The Tomb of Maimonides is a burial site in Tiberias where Maimonides, his father, his grandson, Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai, and other Jewish sages are buried. Also known as Rabbi Moshe Ben Maimon or Rambam, the Tomb of Maimonides is a popular pilgrimage destination for ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel.
Tomb of Maimonides
Before talking about the Tomb of Maimonides, let’s talk about Maimonides’ life! He was a learned Torah scholar, philosopher, physician, and codifier of Jewish law. Born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1135, Maimonides’ family fled Spain for Morocco due to religious persecution and eventually settled in Egypt. Maimonides became a doctor to Sultan Saladin, the Muslim ruler of Egypt and an authority on Jewish law.
Hamat Tiberias National Park
Moreover, the Rambam was educated in the teachings of Greek philosophers, rabbinical teachings, the Bible, and the Talmud. He was also well-versed in the sciences. His contribution to medicine included the recognition of psychosomatics in medical ethics and observations on the anatomy of the uterus.
His most famous works include the Guide to the Perplexed and the Mishnah Torah. He also composed the religious equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath as a prayer for healers. On his death in Egypt in 1204, he requested that his body rests in the Holy Land.
Praying at Rambam’s Grave
As with other tombs of great Jewish sages, the Tomb of Maimonides is visited by ultra-orthodox Jews from all over Israel to pray. The anniversary of Maimonides is the most popular time to pray at Rambam’s grave and on the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
Visiting Rambam’s Tomb in Tiberias
So visiting the Tomb of Maimonides is a humbling and sacred experience. The tomb is reached by a long walkway lined with columns inscribed with the titles of the 14 volumes of the Mishnah. At the end of the pathway, you’ll find an open-air courtyard covered by a large geometrically shaped sculpture representing a crown. It is in this courtyard that the Tomb of Maimonides is located, as well as the tombs of Yochanan ben Zakai (30 BCE -90 CE) and Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (1555-1630).
Be sure to visit the Maimonides Heritage Center next to the courtyard to learn more about the sage’s life, work, and legacy.