Cave of Machpelah

The Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה), also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs, is located in the southern Israeli city of Hebron.

According to the Book of Genesis, 3700 years ago, Abraham purchased the cave and the surrounding field as a burial place for his wife, Sarah, making it the first plot of land in the Holy Land to become the legal possession of the Jewish people.

The 4 Patriarchs and 2 Matriarchs of Judaism are buried in the Cave of Machpelah: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. Rachel is not buried in the cave but in Bethlehem, in a special place called Kever Rachel.

There has been a Jewish community in Hebron for centuries. Throughout the generations, Jews would pray at the Cave of Machpelah, even if they could only go to the 7th step. This ancient Jewish community was destroyed in the massacre of 1929 when Arabs stormed the Jewish Quarter and murdered many Jews. After the Six Day War, the area went back to Israeli control and the restriction limiting Jews to the 7th step was finally lifted. Jews moved back to Hebron, and a synagogue was re-established at the Cave of our Patriarchs.

According to the Midrash , the Cave also contains the head of Esau. The Talmud places Esau’s head at the Cave of the Patriarchs, but does not indicate whether it is buried there.


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