The book Ir HaTzedek, written in Hebrew by Zunz and published in 1874, devotes an entire section to the headstone inscriptions of several Rabbinical personalities (a total of sixty-seven) buried in Kraków. The English translation has been kindly donated by Heshel Teitelbaum. Since nuances of meaning may be lost during translation, readers are advised to check the original source material.
The inscriptions on Rabbinical headstones are often poetic in nature with biblical or Talmudic quotations. Unless one is a scholar, the significance of some of these statements will be lost to the reader. I have not attempted to make more than the most obvious interpretations, nor can I guarantee that my translations are exactly in the spirit of the texts' authors. If anybody has additional insights, they are certainly welcome to contribute them. One should note that, as befits the stature of the Rabbis or their families, the text of the inscriptions are often formatted exactly like a poem, sometimes with rhyme, with an enlarged letter at the beginning of each line so that, reading vertically from top to bottom, there is a message spelled out by the first letters — typically the name of the deceased and that of his father or spouse. Zunz did not photograph these stones. He merely transcribed them. So the alignment is missing in his text. Also, if you notice that the date of death is missing in the English translation, it doesn't mean that it isn't there. Sometimes, as in the case of publication dates of scholarly books, the date is embedded in the Hebrew text, made visible by enlarging key letters. Zunz reproduced those enlarged letters on some occasions, and I shall indicate them.
As in any translation we shall miss out on the double-entendres. My own comments are added in square parentheses or in Notes. Don't be put off because the most ancient inscriptions are given first. Be optimistic that we shall all be able some day to trace our families back to 1550.
1. Headstone of our Rabbi Moshe Isserles ZTz"L [ca. 1525 – 1572]
He was the Light of the West, the great Gaon [genius] of his generation, our teacher, our Rabbi Moshe, shepherd of the rock of Israel. On the 33rd day according to the counting of the children of Israel, was his glory revealed to [removed from ?] Israel. Moshe was the shepherd of the sheep of Israel. He performed God's justice and passed judgments on Israel. He spread Torah in Israel. He educated thousands of students among Israel. From Moshe to Moshe there has been none like Moshe in Israel. "And this is the law of the sin offering that Moshe set before the Children of Israel".
There is an additional inscription (written in very poetic style with quotations from Psalms) added by the burial society, dated Tamuz 5554 (1794), explaining that they fixed up the inscription on this (and other) headstones and decorated them ornately.
The phrase "from Moshe to Moshe" is one that is applied to Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon); i.e., ever since the death of the Biblical Moses to the death of Maimonides there was nobody like Maimonides. In Isserles' case, the comparison is made between Maimonides and Moshe Isserles.
The number 33 was significant in the life of Moshe Isserles: He became Chief Rabbi of Kraków at the age of 33 on the holiday of Lag Ba'Omer (the 33rd day of the counting between Pesach and Shavuos). He wrote 33 scholarly works. And he died on Lag Ba'Omer in the year 5332, i.e., in the 333rd year of the fifth millennium. Naturally at his funeral, the eulogizers praised his 33 merits. Perhaps the confusing phrase 'revealed from' was a clever way of stating that he both came and went on the 33rd day ?
2. Headstone of his father, the genius, the Chaver, our teacher and Rabbi Israel Isserl, Z"L
Here is buried the Rabbi, R'Israel Isserl. He built the synagogue to God. He was called Isserl Lazars [son of Elazar] of Kraków. He judged Israel with justice. And the greatness of his merits will apply to those who pray at his gravesite. He was summoned upwards [to Heaven] in the year "Choshech" [Hebrew for darkness, letters enlarged spelling out the year 5328 (1568) ], 13th day of Adar Rishon [first Adar of a leap year]. He will request compassion on our behalf before the "One who never slumbers nor sleeps" [i.e., before God; quotation from Psalms]. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life.
An additional sentence was added later, stating: "The five headstones for the graves of these geniuses were renewed and surrounded by an iron fence, carved [sic] by the officers of the burial society in the year 5593 [i.e., 1833]."
3. Headstone of the brother of the Rema"h
Both the father and the sons were happy that the brothers lived in harmony. These holy deceased-ones will merit [everlasting] life. Isaac R' Isserles was always mentioned by name. He would seek the welfare of his nation. He gave limitless charity. And this he took along as provision for his voyage. May his death be a penance, for us and our sins, and our actions, that we may merit [seeing] the rebuilding of the Temple. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. He passed away on Rosh Hashanah of the year 'Moshe' [enlarged letters spelling the year 5345 (1585) ].
Rema"h is the acronym for R'Moshe Isserles.
