The Monument known as the “tomb of Zechariah”

It was named for the Prophet Zechariah who was killed in the Temple. (2 Chronicles 24:20-21). The Talmud Yerushalmi relates that this not only happened in the Temple, but it was Yom Kippur that coincided with Shabbat. The Talmud Bavli relates that his blood was unable to be cleaned from the Temple floor, and when the Babylonians came it began to boil. It was not appeased until many Jews lost their lives. It is not know for how long the site has been associated with the grave of Zechariah ben Yehoiada, but the earliest known source are the writings of Menachem HaChevroni in 1215.

Despite this the site has played a major role in the history of the Jewish people of Jerusalem. The site became associated with the destruction of the First Temple, Jews would go to mourn on the 9th of Av and read the the book of Lamentations there.  This site was also a focal point for prayers for assistance. There are two documented stories that told of Jews  congregating at the “tomb” to pray for rain during drought years (in the years 1651 and 1690) which succeeded in stopping the drought.

Designs in the structure would seem to indicate that the monument was constructed some time during the Hellenistic period. The structure is actually not a tomb but a monument called a “Nefesh” (Tomb stone) next to a tomb. It is thought to be associated with tombs of the Benei Hezir (2nd Chronicles 26:21) located adjacent to the monument.

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About The Torah Tour Guide

Yosef Back, a.k.a. “The Torah Tour Guide” has been a tour guide for over five years. Yosef seamlessly meshes together his yeshiva experience and his professional training to provide what he calls “Torah Tours”, which brings the Torah to life by experiencing the Land of Israel and thereby gaining an understanding of our traditions. He is thoroughly versed in Jewish history and sources relevant to the land of Israel, and has led numerous tours for institutions such as: Aish HaTorah, JLE, Hamercaz, PERI, Pisgah, Ohr Samayach Center Program, Beis Yaakov, and JEWEL. A graduate of the Ner Le’Elef Jewish Leadership Institute, Yosef received his rabbinical ordination from Yeshivas Aish HaTorah and from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of Jerusalem. His study of Judaism sparked his interest in Biblical archaeology that finds expression in his work as a tour guide and in his upcoming book “Abrahams Shard: A Jewish Perspective on Biblical Archeology.” Originally from Los Angeles, Yosef moved to Israel in 2001 he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children.
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