History

Adam and Eve in Hebron

The world's first man and woman had a connection to Hebron, and are buried in the Tomb of Machpela.

26.9.16, 12:49
(Image: Bereshit [Genesis] by local artist Baruch Nachshon. For more information visit http://nachshonart.com.)
 
Adam and Eve, as described in the book of Genesis, were the first people in the world and lived in the Garden of Eden. According to Jewish tradition, they are buried in the Tomb of Machpela. Both Jewish and non-Jewish traditions have identified the cave in Hebron as the final resting place of the mother and father of all humanity.
 
The reason Adam chose this location as a burial site is because the Cave of Machepla is the opening into the Garden of Eden. To this day, people can visit the small circular entrance into the underground caves and report feeling a cool breeze coming up from the opening.
 
(Photo: Lowering candles into the entrance to the Cave of Machpela.)
 
Today, a small stone slab is displayed behind iron bars is referred to as Adam's footprint. It is situated behind the cenotaph of Abraham.
 

(Photo: The stone referred to as "Adam's Footprint.")
 
A Jewish traveler from the Middle Ages named Jacob the son of Rabbi Nathaniel ha Cohen (also know as Rabbi Ya’akov ben Netanel HaCohen) mentions Adam's burial in his travel writings. 
 
Researchers believe based on his reference to the Crusades, that he made his journey to Israel in the year 1187. His journals were translated into English and printed in Jewish Travellers in the Middle Ages: 19 Firsthand Accounts by Elkan Nathan Adler. Rabbi Jacob writes as follows:
 
"I, Jacob the son of R. Nathaniel ha Cohen, journeyed with much difficultly, but God helped me to enter the Holy land, and I saw the graves of our righteous Patriarchs in Hebron... There is the place out of which Adam, the first man, as created. They take earth from it and build houses with it, but it never grows less and is always full..." page 98. 
 
One of Israel’s greatest historical researchers, Prof. Ze’ev Vilnai (1900–1988), added to this account that this earth was near the spring of Abraham and was called ‘the Field of Adam HaRishon’ the first man."
 
Arculf, a Frankish Bishop visited the Land of Israel around the year 680. He wrote of visiting Hebron and viewing the tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah, as well as "the tomb of Adam, which is of meaner workmanship, lies not far from them, at the furthest extremity to the north."
 
The Midrash reports:

Adam sat and pondered and he said :”For I know that You will return me to die and at meeting place of all living” (Job 30:23). “As long as I am still alive I will build a house outside of Mount Moria. He dug and built himself a house. Then he thought, these tablets (the Ten Commandments) which will be written by the hand of G-d will chase away the waters of the Jordan river; my body-made by G-d’s own hands and given a soul by Him. After my death my body and my bones will be taken and be made into idolatry. So, therefore, I will bury my casket deep under and inside the cave. Therefore, the Cave is called the Cave of the Machpela -The Multiple Cave and there is where they are: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. And therefore it is called Kiryat Arba - the city of the four - because four couples were buried there.
 
The Zohar, the main work of the Kabbalah, Judaism's mystical teachings, has several references to Adam and Eve in Hebron.
 
Discovery of the Machpela

Rabbi Rehumai said: God Himself created Adam and He Himself took care of Adam at his death. No one knew of Adam’s burial place until Abraham came, entered the cave and saw him. As Abraham entered, the place was filled with the scent of the Garden of Eden and the voice of the ministering angels saying: “Adam is buried here. Abraham and Isaac will be prepared for this place.” Abraham saw the lit candle and went out. At that moment he developed a desire for the place.
(Zohar Ruth: 79, 4)
 
Meeting of Abraham and Adam

The first time Abraham entered the Machpelah Cave he saw a light and two graves were revealed to him. At that time Adam looked at Abraham and his expression was that of happiness. Hence Abraham knew that he was destined to be buried there. Said Abraham to Adam: “Is there an opening here” (for the light)?  Answered Adam: “The All-Mighty has buried me here and since that time I have been hidden from human eyes-like the roots in the ground- until you came to world. From now on, the covenant for me and for humanity will exist because of you.
(Zohar Chaye Sarah. 128:1)
 
 
Passageway to the World to Come

When Jacob entered the cave all of the Garden of Eden’s scents filled it, and a single candle illuminated it. And when the [souls of the] Patriarchs went down to Egypt, to be with Jacob, the candle was extinguished. When Jacob came back, the candle lit up and the Cave’s glory was restored. And never did or will the Cave accept anyone else (other than the four couples). And the souls of the righteous people pass in front of them in the cave so that they (Adam and Eve and the other three couples) would see their descendants and rejoice in front of G-d blessed be He. 
 (Zohar Genesis Vayiechi , 250)
                     
The Scent of the Garden of Eden

Our sages ask: ”How did Isaac know the scent of “the field blessed by G-d”? However, explains the Zohar:
”These are two which are one”. It says in one place: "And Isaac went out in the evening " (Genesis 24:63). Didn’t Isaac have a house or another place in which to pray? But that field was the field of the Machpela which Abraham purchased next to the Cave. When Isaac went to the field he saw the Divine Presence and the field became filled with sacred and supreme scents (from Garden of Eden). That is why he designated it for his prayer site. And this is, in essence, what Isaac referred to when he said: “behold my son’s scent is that of the field blessed by G-d.”
(Zohar Exodus 39:2)

To arrange a guided tour of Hebron contact us:
 
United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
 
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