Tombsite of Nachum Ish-Gamzu
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by Chana Katz
Whether it's raining or scorching sun, this too is a good time to visit
the tombsite of Nachum Ish Gamzu. And not just because the famous Mishnaic
sage would always say of everything that befell him: "Gam zu l'tovah"
- "this too is for the good."
Anyone who has not lately visited the gravesite of the sage who served
as Rabbi Akiva's mentor and teacher for 22 years will be pleasantly surprised
to see the redwood pavilion and other accommodations recently added to
It used to be that one could drive right past the grave on Ish Gamzu
Street in southern Safed and miss it with a blink. Perched in the middle
of a pretty, tree-filled residential neighborhood, the simple stone wall
surrounding the grave and the five steps leading up to it, were very unobtrusive.
Now, the attractive pavilion provides a wooden canopy overhead, benches
for entire tour groups to sit comfortably and shelves with books for prayers
Still, the opening of the grave itself is only wide enough for one or
two to huddle directly in front of it. On a recent day, a young mother
who lives not too far away came to pray there with her two young children.
She visits the site often.
Two famous stories from the Talmud featuring Nachum Ish Gamzu are inscribed
in stone along the outer walls of his gravesite.
Visitors hope to gain a glimmer of Nachum's noted conviction that not
only is everything that happens "eventually" for the good, but
that the very moment and thing that is happening "is also" for
[Chana Katz, a former South FLorida journalist, lives in Tsfat. Her
articles on life in Israel have reached publications throughout the world.]