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Graves Of Tzadikim


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#1 HashkaficallyChallenged

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 11:16 AM

Maybe this topic has been discussed before, but I dont have the patience to search throgh all of H.com (the search engine never works for me)

Why do we go to the graves of tzadikim to daven? I mean, I was discussing with someone the concept of going to Kever Rochel to daven for children. She said that many childless women find solace in Rochel Imanu, who was also unable to have children for a very long time. So what benefit is there in going to her grave-the only reason these women are comforted at all is because of what they know about Rochel through their study of tanach. If so, why not just pick up a chumash before davening? Theres not really any difference between davening right outside her kever (as many people hold that its assur to daven at the actual gravesite) and davening at your home. I appreciate these sites for the historical signifigance (although the truth is that many "keverim" that we go to are not the actual place where the person is buried) but religously, they do nothing for me. The most inspiring thing for me at Kever Rochel was the tefillah said before entering there, describing her life and all her nisyonos, but thats something that I could have said at home. It almost seems like going to the grave of a tzadik to "get inspiration" is borderline avodah zara. So...why do we go?

#2 TipuseiHarim

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 12:16 PM

Maybe this topic has been discussed before, but I dont have the patience to search throgh all of H.com (the search engine never works for me)

Why do we go to the graves of tzadikim to daven? I mean, I was discussing with someone the concept of going to Kever Rochel to daven for children. She said that many childless women find solace in Rochel Imanu, who was also unable to have children for a very long time. So what benefit is there in going to her grave-the only reason these women are comforted at all is because of what they know about Rochel through their study of tanach. If so, why not just pick up a chumash before davening? Theres not really any difference between davening right outside her kever (as many people hold that its assur to daven at the actual gravesite) and davening at your home. I appreciate these sites for the historical signifigance (although the truth is that many "keverim" that we go to are not the actual place where the person is buried) but religously, they do nothing for me. The most inspiring thing for me at Kever Rochel was the tefillah said before entering there, describing her life and all her nisyonos, but thats something that I could have said at home. It almost seems like going to the grave of a tzadik to "get inspiration" is borderline avodah zara. So...why do we go?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I'd seperate the reasons into two categories. In one category are reasons that affect you in specific. Many people feel increased kavana, connection to the Jewish people, and so forth when davening at kivrei tzadikim and kivrei avot. These are obivously good things, and if going to kivrei tzadikim does it for you, then you should go. Other people get that chizuk from davening at other locations (the seashore is a common one), or through other preparations for davening.

The second category is the impact that davening in thsoe locations has on Hashem. I've heard many concepts in relation to this, as well as much controversy. The Rambam is strongly opposed to davening for intercession (i.e. davening so that Avraham will daven for you). Other streams within Judaism support these practices. Anotehr way to understand the benefits of such a practice is kavod hamet. You honor the dead by choosing to come to their makom kevura and davening there. You also assert to Hashem that you are a person who has chosen to honor these particular men. In every culture, people pay respect to their dead at the cites of their burial. As Jews, we show God that the ancestors we honor are His tzaddikim.

I don't think there's anything AZ-like about going to a kever for inspiration. Whether other methods of achieving inspiration are possible is not relevant to whether this is alowable. I feel like if you can feel divine inspiration from a tree, or a flower, or a poem, or a song, why not from kever avot? Jews have honored the burial places of their ancestors for as far back as we go. Even if only as an act of imitation of the pracitces of our Avot, it's a meritorious thing.
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#3 Daniel

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 12:22 PM

The most impressive such place lies just outside of a town named Oshpitzin / Oswiecim / Auschwitz.

I don't have any words to describe that place. Imagine standing at the gravesite of not 1 tzadik, but more than a million. Imagine how they ended up there. And in what way.

#4 Kalashnikover_Rebbe

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 02:24 PM

Maybe this topic has been discussed before, but I dont have the patience to search throgh all of H.com (the search engine never works for me)

Why do we go to the graves of tzadikim to daven? I mean, I was discussing with someone the concept of going to Kever Rochel to daven for children. She said that many childless women find solace in Rochel Imanu, who was also unable to have children for a very long time. So what benefit is there in going to her grave-the only reason these women are comforted at all is because of what they know about Rochel through their study of tanach. If so, why not just pick up a chumash before davening? Theres not really any difference between davening right outside her kever (as many people hold that its assur to daven at the actual gravesite) and davening at your home. I appreciate these sites for the historical signifigance (although the truth is that many "keverim" that we go to are not the actual place where the person is buried) but religously, they do nothing for me. The most inspiring thing for me at Kever Rochel was the tefillah said before entering there, describing her life and all her nisyonos, but thats something that I could have said at home. It almost seems like going to the grave of a tzadik to "get inspiration" is borderline avodah zara. So...why do we go?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Oy Vey, I don't even know where to start......

First of all you brought up Kever Rachel. We need to understand why was Rachel Imenu even buried there? So that she would see her children going into exile and cry for them and G-d would eventually hear her prayer and return the Jewish People to Israel. This can be found in Rashi on the Chumash and a Meforash Nevuah from Yirmeyahu HaNavi.

So we see from here that Tzadikim do have an effect on THIS world even after they pass on to the next, and they are aware of the circumstances that are going on, especially in the physical area of their resting place, and that they can intercede to G-d for the sake of the Jewish People (even if they don't daven there, kal vchomer if they do)

2. Kalev took a detour from spying out the land in order to daven in the Maares Hamachpela in Hebron, in order to gain strength that he should not be influenced by them and their evil schemes.

We see from here that there is a Biblical (or at least on the level of remez or drash) precedent for going to pray at the site of our holy tzadikim for inspiration. Why couldn't Kalev daven wherever he was? Obviously there is an effect by going and davening davka THERE and not just reading about the Avos in a book. It is not clear whether it was a psychological thing that davening there inspired him, of whether the Avos actually had a direct part in granting that inspiration, but either way it is clear that there is benefit to going there.

3. There are examples of people actually ASKING the Tzadikim buried there to intercede on their behalf. One such example is again when Yirmiahu went to "wake the Avos up" in order that they intercede with G-d and prevent the Jewish People from being exiled. Here he does not merely daven there but asks the Avos directly to intercede. There may be other such examples, but these are off the top of my head.

From the above sources we see that at the very LEAST davening (or even visiting) the resting place of tzadikim has a positive effect even if only a psychological one.

Halacha has two positions on exactly HOW to daven there, but everyone agrees that it is a good thing.

One opinion is to daven to G-d that in the MERIT of the Tzadikim that He should be answer their prayers

The other is to ask the tzadik HIMSELF to daven to G-d on your behalf. One has to be careful with this not to daven to the tzadik or think that anything is coming from him.

We also see that Tzadikim can influence things after they are no longer living. For that alone it is worth it to visit kivri tzadikim even if just to say tehillim.
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