Traditional Hebron Hospitality during Yom Kippur

The inspiring story of how the Avraham Avinu synagogue got its name.

20.9.18, 13:56
The Day of Atonement was marked in Hebron at the Tomb of Machpela and other locations such as the Avraham Avinu synagogue and Chabad of Hebron. The annual hospitality tent has steadily increased in popularity as guests are accommodated for Yom Kippur.
Israelis from all over enjoyed meals before and after their day-long fast and accommodations such as the tents (pictured below) and home hospitality. 
The Jewish community of Hebron would like to thank the local municipality, Chabad of Hebron, and all others who contributed to a successful High Holiday season. 
Events of the past week included the main slichot event, the women's concert, and Rosh Hashannah. All included, tens of thousands visited the City of the Patriarchs & Matriarchs. 
We are now looking forward to the annual Succot music festival featuring top name Israeli artists. For more information click here.
Yom Kippur brings to mind the classic story of how the historic Avraham Avinu synagogue, built in 1540, received its name. The following story is from Days of Awe by S. Y. Agnon, translated from the 1648 classic work Emek HaMelech by Rabbi Naftali Hertz Bacharach.
The text describes Hebron as having a dwindling Jewish community, and this was the case following the 1619 epidemic that drove much of the community to Gaza for safety. But during other periods, Hebron had a thriving Jewish population.
Let me tell you, O children of the living God, about the wonderful thing that happened in Hebron on Yom Kippur. Now you must know that there are not always ten men in Hebron to worship publicly; it is only on Sabbaths and holidays that people from the villages assemble here so that they can pray with a quorum of ten and more; but all the inhabitants of Hebron are very pious.
Now it came to pass one Yom Kippur eve that there were only nine men in Hebron, and the inhabitants of Hebron waited for the villagers to come, but no one of them came. For they had all gone to Jerusalem to the holy city, may it be rebuilt and re-established speedily in our days, since it is nearby, being only a distance of a quarter of a day's travel away. So they were in great sorrow, lest they each be forced to pray alone on Yom Kippur, and they wept bitterly.
Now the sun had already sunk, and it was very late. And it come to pass that they lifted their eyes, and lo and behold, and old man coming from the distance; and they rejoiced exceedingly when they saw him. Now when he had come up to them they set the Concluding Meal before him that he might eat; but he blessed and thanked them, and said that he had already eaten on the way. So they prayed on the holy day, and honored the man highly. 
At the close of Yom Kippur they fell into a dispute, for every one wanted to take the guest to his home. Finally they decided to cast lots, and the guest fell to the lot of the cantor, who was a pious man and related wonderful dreams and visions of the night. So the cantor went homeward, the guest following after him. When the cantor came near his home, he turned around to honor the guest and allow him to enter the house first -- and he looked, and, lo and behold, he was gone. They sought him but could not find him anywhere about. 

Then they were all greatly saddened, for they thought that he had gone on his way in the night, because he had not wished to partake of their hospitality. But on that night the old man visited the cantor in a dream, and told him that he 
was our father Abraham, peace be upon him, who had come to complete their quorum, for he saw they were in great sorrow, lest they should each have to pray alone. And they rejoiced greatly and blessed the great God for having done wondrous deeds. Amen, and so be His will.
Additional sources:
The Heart is a Mirror: The Sephardic Folktale by Tamar Alexander-Frizer‏, chapter 5 page 122
* Ethical Tales from the Kabbalah: Stories from the Kabbalistic Ethical Writings by Aryeh Wineman‏ - Father Abraham Completes a Prayer Quorum, page 80
* Encyclopedia of Jewish Folklore and Traditions by Raphael Patai‏, page 235-236
* Folktales of the Jews, V. 3 (Tales from Arab Lands) by Dan Ben Amos‏ - The Tenth Man in Hebron, chapter 1 page 2

Hebron is also mentioned in the Mishna in Tractate Yoma, which describes the ancient Yom Kippur service in detail. The Jewish community wished to begin the Yom Kippur service on time with a watchman stationed to observe the sunrise. When the first rays of morning light arrived, the watchman would call out "barkai!" to which another officer would ask, "as far a Hebron?" The watchman would reply, " yes, as far as Hebron." (Mishna Yoma, 3:1).
Commentators add that the mention of Hebron was a geographical landmark as well as a historical tribute to the burial site of the founders of their faith at the Tomb of Machpela.

Yom Kippur in Hebron 2018 | 14 Images
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