Visiting Graves of the Tzaddikim

Shavua Tov. We read today of the sin of the spies and how only Kalev and Yehoshua remained strong in their mission. They also spoke well of Eretz Yisrael.

A small detail is brought along the way of telling the story. The Torah says that Kalev stopped by at the holy city of Chevron, to pray at the grave of the patriarchs and matriarchs at מערת המכפילה. In essence, he was the first to pray at קברי צדיקים, the graves of the righteous.

In recent years, this practice of visiting the graves of saintly Jews, has become more widespread. One needs to be very careful not to turn this into עבודה זרה. We must follow the example of Kalev as to how to pray by these graves.

It is not the grave we are praying to. We are beseeching the holy individual’s buried there to pray on our behalf.According to Kabbalists, it is even a more auspicious time to pray on the Yahrtzeit of these people. Their souls come down and are more receptive to our requests for them to pray on our behalf.

In any case, visiting such graves is not meant to replace our praying directly to Hashem. It is simply an attempt to get a little help from the righteous who have departed.