Dreaming of Moshiach

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Entrance to Gan Eden

The dream to enter the depth of the Tomb of the Patriarchs has been desired for thousands of years. According to the Zohar HaKadosh, zs'l, Adam HaRishon, zs'l, was the first that felt the holiness at the entrance of Maarat Hamachpela and he dug deep to gain access inside Gan Eden. The Divine Spirit told him not to continue his efforts. He remained attached to the cave and inside, he buried Chava, a'h. When he passed away, he was also buried inside the cave, the closest place to Gan Eden.

A thousand year later, Avraham Avinu, zs'l, smelled the frangrances of Gan Eden in the cave and saw a tremendeous bright light coming from the cave. When he entered, he saw Adam HaRishon and his wife Chava buried inside and desired to have this cave. Tens of years later, he purchased it and it became legally the owner of this property, forever.

One of the first Emorim, Rabbi Bana'a, zs'l, entered the cave but entrance into the inner cave was forbidden.

To cancel the decree against Hebron Jews, HaMekubal Rabbi Avraham Azulai, zs'l, volunteered to enter the inner cave to retrieve the Sultan's sword. He succeeded entering but a few days later, he passed away in pure holiness. He passed away Shabbat, Parshat Chayei Sara.

When Chevron was freed, Moshe Dayan was able to insert a 12-year old girl, Michal Arbel, thru the narrow opening in Yitzchak's Hall, zs'l. Michal discovered that underneath the hall there is an underground room with a very narrow hallway leading to steps going upwards. The stairway was blocked by a very heavy rock that could not be removed. Michal exited the underground cave safely but the desire to know the secrets of the cave continued.

With the support of the IDF, the Muslims strictly guard the opening to the cave in the Hall of Yitzchak and don't allow anyone entry. But one opportunity was found 25 years ago, in the month of Selichot in Elul, 5741. The Arabs did not show up to guard, and a group of local Jewish residents decided to take the chance and fulfill the dream of many generations to enter the cave. They quickly brought equipment and began the strenuous job to open the closed entrance in the floor inside the Hall of Yitzchak. This is their story:

The tension was high, we felt how the rock of the entrance began moving and with more effort, the rock opened and a narrow opening was revealed. It's hard to explain the excitement we felt when we started descending the narrow opening. We crawled inside the long narrow tunnel and it led us to a gigantic underground room. We began searching the entrance to the cave in the corners of the room and found various rocks. All of a sudden, we felt a strong wind coming from the ground. We understood that the secret is buried under the underground and we began the strenuous work to lift the floor's stones.

Our friends were upstairs and their job wasn't easy. They continued saying Slichot with devotion and happiness and it was also a camouflage so the sounds of hammers and drillings will not be heard.

Finally, we found the entrance to the underground of the underground cave and knew that this is the entrance. The heart was beating with a a whirlwind of emotions. We were excited to enter the cave but also felt hesitation, yearning, fear... It was finally decided that we will enter. Our hearts were beating rapidly as we entered the cave and it was clear: this was the authentic Ma'arat HaMachpela, it is composed of 2 caves, one inside another. The first cave is the biggest, it was full of dust upto the ceiling and from this cave, we found an opening of a narrow hallway leading into the second cave, a smaller one. The inner cave had a blood-curdling suprise waiting for us. The ground was completely covered with dust, and we saw scattered fractured bones, and antique broken earthenware.

The suspence was at its peak. With shaking hands, we picked up the pieces of pottery. Later, when it was professionally examined, we found out they are from the time of the first Bet HaMikdash, from 3,000 years ago.

We decided that in order for us to overcome our excitement, we will take this unique opportunity to pray, to the best of our capabilities. A few hours passed but it seemed like a few seconds. Before dawn we exited the cave, immersed in holy spirituality. The adventure and memories of the mysterious Ma'arat HaMachpela will never be forgotten...
HaRav Moshe Yaakov is the first documented Jew to successfully descend the lower inner caves. He tells his fascinating story with more secrets of Ma'arat HaMachpela, the entrance to Gan Eden, accompanied with photos and film. To view the documented movie, click HERE (in Hebrew).




והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו