question for Jewish mamas about prayer - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 02-16-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there or has there ever been a Jewish practice of praying to dead people?
I ask because I saw a reference to "Rachel's Tomb" and that it was supposed that Rachel would pray for people - it is in this quote:

note on p. 87
"Rachel's tomb was on the roadside outside of Bethlehem; in modern times, however, the city has grown until the tomb is now inside it. Jacob chose that site because he foresaw that his own descendants would pass it on the road to the Babylonian exile, and Rachel would pray for them, as it is said concerning that tragic journey (Jeremiah 31:14): Rachel weeping for her children (Midrash). To this very day, it is a place where men and women shed tears and beg "Mother Rachel" to intercede with God on their behalf.
Tanach, edited by Rabbi Nosson Scherman*
The Artscroll Series
Published by Mesorah Publications, ltd.
Brooklyn, c. 1996
*contributing editors: Rabbi Yaakov Blinder, Rabbi Avie Gold, Rabbi Meir Zlotowitz
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#2 of 3 Old 02-16-2009, 04:53 PM
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The quick answer is that no, we never pray to dead people.

I need to get my son from school so I can't get more in-depth right now but hopefully someone else will answer first and explain what it means.
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#3 of 3 Old 02-17-2009, 01:07 AM
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I don't know much about Rachel's Tomb, but I do know we don't pray to dead people.

Rachel's tomb is a site where not only one of our 4 matriarchs is buried, but also a site with connections to the destruction of the First Temple. Because of this rich history, it's a site where people go to pray, to be close to G-d. There is a Midrash of Rachel speaking to G-d after the destruction of the First Temple, pleading with G-d to end our suffering. That's where that reference is from.

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