So many of us have traditions that we do over and over and have no clue as to why. I have always put a stone on top of grave sites when I leave them with a short prayer why? I was told this was a Jewish tradition but I am not Jewish. My Grandmother how ever worked for a Jewish family in Detroit when she was in nursing school. Did she pick this up and pass it on to me? Maybe it is just because I have a thing about stones and rocks and love them. We actually asked our guest to bring us rocks as gifts for wedding gifts for our garden when we got married, so I do have a rock thing.
While watching the new show on television "Who Do You Think You Are" I noticed Lisa Krudow
very quietly do a silent prayer and place a stone on a memorial. And I started wondering where did this tradition start and what was the reasons behind it.
Here is some of what I found out.
The Jewish faith tells us that by leaving a pebble is in a way the erection of a small, new monument-a tomb- stone to honor the memory of the dead. So in a sense it is a way of saying; Here lie the remains of someone worth remembering. It is a way of showing that someone did come and remember.
It also is a symbol saying that the love and memory are still strong and as enduring as the rock.
Some people suggest it is a simple counter telling how many people had visited the burial sight leaving a prayer. A sign of respect.
The Internet is full of reasons and speculations going back to Medieval Tales when graves were thought to contain some remainder of the soul left by the departed. The belief goes by leaving stones they were creating a barrier to prevent the soul from leaving and haunting the living.
So regardless of who started the tradition or why I continue to do so as a sign of respect and love of the deceased and tradition, regardless if I understand why or not.