We Have Failed Joseph; Rachel Still Weeps

editor Friday 9 February 2018 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email Printer friendly

By Paula R. Stern.. Last night, my youngest son went to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem with his yeshiva. It is a place I dream of going, a place that calls to me; Joseph calls to me. I’ve been to Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem many times, and each time I am there, I almost feel that I owe her an explanation for why I have never been to her son’s grave. I feel like I am supposed to report to her, to tell her he is well. Yes, I know he is dead (I’m not insane). And I know he died thousands of years ago…and still we remember him. Still we remember her.

But his grave comes under attack very often. They have burned the books that are there, smashed the tomb so many times. Last night visitors were again stoned, a bomb detonated not far from the soldiers who guard the tomb. The Tomb of Joseph is a target and though he is dead, I feel Rachel’s pain. Long ago, I felt that if we are not going to protect the grave, we should move it. Joseph’s bones should be removed and reburied beside his mother. I know that when a parent’s body is dug up and buried in another place (not something Jews do on a regular basis but it does happen), the children sit in mourning for a day, as the re-interment takes place. That is what we should do – remove Joseph’s remains, as we would for a Jew whose grave has been repeatedly desecrated…as we should for Rav Nachman of Breslov. 

Joseph calls to me, as does Rachel…it is written that she wept for her sons…that she weeps for them now. That from her grave and from the heavens, she continues to watch over her children…and weep. What mother hasn’t cried for her children? But somehow, her tears are endless. Rachel died when she was 36 years old…never to see her children grow, marry, have children of their own. Except she does see, she does know. Read the full story.

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