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    Maimonides’ grave – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Is the purported grave of Maimonides in Tiberias genuine?

    A. At the time of Maimonides’ 800th anniversary in 1935 (the Rambam lived from 1135-1204), Professor Simcha Assaf (1889-1953), the great scholar and historian and later a judge of the Supreme Court of Israel, investigated all the available evidence that Maimonides was really buried in Tiberias.

    He found the Rambam’s name in a listing of graves in Eretz Yisra’el compiled about 1260, a poem from the same period referring to the Rambam being buried in Tiberias, and a statement of a traveller of the time that gives the location of the grave. A few decades later the rabbis of Tz’fat and Akko visited the grave in order to protest against Maimonides’ denigrators.

    Thus, though Maimonides died in Egypt, his remains must have been brought to Eretz Yisra’el, as had been the case with a number of other great Jews beginning with the patriarch Jacob. Indeed Maimonides himself had specifically stated in his Code (Hilchot M’lachim 5:11) that a Jew who is unable to settle in the Holy Land should at least arrange for his body to be buried there, and we have to presume that the sage himself took his own advice.

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