Hundreds Visit Hebron for Menucha Rochel Yahrzeit

130 years later and the grandmother of Hebron is still getting visitors.

13.2.18, 17:16
(PHOTO: Prayers at the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron for Menucha Rochel Slonim, on the 130th anniversary of her passing.)
Hundreds visited Hebron on February 8, 2017 in the celebration of the life of Rebbetzin Menucha Rochel Slonim. Among the participants were noted rabbis, veteran Hebron pioneers and Chabad emissaries from around the country.

Every year, people from all over the country visit her grave on the 24th of Shevat, the anniversary of her passing. This year, on the 130th anniversary of her yarhzeit, the annual celebration was held with the participation of hundreds of Chabad Chassidim followed by evening prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs and a Hassidic gathering at the Gutnick Center banquet hall.
Menucha Rochel Slonim (1798 - 1888) was a daughter of Rabbi Dovber Schneuri, also known as the the Mitteler Rebbe, the second Rebbe of the Chabad Lubavitch movement.
She is regarded a matriarch to the Chabad family as well as Hebron's Jewish population in general. She was also a matriarch/founder of the Slonim family that was instrumental in revitalizing the Jewish community in Hebron. She was famed for her wisdom, piety and erudition, honored and esteemed by famous rabbis of her time a well as the non-Jewish population of Hebron who sought her advice.
Known as Rebbetzin Slonim, a title given to the wives of rabbis, she was born on Yud Tes Kislev, the 19th of Kislev, 1798. It was the same day her grandfather, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, was released from imprisonment in S. Petersburg, Russia. Today this date is still celebrated as a "new year" in the hasidic movement.
Her father chose the name Menucha because in Hebrew it means "peace and quiet". He said, "henceforth we shall have a little Menucha." She was named Rachel (or Rochel, as it was often pronounced) after an aunt that died in her youth.
Her husband's last name was originally Griver, a descendant of Rabbi Moses Isserles, the famous rabbi from Poland known as the REMA. They chose to change it to Slonim and moved to Hebron.
In 1815, her father sought to strengthen the Jewish community in Hebron, which was at one time, King David's capital city, but had now fallen into neglect. He dispatched groups of followers who established the Chabad community in the city. He bought the small synagogue near the historic Avraham Avinu synagogue along with additional parcels of land.
After Rebbitzin Slonim fell dangerously ill, her father promised that she would live to emigrate to the Land of Israel. In 1845, with the blessing of her cousin, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn, the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, she and her family emigrated to Hebron. On the day they were to depart of the Land of Israel, it was raining. The Tzemach Tzedek advised her not to delay and to allay her fears, blessed her to "walk between the raindrops."
For forty-three years she served as the matriarch of the Hebron community. New brides and barren women would request blessings from her.
Before she died on the 24th of Shevat, 1888, she sent a letter to the current Rebbe of the time, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, the Rebbe Rashab, informing him of her imminent passing. She thus lived during the leadership of all of the first five Lubavitcher Rebbes. She was buried in the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron.
Menucha Rochel's descendants were important leaders in Hebron which by now had a thriving hasidic community.
Menucha Rochel Slonim's grave was one of those destroyed during the infamous riots. It was rediscovered by Prof. Ben-Zion Tavger who in the 1970s and early 1980s was instrumental in excavating historic areas such as the Avraham Avinu synagogue which had been used as a sheep pen.
In 1982, with the encouragement of the Seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, a memorial ceremony was initiated and continued every year at her grave-site in Hebron. This has grown over time, and her grave-site has become a popular site for prayers. The annual event has been organized for the past thirty years by Rabbi Shmuel Eliezer Halperin, director of the Organization of the Descendants of the Alter Rebbe. Over the years, the leaders of the rebuilt Jewish community and the Chabad House of Hebron have joined together to establish a yeshiva at her grave-site, known as "Colel Menucha Rochel."
Today, countless people come every year to visit the site as well as the Tomb of Machpela, Beit Shneerson, Beit Hadassah and other sites where the Slonim family lived, worked, taught and raised their families.

To visit the home and grave of Menucha Rochel Slonim and / or attend the annual Chabad Hebron reunion:
United States contact info:
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
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