Love of the Land

For the week ending 14 July 2007 / 28 Tammuz 5767

Naburia Tomb of Rabbi Eleazar Ha-Modai

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Not far from Tsefat is a tomb reputed to be that of the Talmudic Sage Rabbi Eleazar Ha-Modai.

Aside from his Aggadic interpretations in the Babylonian Talmud which gained great respect from his colleagues, this Sage was the center of a dramatic historic incident recorded in the Jerusalem Talmud.

A relative of Bar Kochba (who led a revolt against the Romans), Rabbi Eleazar fasted daily and prayed in Beitar that G-d should not sit in judgment which might stifle the revolt. Bar Kochba, however, was tricked into believing that Rabbi Eleazar was in collusion with the Romans and, as a result, Bar Kochba killed him.

A Heavenly voice then informed him that as punishment for "breaking the arm of Israel and blinding its eye" his arms would become useless and his eyes darkened. After a three-and-a-half year siege of Beitar the Romans succeeded in penetrating its walls, killing Bar Kochba and crushing the revolt.

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