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  |  May 30, 2020

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Why Place Pebbles on Tombstones

Question for the rabbi: I noticed that small rocks or pebbles are placed on top of Jewish gravesite. What is the reason for this? Full Story

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Yosi Piamenta, 64, OBM

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The Rebbe
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The Rebbe

The Rebbe was never seen placing a pebble on the Previous Rebbe’s tombstone.

Another reason
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Another reason

אבן is letters of two words
אב
בן
So putting an אבן reminds us of the chain and our responsibility in filling out parents role

Great article
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Great article

Please post more of these

to # 1
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to # 1

The Rebbe was ALWAYS at the ohel! no need to place a stone!

Sometimes yes
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Sometimes yes

I do know that the Rebbe instructed someone to place a stone on a matzeiva.
If the reason was because that person had no close relatives I don’t know

What this article is and is not about
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What this article is and is not about

This article is about the origin of the practice and does not propose that it is Chabad custom. The Rebbe did tear grass and throw over his shoulder. But I am not certain that he always did it. Someone who knows can enlighten us.

Rebbe
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Rebbe

There is a printed handwriting of the Rebbe (in hebrew) saying that he has never heard of that custom.

Burial years ago
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Burial years ago

I heard that the origin of this tradition is that years ago in the time of the mishna and before, people were not buried in the ground but rather in a cave and stones were put on top of them. Putting more stones on them helped with the burial as it covered them more so it was a mitzvah to add stones. Eventually, the body decayed and the bones remained. After a year, if the family was rich, they placed the bones into a stonebox and the bones fossilized into the stone. Today, we bury the dead in the ground… Read more »

Re: #8 Burial years ago
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Re: #8 Burial years ago

Bones don’t “fossilize” into the stone. In the ground through a process of bone tissue leaching out and various minerals replacing the bone material on a molecular level, over a long period of time, the bones can actually become stone, yet retain their originally shape and look. This is what also occurred to the trees in the Petrified Forest in Arizona, which are trees whose material has turned into stone by the long term replacement of the wood with minerals leaching into their place.

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