Pebble

Mike Shell

Jacksonville, United States

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Pebble on a Jewish gravestone, Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville, FL (8/12/2012)

Accepted into “Abstract Realism” (8/15/2012)
Accepted into “Amazing Graves” (10/27/2012)

Rabbi David Volpe offers one explanation of the tradition of placing pebbles on grave stoneshttps://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/puttin...

“In ancient times, shepherds needed a system to keep track of their flocks. On some days, they would go out to pasture with a flock of 30; on others, a flock of 10. Memory was an unreliable way of keeping tabs on the number of the flock. As a result, the shepherd would carry a sling over his shoulder, and in it he would keep the number of pebbles that cor­responded to the number in his flock. That way he could at all times have an accurate daily count.

“When we place stones on the grave and inscribe the motto above on the stone, we are asking God to keep the departed’s soul in His sling. Among all the souls whom God has to watch over, we wish to add the name—the ‘pebble’—of the soul of our departed.

“There is something suiting the antiquity and solidity of Judaism in the symbol of a stone. In moments when we are faced with the fragility of life, Judaism reminds us that there is permanence amidst the pain. While other things fade, stones and souls endure.”

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urban cemeteries

Artwork Comments

  • Fara
  • Mike Shell
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