Psycho-Babble Faith Thread 1011

Shown: posts 1 to 13 of 13. This is the beginning of the thread.

 

Would anyone like to tell me why....

Posted by alii on October 4, 2002, at 23:58:51

...stones are left on a jewish gravesite when one visits. I do this, and just did on Sunday, when I visit my father's grave marker and because he was jewish I place a few pebbles from the surrounding area on his marker to 'say I was there'.

Is there a custom behind this?

--Alii

 

Re: Would anyone like to tell me why....

Posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 0:28:52

In reply to Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by alii on October 4, 2002, at 23:58:51

Hi, Alii:
There is no religious significance to this act; it is merely a custom (a very old custom, at that). It has several meanings- as a token of respect, and as a way of showing others that the grave has been visited (a way of saying "I was there," as you described it very well). Why stones? Who knows? The best explanation is that they last longer on the tombstone than flowers and won't blow away easily. Also, perhaps in time past flowers were expensive and difficult to obtain. Some of my earliest memories are of visiting my grandparents graves with my father and placing stones on the tombstones, and my father explaining to me why we were doing this.
Hope that answers your question!


> ...stones are left on a jewish gravesite when one visits. I do this, and just did on Sunday, when I visit my father's grave marker and because he was jewish I place a few pebbles from the surrounding area on his marker to 'say I was there'.
>
> Is there a custom behind this?
>
> --Alii

 

Re: Would anyone like to tell me why.... alii

Posted by Dinah on October 5, 2002, at 0:34:53

In reply to Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by alii on October 4, 2002, at 23:58:51

I checked at Ask a Rabbi and here is the link.

http://www.jewish.com/askarabbi/askarabbi/askr4663.htm

Dinah

 

Re: Would anyone like to tell me why....

Posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 0:44:12

In reply to Re: Would anyone like to tell me why.... alii, posted by Dinah on October 5, 2002, at 0:34:53

I like the shepard story, Dinah.
Thanks!

 

Re: Would anyone like to tell me why.... ayrity

Posted by Dinah on October 5, 2002, at 1:02:40

In reply to Re: Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 0:44:12

You're welcome ayrity. I just love that site!

 

why flowers are not left on the grave

Posted by BeardedLady on October 5, 2002, at 11:14:00

In reply to Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by alii on October 4, 2002, at 23:58:51

When I was little, I was told that we were not supposed to put flowers on the graves because they were living things, and we weren't supposed to associate that with death. I later learned that, because flowers die, it makes it look like no one has visited in a while. A pile of rocks, on the other hand, stays put and simply accumulates.

My husband and I leave rocks we've collected from around the world, ones that have special meaning for us and are beautiful.

I visited the graves at Dachau concentration camp and was appalled to see the flowers; I thought it so disrespectful. Then I realized it wasn't a world-wide Jewish custom. It's funny how our world-views are really narrow little windows.

My favorite custom is the covering of the mirrors, so mourners can't see their grief.

long-winded beardy

 

thank you all for your answers (nm)

Posted by alii on October 5, 2002, at 11:46:28

In reply to why flowers are not left on the grave, posted by BeardedLady on October 5, 2002, at 11:14:00

 

Re: why flowers are not left on the grave

Posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 14:09:49

In reply to why flowers are not left on the grave, posted by BeardedLady on October 5, 2002, at 11:14:00

> My husband and I leave rocks we've collected
> from around the world, ones that have special
> meaning for us and are beautiful.

That's a beautiful tradition.


> My favorite custom is the covering of the
> mirrors, so mourners can't see their grief.
> long-winded beardy

Although that might be part of the reason, the real explanation of this act is that during shiva, when a minyan is held and Kadish is recited at home (in fact, during any prayer), there are not supposed to be any human figures visible that might violate the rule against idolatry- hence, no figure paintings, sculptures,photographs, etc. in an observant schul. This applies to mirrors,too, in which one might see a human image during prayer, so they are covered during the shiva period, when prayers are said frequently at home.

 

it's funny how things are learned. ayrity

Posted by BeardedLady on October 5, 2002, at 14:48:50

In reply to Re: why flowers are not left on the grave, posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 14:09:49

I quit Sunday school when I was 12, so I missed a lot of the formal teachings! My granparents taught me about the mirrors, and they also taught me that we didn't want to pair flowers, of the living world, with death. Otherwise, when we look at flowers, we'll think of death. (She was sort of right when it comes to Glads!)

I had always thought Judaism was somewhat gentle because of these particular traditions.

beardy

 

Re: Would anyone like to tell me why....

Posted by john-paul on October 5, 2002, at 17:01:24

In reply to Re: Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by ayrity on October 5, 2002, at 0:28:52

piles of stones were ancient grave markers,'ebenizer'(sp)it is an honour to the deceased to place a stone there. Jewish customs are very symbolic

 

Thanks, Pope. (nm) john-paul

Posted by BeardedLady on October 5, 2002, at 18:46:04

In reply to Re: Would anyone like to tell me why...., posted by john-paul on October 5, 2002, at 17:01:24

 

A warm, kind, and thoughtful custom that is... (nm) Dinah

Posted by Ritch on October 5, 2002, at 22:27:14

In reply to Re: Would anyone like to tell me why.... alii, posted by Dinah on October 5, 2002, at 0:34:53

 

Re: A warm, kind, and thoughtful custom that is...

Posted by snood on November 22, 2002, at 12:14:35

In reply to A warm, kind, and thoughtful custom that is... (nm) Dinah, posted by Ritch on October 5, 2002, at 22:27:14

Ask a Rabbi is a very good site. Whenever I need to know anything, though, I look at a wonderful book that I bought before I was married (to a man with a Jewish family). "The Jewish Book of Why"
(I hope I linked it to Amazon...) It came in handy when my husbands step-mother died, and I wish I had the boxed set. My husband is Christian, and he didn't know any of the customs....and I mean ANY. LOL


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