Visiting Sages At Their Graves

The Talmud explains that when you pray by the grave of someone who was holy during their lifetime, your prayers will be heard and will have a greater chance of being accepted. The idea is that you are praying, both in your own merit, and in the merit of the great Sage where you pray. For this reason, among others, people throughout the world, and especially in Israel, visit the graves of famous Rabbis. Tiberias, and its surrounding area, is the home to many such graves, and is a location where Jews congregate to pray before the graves of these great people.

Rambam (Rabbi Moshe ben Maymon ) Tomb

This may be this most famous tomb in all of Israel. The Rambam was a scholar, a Rabbi and a doctor. He was born in Cordova, and moved from there to Morocco and then to Egypt. His tomb is located in the center of Tiberias and gets many visitors each year. Legend has it that before the Rambam died, he asked his sons to bury him in Israel. They brought him to Israel and buried him in the location where the camel finally stopped walking!

Rabbi Meir Baal Hanesse Tomb

This tomb is located in the old Tiberias cemetery along the Sea of Galilee coast. A famous synagogue that caters to both Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews was built above the tomb and many people come to his grave to get blessings. Rabbi Meir was known as the Miracle Maker, and he was a student of Rabbi Akiva. He was one of the most important 2nd century sages and was actively involved in the Bar Kochba revolt.

Rabbi Haim Abulajya Tomb

In approximately 1740, Rabbi Haim Abulafya started the Jewish settlement in Tiberias. He was originally the Rabbi of Izmir and was brought to Israel by the Galilee governor at the time. His tomb is in the old Tiberias cemetery.

Rabbi Akiva Tomb

Rabbi Akiva was considered the greatest Rabbi of his time. People often flock to his grave on the evening of Yom Kippur, as it is the day of atonement and the ultimate time to pray for forgiveness. His tomb is in the west entrance of Tiberias, next to the police station.

The Mothers' Tombs

There are a number of important biblical women who are also thought to be buried in Tiberias. They include: Zipora, Moses' wife; Yocheved, the daughter of Levi and Elisheva; and Zilpa and Bilha. They are all thought to be buried in the Kiryat Shmuel neighborhood of Tiberias and it is very common for women to come to pray at their graves. They pray there for fertility, for financial issues, and for many other reasons.

Those who want to visit these graves can do so on their own, or with a tour guide. Most of them are open to the public regularly and can be visited whenever it is convenient. For extra explanations and to understand the significance of these sages, it may be interesting to take a tour or to visit these sites with a guide.