Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Visitation stones

just a quick post today. this was at a cemetery we visited back in march, when it was still cold out (most days). i have yet to look up where exactly this cemetery is. its located directly next to the highway and you really have to know its there (we knew approximately, so that was a bit scary to get off when you suddenly see it, but the only entrance is directly from the highway. the cemetery itself was rather boring. not too old, it seemed, and most stones had the same shape and just the names, hardly any text. (perhaps next week i show you a grave, if i can find an interesting one).
as it is a jewish cemetery, many gravestones were topped with visitation stones. i just looked up why those stones are left on graves. most likely this is a custom from earlier times, when bodies were put into the ground, covered with some dirt, and then on top of that large stones would be placed in order to prevent wild animals from destroying the remains. whenever people would visit the grave, they would continue to place stones. both to keep the remains protected as well as to build up "the memory" of the person buried. nowadays bodies dont need to be protected from animals anymore as they are buried better, but leaving stones became a custom. there could also be another explanation, as you can read here.
this cemetery provides such small pebbles for visitors to place on graves; they are in the box above. this box, and its text to me represent exactly whats wrong with the us of a. they spell out what potentially perhaps possibly might go wrong when you place larger stones than the ones they provide. really?! i continue to be amazed that americans put up with this kind of nonsense. same with not allowing people under 21, or people who cannot prove that they are 21 with an official document, to drink alcohol (or even enter a cafe where alcohol is present). and while americans put up with this (or the fact that they cannot drink alcohol while sitting in a park or having a bbq somewhere at the beach (if thats even allowed, usually its not)), they do sue the government for making the purchase of health insurance mandatory, since "that goes against their freedom", and "that is exactly what this country is founded on". hmmm, i could go on and on about this. better leave it at this for now... :)
tim is back from his conference, but i guess he didnt see yesterdays post yet, so maybe i should tell him i did miss him... :)
more taphophilia here!!

11 comments:

biebkriebels said...

A stupid sign indeed, people must be free to put a pebble on a grave. An overprotected society, where pebbles are more dangerous than rifles apparently.

Manon said...

It doesn't say you HAVE to use one of the stones provided, you can still BYOS, even when it's bigger than one inch ;) But I guess the caretaker was hit once too often by a launched pebble and felt the need to add the explanation to the courtesy box...

Julie said...

Yes, there are aspects of life in the USA that puzzle me, too. The adulation of 'freedom' is just one such area.

This is such a useless sign, and would in no way, change the 'duty of care' that the maintenance team would have to those people actually using this cemetery to visit the dead. What do they call the mainenance peopl "cemetery care providers'?

I do not go often into modern areas of the cemeteries that I visit. I love the old old old stories.

CaT said...

@biebkriebels; exactly my thoughts!!

@manon; well.... i really wonder about that

@julie; we had no clue what kind of cemetery it was, had seen it once while driving by (or that there was an entrance to it). somehow i expected something nice and hidden. but well, directly next to the highway, i should not have expected anything!!

Dina said...

Oi veh! How funny. I have never heard our pebbles called Visitation Stones.
Here in Israel Jewish cemeteries have no grass to cut and the rocky ground is "self-serve" for finding stones to put on the graves.

Tim said...

americans promote freedom, then take it away in the name of. this country is a sad hypocrisy.

Nicola Carpenter said...

It's 'ealth and saftey, innit!

We have a lot of that here in the UK, except in the interests of saftey for visitors and 'cemetery care' people, our councils and parish councils go about pushing over momuments and styones that lean or look a bit iffy, like that may fall on someone. The council say that they lay the stones with the information facing up,but I know thise to be unture.

Beneath Thy Feet

VioletSky said...

at first I laughed at this notice (and its run on sentence). then I wondered how far a stone would 'fall' and why the mower is getting so close to the grave marker anyway.

Dina said...

Yeah, it's just an ancient custom, putting a stone on the grave. Maybe to keep the animals from digging up the body. Or--as I remember my rabbi quipping half a century ago--"maybe it was to keep the spirits IN !" i.e. so they would not come out and haunt or visit the living.

Kay said...

Some of the paradoxes, in my humble opinion, are a lack of critical thinking. People go brain dead watching tv and then substitute slogans for analysis. Then others, who react to zombie behaviors, think it's necessary to tell people what to do since they don't seem to have the sense to work it out themselves.

hamilton said...

hmm, I would think the smaller stones would be more of a hazard. but it is nice of them to provide stones as Catholic churches provide candles.