Re: Information on tombstones #belarus

Gene and Ellen Sucov <genellen@...>

Dear Susan, First,with regard to the 5 Hebrew letters at the bottom of the
tombstone. Ofer Cohen, in his posting yesterday, gave the translation and
meaning of those letters as follows: "the Hebrew letters: Tav Nun Tzadik
Bet Heh" which stand for Tehe Nishmato Tzrura Bitzror Hakhayim - may his
soul be connected to the living ones - is written on all the Jewish
Second, with regard to the symbol of two hands. The fingers of the
hands are arranged with the thumb separated >from the other 4 fingers; the 4
fingers are in 2 groups, 2 fingers in each group. These form loosely, the
Hebrew letter "shin". The symbol is used to signify that the deceased was
of the priestly class, a Cohen. In Orthodox congregations the Cohen, or
descendant of a Cohen, was granted special priveleges. He was called to the
read >from the Torah first (out of the 7 men so honored on Shabbat) and
secondly, he and other Cohanim were authorized to chant the priestly
blessing over the congregation. During this chanting ceremony, the Cohen
would cover his head and arms with his prayer shawl (tallit) and stretch
his arms out over the congregation, making the sign of the double "shin",
and recite the blessing (with prompting >from a Levite).
You can find more information on these and other practises of Orthodox
Jews in any basic book on Jewish customs.
Sincerely, Gene Sucov

----- Original Message -----
From: Susan Chernin <Susan.Chernin@...>
To: JewishGen Discussion Group <jewishgen@...>
Cc: <belarus@...>
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2000 5:20 PM
Subject: Information on tombstones

My cousin Rachel and I took advantage of a long visit over the Passover
holidays to visit various cemeteries in the Philadelphia Area. We have
the following questions

Several of the men in our family as well as other male graves had two
hands engraved on them, sometimes palms up and sometimes down with the
fingers grouped in two distinct groups. Can anyone tell us what this
Several male tomb stones had five distinct Hebrew letters at the bottom.
The letters were the same in each case. Does any one know what this
We lso saws this on the stones of men who were nol in our family

thank you

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