Tombs of the Kabbalists

Cemetery in Tsfat

The graves of many of Tsfat’s greatest sages and Kabbalists are about one-third of the way down the slope of the Ancient Jewish Cemetery, just below a solitary pine tree in an area where the converging double walkways are covered with transparent roofing. If you can’t read Hebrew, ask passersby for help in finding the tomb of Yitzhak Luria (Isaac Luria; born in Jerusalem in 1534, died in Tsfat in 1572), aka HaAri, the father of modern Jewish mysticism (Lurianic Kabbalah).

Near the tomb of Luria is that of Shlomo Alkabetz (born in Thessalonika c 1500, died in Tsfat in 1580), best known for composing the hymn ‘Lecha Dodi’. Yosef Caro (born in Toledo in 1488, died in Tsfat in 1575), the most important codifier of Jewish law, is buried about 100m further down the hill. In 2017 a tomb believed to be that of the great Spanish poet, biblical commentator and philosopher Abraham ibn Ezra (1089–1167) was discovered.