Muslim Holiday Closes Meoras Hamachpelah to Jews On Tisha B’Av

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Due to the Muslim holiday of Eid al Adha, the Ma’aras HaMachpela will be closed to Jews on Tisha B’av this year. Eid al Adha is a four day Muslim holiday that begins this year on Sunday, August 11th, the date when Tisha B’Av will be commemorated by Jews around the world as the mourning is being pushed off until after Shabbos.

In spite of the closure, the Jewish leadership of the site is asking Jews who were planning to attend to still come and pray at the site. The religious council of Hebron and the management of the site are planning to set up temporary stations for prayer near the building for Jews to come and worship in order that the age-old custom of praying at the site on Tisha B’Av should not be broken.

As the day is expected to be quite hot, the management is establishing shelters and shaded areas for those who plan to attend. A small meal and beverages will be provided to those present at the end of the fast.

In a typical year, in spite of the heat of the day, thousands traditionally arrive at the holy site to sit in prayer and study.

Each year, on Tisha Ba’v afternoon a Jewish procession visits the grave of Osniel Ben K’Naz a pilgrimage that is only possible a few times a year when the site is accessible to Jews.

After Tisha B’av the Ma’arah will be reopened to Jews starting at 4:00 a.m. and continuing on from there during regularly scheduled hours.

Eid Al Adha begins on the 11th and continues until August 15th this year.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)




6 COMMENTS

  1. the building was built as a mosque, is still used as a mosque, I know a lot of frum yidden who never step foot inside the building instead daven from the outside courtyard

  2. The above post by As I See lt writes:
    “the building was built as a mosque, is still used as a mosque, I know a lot of frum yidden who never step foot inside the building instead daven from the outside courtyard”

    Yes, there is such a minhag. There are chassidim that don’t go inside the Ma’aras HaMachpela because the Bal Shem Tov never went inside. There are some Litvishe that don’t go inside because the Gr’a never went inside. There are even many Zionists that never went inside because Herzel and Ben Gurion never went inside. However, the rest of the jews have no problem with going inside because the Avos HaKedoshim did go inside, as well as Adam and Chava, Sara, Rivka, and Leah. . . . . And let’s not forget Eliezer eved Avraham, he too is inside.
    Now, maybe I don’t have all my facts correctly, but I don’t recall ever hearing that Eliezer moved out because a mosque was built over the site or because the site is used as a mosque. Bottom line I’m not impressed by someone that belives he is very RELIGIOUS because he added an new s”k to the Shulchan Aruch.
    All comments and attacks on the above are welcome. So let’s hear it.

  3. “Bottom line I’m not impressed by someone that belives he is very RELIGIOUS because he added an new s”k to the Shulchan Aruch.”

    The Gra and Baal Shemtov Don’t impress you?

  4. Baal Shem never made it to Israel, he made it as far as Turkey, its the concept of davening a church/ mosque that is the issue, so no great loss if we don’t have access for one day.
    FYI the Gra was never in Israel either, please check your fact before you write