Tomb of Honi Hame’agel

October 21st 2014

When visiting the tomb of Honi Hame’agel, Honi the circle drawer, you’ll be captivated by the story of a great sage in Israel to whom God listened and granted his multiple requests. Honi Hame’agel lived 2,100 years. One year, the Land of Israel experienced a terrible drought. Messengers were dispatched to Honi Hame’agel, requesting that he pray for rain. Honi prayed, but no rain fell. So he drew a large circle around himself in the dry dust, stood in the middle of the circle and beseeched God a second time, saying that he would not move from his place inside the circle until rain came.

A little rain fell, but the messengers explained that it was insufficient to solve the problem of the drought. So Honi prayed a third time, this time specifically asking for enough rain to “fill wells, pools and caves.” Exceedingly heavy rain fell at his request and the messengers implored Honi to get it to stop, since this kind of heavy rain would only cause destruction.

A fourth time, Honi prayed and asked for normal rain that brings blessing. The normal rain fell for such a long time, the people of Israel had to escape to higher ground to avoid the flooding. The messengers returned and asked Honi to pray that the rain should cease. A fifth time, Honi prayed for the Jewish people. His prayer stopped the rain and brought out the sun. One of Honi Hame’agel’s colleagues was very angry and wanted to excommunicate Honi for speaking to God in such a manner, but gave up when he realized that Honi had found favor in the Eyes of God.

Visitors traditionally recite Psalms at his tomb, believing that Honi’s spirit brings their prayer requests before God. The tomb is located outside the town of Hazor HaGlilit in the Hula Valley in the foothills of the Naftali Mountains. Look for the model of Honi’s famous circle. The cave containing his tomb is generally locked, but a small building was constructed over it so people can come and pray for their personal needs. Take the steps up to the nearby hill and enjoy the view of the Hula Valley and the Golan. Nearby are the graves of Honi’s grandsons Hanan HaNehba and Abba Hilkiah. The building outside the tomb contains a mikvah, a school for young boys and a yeshiva for married men.