Rabbi Meir Baal Haness

Rabbi Baal Haness’ tomb is located at the southern part of Tiberias along the sea of Galilee coast. A synagogue split in two (Ashkenazi and Spharadic) was built above the tomb, where a special festival (Hilula) is held on every second Passover.
Rabbi Meir Bal Hanes was a fourth generation Tana and one of the most respected Jewish Sages during the time of the Mishnah (139-163). Rabbi Meir served as one of the main leaders in Israel during the generation following the Bar Kochba rebellion. He is buried in the outskirts of Tiberias, near the shores of the Kinneret. Rebbe Meir Baal Haness has a reputation of being a miracle worker even after his death. Many people have achieved salvation after a pilgrimage to his tomb or by offering a prayer and charity in his merit.
Rabbi Meir was one of the personalities who assured the continuation of the Jewish people following the Bar Kochba revolt. ‘When the Romans outlawed Torah study and observance, they executed Rabbis Akiva and Hananya ben Teradyon (Rabbi Meir’s father-in-law) for subversion. Rabbi Meir studied secretly with four others until they were found out by the Romans. Their teacher, Rabbi Abba, too old to flee quickly, urged them to abandon him. The students escaped to Babylonia, but their teacher
was killed. (Sanhedrin 13b)
When the persecution abated, Rabbi Meir returned to Israel to help renew Jewish learning and re-establish the Sanhedrin. He began codifying the oral law, the basis for the Talmud. The Mishna’s anonymous rulings are attributed to him. (Sanhedrin 86a) His colleagues called him Meir (he who brings light), saying thathe illuminated the eyes of Israel’s sages. (Eruvim 13b) Rabbi Meir stressed Torah study accompanied by worldy occupation and prayer. His wife, Bruria was a scholar in her own right. Rabbi Meir taught in the synagogue at Hamat Tiberias. His character is illuminated in the following legend once a woman who attended his lesson on Shabbat eve returned home after the candles had burned out her angry husband locked the door and refused to let her in until she ‘spat in the rabbi’s face.’  When Rabbi Meir learned of the incident he approached her in the market, saying he had something in his eye. He asked her to wash it out by spitting in his eye seven times, then sent her back to her husband.  His students were aghast. How, they asked, could he humiliate himself? Rabbi Meir answered that in the Torah (Numbers 5:11-31) God allows His name to be desecrated in order to bring peace between man and wife, and he was only following God’s example. (Vayikra’Raba 9)
Rabbi Meir is called Ba’al haNes, ‘the miracle worker” on account of this story from the Talmud. The Romans kidnapped Rabbi Meir’s sister-in-law and put her in a whore house. Rabbi Meir disguised himself as a Roman, found her, and saw she had avoided contact with her captors. He tried to bribe the guard to free, but the  guard feared he would be held responsible for missing prisoners. Rabbi Meir advised him to pay half of the bribe to his superior, and if found out, to say, “God of Rabbi Meir, save me!” Rabbi Meir then departed, walking past the ferocious guard dogs’ was pacified and the guard was persuaded. Later the guard was found out and condemned to death.As he stood with his head in the noose, he called, ‘G-d of Rabbi Meir, save me’ and the rope broke- (Avoda Zara 18a)
It is said that Rabbi Meir was buried standing up, waiting for the Messiah. The earliest mention of this site in Jewish sources dates from 1210.
There are two domes over the burial cave. The white-domed building is used by Sephardic Jewry. Its construction began in the mid-nineteenth century. It is said that a large pillar was uncovered in the courtyard and the men of Tiberias were unable to raise it, but later the pillar jumped up by itself. The blue-domed building is maintained by Ashkenazi Jews. Both are said to be built over the same burial cave.
The 14th of Iyar (a month after Passover) is celebrated as the anniversary of Rabbi Meir’s death. On that day thousands come and parade through the city and pray at his grave.
Location: Above the Hamat Tiberias Synagogue
Hours: 7:00-20:00 Sun-Thu