Vincent and Mackay

Moslem worshippers crouch beside the exquisitely ornate cupola that stands above an entrance (“A” on the plan) to the cave of Machpelah. Through this narrow entrance, the 12-year-old girl Michal entered and scouted the cave. In a sense, this daring act repeated a Moslem practice reported by Rabbi Ovadiah of Bartenura, a visitor to the shrine in 1488. “The Ishmaelites who came to prostrate themselves there (at the cave entrance) would make a monetary donation, which would be let down into the cave; and when they wished to descend and collect the money, they would lower a young boy down by a rope, and he would take the money and come up.”