Daily Israel Report

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's Tombstone Unveiled

The tombstone is made of marble from the Land of Israel and rocks from its four holy cities. Memorial ceremony held in Jerusalem.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 7/6/2010, 4:29 PM / Last Update: 7/6/2010, 6:19 PM

Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu's tombstone was unveiled Tuesday on Har HaMenuchot in Jerusalem, thirty days after his death, as is the custom in Israel. The tombstone's marble slab was quarried in Israel, and the rocks it rests upon were taken from all four cities considered holy in Jewish tradition – Jerusalem, Tzfat (Safed), Hevron and Tverya (Tiberias) – as well as one rock from the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem (Nablus).

The artist who created the tombstone, Assaf Kidron, explained that “it would have made no sense to create a tombstone for Rabbi Eliyahu, the great lover of the Land of Israel, from Italian marble... The Rabbi's entire life was intertwined with a strong and consistent thread that expressed his belief in the holiness of the Land of Israel."

The tombstone is engraved with a poem in Hebrew, which Israel National News has freely translated for its readers thus:

His soul burned with an eternal love
Lit on the Altar in Heaven above
The power of his study, bright and fine 
Before His Holiness did shine
From the wakening of dawn his spirit was present
He sat as judge, faithful and honest.
He made his pronouncements, holding Torah so dear,
The judgments of Mordechai were pure and fair
The bounty of his goodness on students he bestowed,
He held on to the earth of our Land with courage bold.
An entire nation is tied to his love,
The purity of his gaze is now up above.
For he went up in a storm to Heaven's Crown,
His soul in eternal life to be bound.
Passed away on 25 Sivan 5770

The Rabbi's memorial ceremony (azkara) will take place Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Binyanei HaUmah (Jerusalem Convention Center) in Jerusalem.