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Israel’s Four Holy Cities

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The four holy cities in Israel for the Jews are Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat, and Tiberias. They were determined during the 17th century, during the time of the Ottoman Empire. We’ll write what’s special about them, unlike the other main cities in Israel and explain a little bit about each one. Here are the four holy cities for Judaism.

The concept of the four holy cities started in 1640. It started as a way to gather donations for bible students and poor people in Israel. In 1640, there were only 3 cities and Tiberias joined them in 1740. They are called the holy cities of Israel because they were the centers of the Jewish people during their exiles, they have many spiritual monuments and many important people were buried in those cities.

These cities had the most Israeli born Jews from the beginning of the exile till the 19th century. Most of them lived off the money that was provided to them from those donations.

More cities wanted to join the concept but they weren’t included. The grave of Joseph the righteous is located in Neboulos, Bethlehem has Rachel, Rabbi Yohana Ben Zakai renewed the Sanhedrin in Yavne which gives it its own special importance.

Jerusalem

Well, Jerusalem is definitely a holy city. The first and second (and according to some prophecies, the third) Temples were built in Jerusalem. King Solomon built the first one and Zrubavel built the second. The importance of Jerusalem for Jews is mentioned in many places in the Bible. it’s the center of the Jewish faith.

Jerusalem

Hebron

The cave of Machpelah is located in the middle of the holy city in Hebron. According to the Jewish faith, Adam, Eve, Abraham, Izack, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah were buried here. It’s the first property Abraham bought in Israel. This is the place where David started to rule; eventually moving to Jerusalem.

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The cave of Machpelah. Credit: Dr. Avishay Taicher, Pikiwiki website

Tiberias

 The last place of the Sanhedrin. It was the center of the Jewish faith after the demolition of The Second Temple. There are some famous rabbis buried there like Rabi Meir, Rabi Akiva, the Rambam (Rabbi Mimon) and the Ramchal (Rabbi Lutzato). Many wise biblical figures that wrote the Talmud lived there and the people that signed how to read the Bible. It is located right on the Galilee sea.

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Tzfat

Last of the four holy cities for Israel joined in because it’s one of the strongest centers of wise Bible students in several different generations. A lot of great rabbis are buried in there like Rabbi Shimon Bar Yuhai.

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Credit: Shlomit Mesika, Pikiwiki website

The Four Holy Cities of Israel could be Great Tourist Attractions

If you want to learn about the Jewish culture, especially about the one that developed after the fall of the Second Temple. In every one of these cities, there’s a sense of spirituality. You could come to Israel and check out the guides we have for traveling in Israel.