Rochel Imainu, our mother, died as she was giving birth to her second son Binyamin. Before dying, she named him Ben Oni; the child of my pain. His father however called him Binyomin.
She died as Yaakov entered Eretz Yisroel and was buried in Bais Lechem which is about four miles southwest of Yerushalayim.
The medrash says that Hashem commanded Yaakov to bury her here so that the Jews would be able to pass her kever place on their way into exile and pray for their redemption. On account of her great deed of not allowing her sister to be embarrassed in public, Hashem would hasten the final redemption.
The original structure around her kever was built by Sir Moses Montefiore in 1841. After the war in ’48, the Arabs refused to allow the Jews to pray at this holy site. It was only after the Six Day War in ’67, with the west bank recaptured, that Jews could enter it freely once again. Thousands of people continue to stream to this holy place in order to beseech Hashem to fulfill their prayers in the great z’chus of our great mother Rochel. Praying here fills one with great awe and trepidation.
Nowadays, large cement barriers have been set up in front of the building in order to protect it from Arab terrorists. It’s a sad reminder of the golus we are still in.
In 1998 the entire kever was reconstructed and enlarged and now looks absolutely stunning.