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Tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes

Rabbi Meir lived in the age of the sages of the Mishnah (2nd century CE). A dedicated student of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha, he is often quoted in the Mishnah and Talmud.

Many miraculous events are attributed to him, hence his title, “Baal HaNes” (master of miracles).

In a famous incident in the Talmud, Avodah Zarah 18a, he rescued his sister-in-law from a Roman prison. He convinced the guard to free her in exchange for a promise that saying, “G-d of Meir, answer me,” would save him in times of trouble. The guard’s life was in fact saved on more than one occasion, and for centuries many people have been saved from tragedy with this plea.

Another custom, giving charity in honor of Rabbi Meir, originated during an epidemic when he instructed the residents of Tiberias to give charity; those who did were saved. (Colel Chabad is a Rabbi Meir Baal HaNes charity.)

Jews have been making the pilgrimage to Rabbi Meir’s tomb since the 13th century; the blue-domed building, located near Tiberias’ hot springs (famed for their curative powers), became a special place to pray for healing and divine intervention.