An Ancient Custom

In Judaism, there are laws and customs. Placing pebbles on a tombstone is a custom, not a law. However, it’s widely practiced and for relatively the same reasons that headstones are placed. From the time Jacob set a stone at the burial place of his beloved wife, Rachel.

The stone is a sign that the living remember the dead. The pebbles on the stone are like the headstone itself; they are signs that this is a pious family who visits the grave of their loved one.

Tombstone of the Tobkes parents

The main idea here is that Judaism encourages mourning and visiting the graves of loved ones, but it does not encourage doing this so often that you lose your focus on life. Some Jews don’t leave pebbles on tombstones, but rather a clump of grass. We are born, grow old and die, just as grass grows and dies with the seasons.

But the guy who mows the lawn in the cemetery prefers you use the clumps of grass because they don’t shoot out of his mower and chip the tombstones.

Solve the problem…get cremated.

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