Tverya (Tiberius)

Teverya, along with Yerushalayim, Tzfas and Chevron, is one of the four holy cities in Eretz Yisrael. It lies in the north, along the shores of the beautiful blue waters of the Kinneret, the lowest fresh water lake in the world. Its climate is warm and pleasant all year round and it is famous for its hot springs called the Chamei Teverya which are world renowned for their curative powers.

After the destruction of the second Bais Ha’Mikdosh, the Sanhedrin moved here (after first being in Tzipori). The Gemorah says that the name Teverya means navel, since it is located in the very center of the country (or perhaps because it was the center of Torah study during those times). The Rambam writes that the Sanhedrin will be reinstated here before the coming of Moshiach and from here it will move on to Yerushalayim.

It was here that both the Mishnah and later the Talmud Yerushalmi were completed. Many of the tannayim and amoro’im lived here.

During the Shmitta year of 749 C.E. an earthquake destroyed many towns as well as the city of Teverya.

At the beginning of Turkish rule, Suleiman the Magnificent granted it to a Jew by the name of Don Yosef Nasi who once again established a Jewish community there. Over the years many Jews of many different backgrounds came to live here. The city was shaken by an earthquake in 1759 and then again in 1837, yet the population continued to increase. In 1948, the Arabs fled and the city was liberated.

The city contains many holy graves and burial caves including the burial sites of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, Rebbi Akiva and his wife Rochel, Rebbi Meir Baal Ha’ness, the Rambam as well as his his father, Rabbi Dovid Hanagid, the Shela Ha’kodosh, Rav Kahana, the Ramchal-Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Rabbi Chiyya and his sons, Rabbi Yirmiyahu, Rebbi Yochanan ben Nappaha, Rebbi Ami, Rebbe Ashi, Bilah, Zilpah (Yaacov’s wives), Yocheved (Moshe’s mother), Tziporah (Moshe’s wife), Miriam (Moshe’s sister), Elisheva bas Aminadav (Aharon’s wife), as well as many more great tzaddikim who are buried in the ancient cemetery at the beginning of town.

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