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The Rambam

As you enjoy a walk along the lakeside promenade south of Tiberius you will notice the large cemetery climbing the slope across the street.

Some tombstones here are so old their inscriptions cannot be read; others are more recent, as the ancient burial ground is still in use.

This cemetery is very sacred due to a tradition that the resurrection of the dead will begin here. The tradition comes from the Babylonian Talmud, which notes that Tiberias is the lowest of all cities and will “arise” even before Jerusalem (Isaiah 52:2). Mimonodies wrote that the resurrection in Tiberias would begin precisely 40 years before anywhere else.

The cemetery in Tiberias goes back to the time when Herod Antipas founded what he hoped would be a showcase Roman city, but contrary to Jewish law, he built it on top of graves. Consequently, no self-respecting Jew would live there at first. Eventually, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, rebel against Rome and author of the Zohar, came to bathe in Tiberias’ hot springs and was cured of a skin ailment. He then conducted a ceremony to “purify Tiberias of its dead,” after which the city rose to prominence.

Ancient Cemetery of Tiberias

The beautiful cemetery overlooking Lake Kinneret is the resting place for many Tzaddikim. Rabbi Isaiah ben Avraham HaLevi Horowitz the "Shlah" (yartzeit, 11 Nisan), was a renowned leader, kabbalist, and halachic guide from the 17th century. He stressed joy in every action, and how one should convert the evil inclination into good.

Rabbi Nachman Horodenker (yartzeit, 2 Tammuz), was a student of the Baal Shem Tov and the paternal grandfather of Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. There are also numerous other students of the Baal Shem Tov buried in the cemetery.

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