Praying at the Cave of Machpelah

Last Shabbat, I had the honor to be invited by Yosef and Melody Hartuv to celebrate Shabbat in the company of some dear amazing people in Hevron. What an elevating experience it was. It was the second time that I was blessed with this visit to the ancient city of our Fathers and Mothers in the heartland of Eretz Yisrael.

I am already looking forward to the next visit with every fiber of my being. I am looking forward to being engulfed by the cloak of sanctity that wrapps me so comfortably whenever I visit the place. The recollection of the warmth, the love and sharing the presence of the Divine still vibrate through me in anticipation of that which only Hevron, the place, my hosts and my brothers and sisters there, could bestow upon my essence.

The words below try to capture what I experienced last year:

The divine aura surrounding Hevron illuminates its first rays at twilight time when the universe sways between the mundane and the sacred, the harsh everyday reality and the realm of dreams and hopes for harmony, peace and love and the belief in the victory of good over evil.
Dressed in our Shabbat clothes, ready to welcome the fairest of them all, Shabbat Hamalkah, the Queen, we make our way to the cave of Machpelah.

The radiating faces of the passers by as they push the strollers of their beautiful young ones, the future of Eretz Yisrael, bring a smile to my heart.

Their white spotless garments wash away my worries and pain preparing me for the most exhilarating experiences of them all, praying at the cave of Machpelah.

I have prayed in many synagogues around the globe but none could come close to what praying in a place that so many of us have been holding so dear for so many years, through so many trials and tribulations, anticipation and deep yearning, feels like. The melodious tunes of the prayers, the blessings, the earnestness with which those present were uttering them and the cheerful rhythm that pulsated in those participating swept me off my feet  and took me to spheres where I had never pastured at before.

We have come back despite the fact that we had never really left. The enduring hope that has kept our longing alive anchored us to this place over mountains and seas, drawing us nearer and nearer to fulfilling the two thousand year old  dream. We are here.

I can see our ancestral mothers and father are smiling, ready to welcome us back into their comforting bosom where our tears, which cleared our vision to see the bright future ahead of us, have been collected.

No more tears, no more longing. We are home.

And with the solemn oath of “If we forget thee…,” to our Past, Present and Future, we are ready for the greatest blessing of them all, praying in the presence of those righteous whose loving kindness has brought us thus far and we say, “Amen!”

About the Author
Bat-Zion Susskind-Sacks is an English teacher and a pro Israel advocate. She lives in Israel and has recently published her first novel, "On A Wing From The Holy Land."