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The Ancient tradition of erecting a Matzevah (Monument)

“And Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrat which is Beit Lechem.

And Jabob erected a tombstone on Rachel’s grave.” (Genesis 5:19-20) 

The Hebrew word for a gravestone is “Matzevah” meaning to guard or bear witness. Inscribed stones define the final resting-place as a physical space, a place to visit.  

A tombstone is erected on the grave because, unlike living organisms, a stone does not grow by itself.  A stone, therefore, is symbolic of a soul that can no longer acquire merits and elevate itself; after the demise of the body.  However, good deeds of the living, performed in the merit of the deceased, can elevate his or her soul.

A marked grave is a symbol of honour for the deceased and has 3 reasons behind it:

  1. To mark the place of burial, so that Kohanim (priests) may avoid defilement from the dead--a ritual impurity that the Bible prohibits. For this purpose only a simple marker would be required.

  2. To designate the grave properly, so that friends and relatives may visit it. For this, what is required is only the name of the individual on a modest stone.

  3. To serve as a symbol of honour to the deceased buried beneath it. For this purpose one should erect as respectable a monument as the heirs can afford, avoiding unnecessary ostentation.

The expense for the monument is technically considered part of the burial costs. Thus, it is an obligation that the heirs assume, whether or not funds were left for this purpose. Even if the decedent willed that no stone be erected, his behest is not heeded. The cost, the size, shape and lettering of the monument should be determined by the monies available to the family and the type of monument generally used in that particular cemetery. One should do honour to the deceased, but one should not use funds for the monument which are needed for living expenses.

 

Creating a Monument

Designing a monument for a loved one can be both a painful experience as well as a cathartic closure of sorts.

Most individuals are surprised when they discover there are many decisions that need to be made in the selection process. Cemeteries have rules and restrictions in regard to size, composition and design for each of the sections within their cemetery. There are many different types and colours of memorials and various shapes that can be used to compliment your monument choice.

All our monuments are custom built to your specific needs and unique design.  We have a large selection of granites in various shades and colours and have extensive experience in matching and replicating to existing monument designs and colours.

Melbourne Chevrah Kadisha  has numerous laws and regulations regarding the specifications of the Monuments as well as the wording of the inscriptions.

We can ensure that your monument and inscription meets all the legal requirements and specifications avoiding you the somewhat complicated process.

All necessary permits and applications are filled out and lodged by our expert team.

Our monuments are all built to conform with, and are installed according to, the Australian Standards specified in “AS4204-1994 Headstone and Cemetery Monuments".