תפלת אחר הקמת המצבה, מנהג ק״ק פרעסבורג יצ״ו | Prayer after the Unveiling of a Tombstone, according to the custom of the Jewish community of Pressburg

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אחר הקמת המצבה
יש שאומרים תפלה זו,
מנהג ק״ק פרעסבורג יצ״ו
[After unveiling the tombstone
this prayer is recited
according to the custom of the holy community of the Jews of Pressburg, yts”v[1]יִשְׁמְרֵיהוּ צוּרוֹ וִיחַיֵּהוּ “May their Rock keep them and grant them life.” Kehilat Kodesh Pressburg, a/k/a Pozsony/Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia]

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ אֱלֹהֵי הַנְשָׁמוֹת.
שֶׁתִּפְקוֹד בְּרַחֲמִים אֶת נִשְׁמַת……
אֲשֶׁר הִצַבְנוּ מַצֵבָה עַל קְבוּרָתוֹ/קְבוּרָתָה.
May it be your will, elo’ah of all souls,
to mercifully account for the soul of _____,
upon whose burial spot we have erected a standing-monument[2]matzeva means lit a standing rock, from n.tz.v, to stand in place.

עֵד הַגַל הַזֶה
וְעֵדַת הַמַצֵבָה
כִּי לֹא יִשְׁכַּח זִכְרוֹ/זִכְרָהּ
וְלֹא יִמָחֶה שְׁמוֹ/שְׁמָהּ מִיִשְׂרָאֵל.
וְהָאֶבֶן הַזֹאת אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי מַצֵבָה
יְהֵא בְּבֵית עָלְמִין
לְזֵכֶר עוֹלָמִים.
This cairn is a witness.
Let its testimony be
that their memory never be forgotten
and their name never erased from Yisrael.
And this stone, that I have set as standing-monument,
shall be upon this house-of-hiding[3]i.e., cemetery, graveyard.
for eternal remembrance.

וְהָיָה בִּרְבוֹת הַשָׁנִים.
כִּי יִשְׁאַלוּ בָּנִים.
מַה הַצִיוֹן הַלָז בִּנְיַן אַבָנִים.
וְיֹאמְרוּ אַנְשֵׁי הָעִיר הַזְקֵנִים.
קֵבֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל הוּא.
הַנִיחוּ לָהּ מְנוּחָה שְׁלֵמָה.
אִישׁ אַל יִגַע עַצְמוֹתָיו/עַצְמוֹתֶיהָ.
תָּבֹא שָׁלוֹם תָּנוּחַ עַל מִשְׂכְּבוֹתָהּ.
Let it be, as the years pile up;
when children shall ask;
“What does this one indicate, this construction of rock?”;
let the elders of the city say,
“It is a burial place of a Yisrael.[4]i.e., a Jew
So let them leave it be for a full resting;
allow none to trouble their bones;
let Peace come to rest upon its sleeping-place.

עוֹד תְּחַיֶינָה אֵלֶה הָעַצָמוֹת.
וְיֵישִׁירוּ בָּעַלָמוֹת.
מִנַחֲלִיאֵל בָּמוֹת.
וְאַתָּה יְיָ לְעוֹלָם
תֵּשֵׁב כִּסְאֲךְ לְדוֹר וָדוֹר.
הַחְיֵינוּ בֶּאֱמוּנָתֶיךָ.
וּבְאוֹרְךָ נִרְאֶה אוֹר.
וַאֲנַחְנוּ נֵלֵךְ
בְּשִׁמְךָ
לְחַיִים טוֹבִים וּלְשָׁלוֹם.
אָמֵן סֶלָה׃
Once more these bones shall live;[5]After Ezekiel 37:3, R’ David Evan Markus things this may also be a reference to the bones of Yaakov, hidden away until the Exodus. (See following note.)
and be directed from the hiding-place;
[to travel] “from Naḥaliel/God’s Bequest to Bamot/Elevation.”[6]from Naḥaliel to Bamot – Cf. Numbers 21:19 – part of the 42-stop journey of the Camp of the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness. “God’s resting/hiding place,” by this understanding, maps to the stop just prior to Naḥaliel, which was Matanah (lit., “Gift”). –David Evan Markus
“And you, YHVH [Breath of Life, are enthroned] forever,
sitting throughout all generations”[7]Eichah 5:19, note the dichotomy of sitting forever vs. standing-monument forever;
Revive us in your faithfulness;
and “by your light we will see light”[8]Psalms 36:10.
Then all of us can walk,
with your Name,
toward Right Living and Peace,
Amen, Selah.

A copy of a page image of this prayer was contributed anonymously without a citation or attribution save that the prayer is according to the custom of the Jewish community of Pressburg. A draft translation was shared by Jacob Chatinover in the Open Siddur Project discussion group on Facebook. Please help us to identify a source for this prayer published in a siddur or any other sefer. –Aharon N. Varady

Source(s)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. יִשְׁמְרֵיהוּ צוּרוֹ וִיחַיֵּהוּ “May their Rock keep them and grant them life.” Kehilat Kodesh Pressburg, a/k/a Pozsony/Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia
  2. matzeva means lit a standing rock, from n.tz.v, to stand in place
  3. i.e., cemetery, graveyard.
  4. i.e., a Jew
  5. After Ezekiel 37:3, R’ David Evan Markus things this may also be a reference to the bones of Yaakov, hidden away until the Exodus. (See following note.)
  6. from Naḥaliel to Bamot – Cf. Numbers 21:19 – part of the 42-stop journey of the Camp of the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness. “God’s resting/hiding place,” by this understanding, maps to the stop just prior to Naḥaliel, which was Matanah (lit., “Gift”). –David Evan Markus
  7. Eichah 5:19, note the dichotomy of sitting forever vs. standing-monument forever
  8. Psalms 36:10.

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