Rachel, the beloved wife of the Patriarch Jacob died in childbirth. Jacob chose to bury his wife in Bethlehem rather than at the Patriarchs Tomb in Hebron because he foresaw that his descendants would pass this site during their exile into Babylon and that Rachel would pray for their safety and ultimate return.
For millennia, Jews have made pilgrimages to Rachel’s Tomb, considered the third holiest shrine in the Land of Israel.
For the past 3,000 years, Jews have prayed at Rachel’s Tomb whenever the Jewish people faced sorrows due to the belief that her prayers to G-d have special powers.
Since she herself was childless for many years, many Jewish women with fertility issues pray to have children by her grave.
According to the Jewish tradition, the matriarch Rachel has always cried for her people whenever the Jewish people needed her. Jacob reportedly buried Rachel in Bethlehem, instead of in the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron because he foresaw that his descendants would need her prayers en route to exile in Babylonia.
As Jeremiah 31:15-17 states, “Rachel, weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone. Thus, said Hashem: Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears; for there is reward for your labor,’ declares Hashem. ‘They shall return from the enemy’s land and there is hope for the future’ declares Hashem: ‘Your children shall return to their own country.
The site has absorbed countless tears of barren women beseeching G-d in the merit of Mother Rachel, who herself had been barren for many years. Jews have poured out their hearts there, praying for everything from world redemption to a suitable marriage-partner.
To this very day, men and women go to Rachel’s Tomb to shed tears and beg “Mother Rachel” to intercede with G-d on their behalf — for the health of a loved one or for Divine Intervention for those in need.
Rachel, the childless woman who ultimately became the mother of the Jewish People, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women, and all those in need of special blessing — teaching them the power of prayer.
Hundreds of requests are sent every month to “Kever Rachel” from Jews worldwide, requesting prayers to be said on behalf of the ill, the childless and those in need of a special blessing.
For thousands of years, Jews have unburdened their hearts to Rachel Imeinu – and had their prayers answered.
The Barren were blessed with children, the sick were cured. The single found shiduchim and the broken-hearted found solace and peace.
“Thus says the Lord: Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from tears; your work shall have its reward, says the Lord; they shall return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, says the Lord; the children shall return to their land.” – Jeremiah, chapter 31.”