Monday, March 15, 2010

Mt.of Olives Cemetery

I don't remember the last time I had visited a grave on the Mt. of Olives. Yes, I'd been to Ibrahim's home, but he lives in the neighborhood of the living.  I guess I don't know that many holy people.  The Mt. of Olives is the world's oldest and holiest Jewish cemetery dating from biblical times.  Many holy rabbis over the centuries have been buried there.  Even Madonna visited one of the Kabbalah rabbis, when she was here with the Kabbalah center. 

This past Friday, however, was the anniversary of my friend's son's death 5 years ago.  He had a rare genetic thing, which left him, since birth, severely handicapped.  He never walked or spoke.  When he died at the age of 14, he was buried in the Mt. of Olives in a special plot for holy children - those who never spoke bad about anyone.  It is a special merit to be buried there because space is limited and is usually reserved for renowned rabbis these days.  Legend has it that when the resurrection happens, people buried there will be resurrected first.

It was tough on my friend to visit his grave.  She lost a son.  It is always tough for the living.  She knows he is fine, not trapped in a very handicapped body.  When she dreams about him, he even speaks to her - something he never did when he was alive.  I looked around at the gravestones.  Some were so tiny - the babies must have been a few days, weeks or months when they died.  Someone pointed out that right behind my friend's son's grave were the graves of the two Holzberg children - the children of the Chassidic couple that was killed during the Mumbai massacre a couple of years ago by Islamic extremists.  They had died of illness before the tragedy with their parents occurred.  Now they have no parents visiting their graves - only a 4 year old brother and grandparents. 

After we read the psalms and the quorum of 10 men left, the mother and a few of her friends stayed on to sit and keep this young soul of her son some company.  We listened to the mother grieve for her son, for her loneliness and some shared what they felt too.

grieving for a loved one

 I felt serene and there was an atmosphere of contentment sitting around the little souls.

tiny grave

 There were red poppies growing wild by unmarked graves. 

I looked at the Holzberg graves and told my friend that her son and this boy were now friends and learning chassidut together.  


Patty said...

I really enjoy your blog, when I come here I can see how other countries and cultures are and it's very enlightening. Thank you for posting.

Ernest Josep Munt said...

felicidades por el blog.