Cave of the Patriarchs

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The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah (Hebrew: מערת המכפלה, Me'arat HaMachpela, Trans. "Cave of the Double Tombs"; Arabic: المغارةAl Magharah, "the Cave") is a series of subterranean caves located in a complex called by Muslims the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque (Arabic: الحرم الإبراهيمي‎, About this sound Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi ). The name is either a reference to the layout of the burial chamber, or alternatively refers to the biblical couples, i.e.: cave of the tombs of couples.

The compound, located in the ancient city of Hebron, is the second holiest site for Jews, (after the Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and is also venerated by Christians and Muslims, both of whom have traditions which maintain that the site is the burial place of three Biblical couples: (1) Abraham and Sarah; (2) Isaac and Rebecca; (3) Jacob and Leah. According to the Midrash and other sources, the Cave of the Patriarchs also contains the head of Esau,[1] and according to some Islamic sources it is also the tomb of Joseph. Though the Bible has Joseph buried in Shechem (the present-day Palestinian city of Nablus), Jewish aggadic tradition conserved the idea that he wished to be interred at Hebron, and the Islamic version may reflect this.[2] The Jewish apocryphal book, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, also states that this is the burial place of Jacob's twelve sons.[3]

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