretz (out side the Land) like this? What school do your children go to?
Sussya is a nice place to live.

Sansana סנסנה
The view from Sansana is exquisite. From the settlement one can see the Sansana forest. This is what you see in the above photo. Why would you not want to live here? Only 20 minutes from Beer Sheva you can work in the day and sleep in Paradise at night. There are about 45 families who live here and they want more. Some are English speaking and all are religious.
There is an Oz youth group and a synagogue. This young settlement is under the Har Hevron regional council and has activities for kids and adults. Come be part of a great new thing.
Beit Yatir בית יתיר
Beit Yatir basically is an agricultural Moshav about 20 minutes north of the city of Arad and just south of Sussya. Not all the people of the settlement are Moshav members. 
About 65 families live here.
In Beit Yatir you will find a Hi Tech dairy farm where the cows produce milk at a high volume then in most places in Israel. There is a chicken farm with approximately 200,000 chickens. There is a plant for packing fruit. The Moshav has land just inside the green line where they grow enormous size grapes and also grow apples, nectarines and cherries. There is also a near by reservoir for the Moshav.
There is a Mechina Yeshiva here. It is a predatory school for boys before joining the IDF. The school attempts to build up the young mans Jewish identity, strengthen his character and build in him leadership skills.
Next to Beit Yatir is the Yatir forest.  It is another Jewish miracle of turning the barren land into lush forest.
Eshkolot אשכולות   
Meet the children in the settlement of Eshkolot located on the south western side of the Har Hevron region. A non religious community of a little over 200 souls belonging to Avraham avinu.

Beit Hagai בית חגי
Beit Hagai is a religious community of about 400. It is located just off highway 60 between Otni’el and Kiryat Arba.  

Adora אדורה
Adora is a beautiful hill top settlement located off road 35 upon entering into the Hevron hills region 10 minutes west of Hevron. It is a non-religious settlement of about 200 good souls. The above photo shows a friendly settler standing near the entrance of Adora.
This is one settlement you will surely adore.

As you can see the life in this Har Hevron Region is real and of the highest quality and noble. The land is Beautiful. Even the contours of the Land are Holy.
This is what Hashem says, “…I will bring My sons from afar and My daughters from the ends of the earth.” Yesha’yahu (Isaiah)43:6  
So When Are You Coming Home?!
“Those who trust in HaShem are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so HaShem surrounds His people, from this time forth and forever.” Tehillim.125:1-2
  הודו ל'' כי טוב כי לעולם חסדו