Holy Gravesites

Holy Gravesites

Birya - The Tanna Abba Shaul and his Wife

From the entrance to Safed, through Birya until the Ibikur intersection, left at the roundabout, along a dirt road into the Birya Forest, skirting Birya, from Road 866.

The Tanna Abba Shaul and his wife lived in the first generation of the Tannaic sages. It is customary to light candles here on Rosh Hodesh Iyar (the beginning of the Hebrew month of Iyar).


Kadita - Elkanah

How to get there:

From Road 866 between the Meron and Ein Zeitim intersections, by the Idra Cave, close to Kadita above a rocky terraced hill at the top of the mountain.

Elkana is one of the forty-eight Israelite prophets. He was the father of the prophet Shmuel and grandfather of the prophet Yoel, and lived around 890 BCE.


Safed – The Idra Cave

How to get there:

On Road 866 between the Meron and Ein Zeitim intersections, in Kiyumi, Moshav Meron, close to Kadita, now the site of a vineyard.

In the Idra Cave lie the graves of holy sages, among them the disciples of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai and also the sons of Rabbi Yossi ben Kisma. The entrance faces the gravesite of Elkanah, father of the prophet Shmuel, in the area known as Kiyumi. By the cave stands a very ancient olive tree, known as the Idra tree.



How to get there:

On Road 866, between the Hananya and Meron/Ein Zeitim intersections, at the foot of Mount Meron ( Mount Nerya or Jermak).

At Meron the graves of many holy men are located, as well as caves, the residential seat of a priestly division, an ancient synagogue, ancient house of study, a spring and rare medicinal herbs. In the season, a stream flows here. The area affords spectacular vistas and clear mountain air, fascinating trails, the ritual bath of the prophetess Devorah, the chair of the prophet Eliyahu, Tekoa Hag’lilit, the priestly division, Yehoyariv and more interesting sights.


Rav Hamnuna Saba

How to get there:

On Road 866 between the Hananya and Meron intersections, in the Meron car park at the entrance to the Amud stream. On the side of the mountain lies a cave within a cave. Between Meron and Kfar Shammai, there is a sign on the left-hand side of the road.

Rav Hamnuna Saba buried near Meron was the disciple of Rav. There is another Rav Hamnuna in Tiberias, buried together with Rabbi Hiya and his sons, Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Hizkiya, who were considered equal to Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov. The Talmud (Pesahim 105) mentions Rav’s disciples, including Rav Hamnuna Saba.


Kadita - Rabbi Tarfon

How to get there:

Road 866 from the Meron intersection to the Ein Zeitim intersection, in Kadita, by an ancient Palestinian oak, close to numerous jug-shaped wells. An olive tree plantation and hawthorn tree can be found there too.

Rabbi Tarfon, of priestly descent, was the teacher of Rabbi Yossi Hag’lili.

One of his sayings: “The day is short and the task is abundant, the labourers are lazy, the wage is great and the Master of the house is insistent.” (Avot2:15-16)


Kfar Hananya - Rabbi Yossi ben Halafta

How to get there:

From the Hananya intersection follow Road 85 to the Halafta intersection and on to Road 806.

Rabbi Yossi ben Rabbi Abba Halafta, a disciple of Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef. The prophet Eliyahu used to study with him.


Kadita - Rabbi Yossi ben Ya’akov

How to get there:

On Road 866 from the Meron intersection to the Ein Zeitim intersection, on the way from Rabbi Cruspedai the Amora to Rabbi Tarfon at Kadita. Rabbi Yossi ben Ya’akov was a disciple of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, one of the ten disciples known as the Holy Fellowship. It was in this cave that Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai lived.


Kfar Hananya - Rabbi Hananya ben Akashya

How to get there:

On Road 85, between the Hananya and Kedarim intersections, very close to the Halfata intersection. Rabbi Hananya ben Akashya, his wife and disciples are buried here. He was a friend of Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai. Buried by the cave is Rabbi Eliezer ben Ya’akov.

One of his sayings: “The Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to give Israel merit; therefore He gave them Torah and commandments in abundance, as is written: ‘The Lord desired, for the sake of Israel’s righteousness, to make the Torah be made great and mighty.’" (Makkot 3)


Safed – Rabbi Yehuda bar Ila

How to get there:

On Road 866 between the Meron and the Ein Zeitim intersections, close to the road on the right-hand side.

Rabbi Yehuda bar Ilai, a disciple of Rabbi Akiva, received rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Yehuda ben Babba. Buried together with his father Rabbi Ilai.

One of his sayings: “Be meticulous in study, for a careless misinterpretation is considered tantamount to wilful transgression.” (Avot 4:13)

His sons, Rabbi Shimon and Rabbi Yossi are also buried in the cave.

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