Ever since her passing, thousands of men, women, and children have journeyed to the Tomb of Rachel (Kever Rochel) to request her intercession on their behalf. The barren pray for children. The sick pray for health. The lost and the troubled pray for release and relief. And no one ever leaves empty-handed. For Imeinu (Our Mother) always gives her blessings.
Jacob must have known that her resting place would become, like Jerusalem, a destination for pilgrims. Therefore, the Bible writes, "Over her grave Jacob put up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day." (Genesis 35:20-21)
According to the Jewish sages, the original monument was a pillar of 13 stones. Each of Jacob's 12 sons placed a stone on Rachel's grave, with Jacob's stone on top. It remained there, on the side of the road, for hundreds of years. From the Byzantine period (fifth century C.E.) until the 1800's, Rachel's Tomb consisted of an open dome. In 1841, Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the Tomb, constructed an anteroom, and enclosed the dome.
Today, Rachel's Tomb has been surrounded by a building complete with reinforced concrete barriers and guard towers, but the ancient interior remains pure and seemingly unaffected by time or technology.
In the year 2000, Mosdos Kever Rachel were created, renewing learning at Rachel's Tomb by helping to establish a Yeshiva, which offers daily classes and leads prayer services in the afternoons and evenings.
Special events are held by Mosdos Kever Rachel each month for the general public and personally serve food to Israeli soldiers stationed at and around the tomb area.
Mosdos Kever Rachel has raised some money, but has gone into substantial debt with bus payments nearing several hundred thousand dollars. They say the satisfaction of keeping the tomb alive is more than worth their monetary efforts.
"Thankfully, Rachel's Tomb is busy again and cannot be put aside or given up,"
The institute also opened a hotline in Israel and in U.S.(1-888-276-2435), taking calls 24-hours-a-day from those around the world in need of a prayer at the tomb. Individuals can sponsor a day, week or month of learning, or the recital of the entire Sefer Tehillim in their honor.