Hebron in the Zohar

The Zohar, the main work of the Kabbalah, Judaism's mystical teachings, has several references to Adam and Eve in Hebron.

27.9.16, 13:53
Zohar - ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob…’

“Rabbi Eliezer expounded: ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob…’ (Leviticus 26:42): Consider this: The Patriarchs’ prayers ensure the world’s survival. All mankind depend on the Patriarchs for their existence. Forever and ever, Patriarchal merit shall not be forgotten, for Patriarchal merit guaranties the survival of the celestial and terrestrial universe. And the greatest survival is ensured by Jacob. Therefore, when Jacob’s children are in trouble, G-d shows Himself the likeness of Jacob and then shows the world mercy. As it says, ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob.’ In the Hebrew, ‘Yaakov’ appears in its full form with a vav. Why so? For such is the true form of Yaakov.

“Rabbi Shimon expounded: Thanks to Patriarchal merit, redemption is always ready for Israel, as it says, ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac, and My covenant with Abraham as well, and I shall recall the Land.’ The meaning of ‘recalling the Patriarchs’ is clear, but what is meant by, ‘I shall recall the Land’? Rather, the point is to include King David with the Patriarchs, for he is G-d’s chariot and they constantly arouse redemption for Israel.”
(Zohar Vayishlach 168)
“Rabbi Yitzchak expounded: ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob.’ This verse can be explained as follows: When Israel are in exile, G-d, so to speak, is in exile with them, for the Divine Presence never leaves them. As long as Israel are in the exile, if they prove worthy, G-d hastens to have mercy on them and to remove them from the exile. And if they do not prove worthy, He detains them there until the decreed time arrives. And if the time arrives and they are still unworthy, G-d gazes at His glorious Name and does not forget them in the exile. That is the meaning of, ‘I shall recall My covenant with Jacob.’ It refers to the Patriarchs, for they are all the foundation of G-d’s holy name. 
“Rabbi Chiya expounded: Why was Jacob mentioned first here? Because Jacob is the culmination of the Patriarchs, and because he is called ‘the holy tree’, the vav of G-d’s holy name finds a foothold in Jacob’s name.”
(Zohar Acharei 66)

“Elijah’s Introduction” prayer

In many daily prayer books we can find the “Elijah’s Introduction” prayer. It reads:
Rose Rabbi Shimon and said: ”To you G-d is the greatness, the power, the eternity and the glory. “(Chron. I. 29:11) Hear O Supreme ones! Those who dwell in Hebron and [Moses] the loyal shepherd! Awaken from your slumber! Awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust. These are the righteous who are of the position of: ”I am asleep but my heart is awake” and are not dead and that is why it is said of them: “...awake and sing, you that dwell in the dust...” You loyal shepherd, you and the Forefathers, awake and sing, to awaken the Divine Presence [Shechina] which is dormant in the exile, as the righteous ones who also sleep in their caves. Soon the Divine Presence gives out three sounds in front of the loyal shepherd (Moses) and says to him: ”Rise, loyal shepherd...” Soon he rises and with him the holy Forefathers. 

Esau forsook his fathers’ land

Esau’s disengagement from the cave expressed his dislike and detachment from any connection to the Land designated to his father and grandfather, as well as any values of holiness and faith. After Isaac’s death, Esau took his leave. Torah sources describe:

“And Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all the souls of his house...and went into a land away from of his brother Jacob” (Gen. 36:6). 

Meaning that he left Jacob the principal and profit, the [future] bondage in Egypt and the land (of Israel) and gave him his share of the Multiple Cave, and that he had forsaken the land, his belief and his share and left it all.
 (Zohar Genesis Vayishlah 177a)

Helping a World in Distress

Every time the world is in need of mercy and the living are stressed, prayer is recited and the Forefathers:
“The Slumbers of Hebron”-rise and go to the earthy Garden of Eden where all the spirits of the righteous are found and they wrap themselves with a crown of light; they consult with them, and declare a decree. The All-Mighty is bound by that decree and does their will to show mercy on the world. And when the world is in need of mercy and the living go and inform the souls of the righteous and weep over their graves-then the righteous people who are on the proper level to bond their soul with those of the righteous departed.
Then the souls of the departed righteous awaken and gather to go to the “Slumberers of Hebron”[the Forefathers] and inform them of the world’s plight and all go up to the gate of the Garden of Eden and inform the wind, Those spirits who are surrounded with the Garden of Eden have supreme angels among them and all of these inform the Neshama (a supreme soul) and it informs the All-Mighty and all together beg mercy for the living and for their sake, the All-Mighty bestows His mercy on the world.    
(Zohar Beresheet 39:1)

When G-d remembers His children He drops two [of his] tears in the great sea. The sound of these tears falling among the waves reaches the Cave of Machpelah and awakens the Forefathers. They rise surmising that the All-Mighty wants to destroy the world. Soon a voice is heard: ”Do not fear holy and beloved ones? It is for you that G-d remembers your children and wants to redeem them... and so you will see.
(Zohar Shlach 172:a-b)


Our sages emphasize the comparison between Abraham -The first Hebrew, and King David. This comparison connects them to the same place-Hebron. As Abraham was commanded by G-d to go to the land of Israel where only there could he attain the necessary degree of saintliness, David could not be given the royal appointment until after he developed the needed bond with the Forefathers in Hebron.           
(Zohar , Gen. Lech Lecha 79b)

The Zohar continues:

Everything that G-d made on earth is all done with the secret of Divinely inspired wisdom and since Abraham could not adhere to G-d in the required degree, he was therefore commanded to “Go forth”. There was the place where Abraham could come closer to G-d. That was the first stage where such closeness can take place and that is why it is said: ”Go forth”. 

Similar to this it is written: ” And David asked G-d saying...” Why did not David become king over Israel immediately after Saul’s death? But since all is done through the secret of Divinely inspired wisdom, David could not be king until after he developed a bond with the Fathers in Hebron and only then, he could assume royalty. Therefore, he had to stay in Hebron for seven years so that he would receive the kingship properly and with Divinely inspired wisdom establish his kingdom in Jerusalem. Similarly, Abraham did not completely reach his lofty spiritual level until after he entered the Land of Israel.

This idea is corroborated further by the answer given to David when he asked G-d: ”Do I ascend to one of Judea’s cities?” G-d’s first answer: “Ascend!” “To which city?”... “To Hebron.”

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

Commonly, our sage elaborate on Jacob’s connection to the Cave of the Machpelah from another perspective: The Cave’s effect on the completion of the world and the return of the light to the Cave after Jacob’s burial. It also serves as a gateway for the righteous who have departed this world and are going to the next. So we find in the Zohar:

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 Gen. Vayiechi , 250)

Sarah's First Connection to the Cave of Machpelah

According to our sages, even the Matriarch Sarah had a very special connection to the Cave of the Machpelah; unfortunately, her hopes about the Cave did not materialize during her lifetime:
“She considers a field to buy it” (Prov. 31:7): As long as she was alive she had planned to take the field: 
Indeed, during her lifetime Sara did not actualize her wish regarding the Cave of Machpelah. Only upon her death could Abraham turn to Ephron and seek to purchase it: “When Sarah died and it became necessary. He (Abraham) said: ‘It is time to claim it (the Cave)’”
(Zohar Chaye Sara 128)
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 “(Gen. 24:63). Didn’t Isaac have a house or another place in which to pray? But that field was the field of the Machpelah 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)
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Adam and Eve in Hebron
Hebron in the Talmud
Hebron in the Bible