Living in harmony is a merit cited in the psalm "Hinei mah-tov u-mah-naim, shevet achim gam yachad". Shevet achim is the phrase used in the headstone.
Everlasting life could be a reference to resurrection, or else to a state of perpetual fame that is attributed to Tzaddikim when they pass away. They are thus considered living forever.
Normal voyagers take food. This man was taking his sustenance along — namely his record as a philanthropist.
4. Headstone of their sister
Miriam, the sister of Moshe and Aharon. Her death occurred right next to the [Sabbath of] Parshas Parah [portion of the Torah called Parah, referring to the red heifer] because her death had the power of atonement. This burial headstone will bear witness and be a memorial to her until such time as she is joined with the other saints. And until the resurrection may her soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. And she went to her rest on the eve of Shabbos very close to the entry of Shabbos, 5th of Elul. And Miriam Beila died there ['Miriam Beila there' has enlarged letters, spelling out the year 5377 (1617)].
The Biblical Miriam also had brothers Moshe and Aharon.
The death of the Biblical Miriam right after the Torah portion of the red heifer is explained by Rashi as mimicking the atonement properties of the ashes of the red heifer. So too Miriam Isserles' death.
5. Headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zalman Ronkel
5322 . We learn from tractate Shekalim that we do not erect [elaborate] monuments for Tzaddikim, since it is their words which become their memorial. And since it is the custom to pray at their graves, that is why we erect a headstone. For this reason we erect a headstone for the genius, our teacher, R' Zalman Ronkel. His memory extends from sea to sea. His wisdom extends form one end of the world to the other. May his death apply his merits and his torah [learning] to us on this spot.
6. Headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe Landau
The 19th of Adar, VaYikra [enlarged letters spelling the year 5327 (1567)]. In this generation you have seen that here is the grave of a holy man from ancient times, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe Landau, who has been immortalized in the decisions of the Geniuses: the Rema"h [Moshe Isserles] and the "She'eris Yosef" [Yosef Katz] while they sat in judgment. As it is quoted in the judgments of the Rema"h using the following words: 'and the case came before the wise men of Kraków; one was the venerable teacher of righteousness, the Genius our teacher and Rabbi R' Moshe Landau; and the second who was by his side was the Genius, my brother-in-law, our teacher and Rabbi R' Yosef Katz; and I was counted as the third among them; and I was the inferior of them both' - end quote [sic]. And since he was listed first within this group, it is a sign that he was the leader and the great one in Torah. May his merit last to protect this city, to save it from all distress and troubles. This inscription has been repaired up to this point, as implemented by the members of the burial society in the year 5568 .
7. The headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Mordechai Saba
Here is buried a man excelling in details, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Mordechai Saba [name in enlarged letters spelling the year 5337 (1577)]. He was a general when it came to natural science. He was also a commander in grammar, Kabbalah and sermons as our beloved rabbi. In his youth he was content with little, like Rabbi Chaninah and his meager portions [of carob]. He was in the habit of saying: 'God does everything for the best'. In his old age when he became quite old, everything turned around for the better. The genius, our teacher and Rabbi, has gone up, R' Mordechai, shepherd of the rock of Israel, son of Jacob, ZTz'L [of blessed memory]. With [the establishment of] this carved headstone his soul departed with a kiss. And this testimony also witnesses that his righteousness lasts for ever. From Mordechai [hero of the Purim megillah] to Mordechai [Saba] there has never been one like Mordechai. He strove for goodness for his people [same phrase as in the Purim megillah]. He clarified all mysteries. Like Yakiyah ben Ogur, he spoke eloquently. May his light shine. On day 5 [Thursday], the 19th of Teives in the year 337. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. This holy ground for a holy man has been repaired on the 19th of Iyar 5568  under the direction of the executive officers of the burial society. May this be considered as righteousness.
Mordechai Saba was also known as Mordechai Singer.
8. Headstone of our teacher and Rabbi, R' David son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Efrayim
Here is buried the Rabbi R' David son of the Rabbi R' Efrayim Saba, expert in healing the sick those in great pain. A commander in Torah. Sabah [also means elder] went straight [honestly] and in splendor. And he succumbed and died on the sixth day [Friday], the 18th of Sivan in the year 5335  together with all other Tzaddikim.
The blank spaces are those of Zunz who must have been unable to read portions of the damaged headstone.
9. Headstone of the genius, author of "She'eris Yosef"
In this cave is buried the man of God, master of the Torah, our teacher, our Rabbi R' Yosef son of Mordechai Gershon Katz, of blessed memory. He was the Av Beis Din [Head of the Rabbinical Court] and the Rosh Yeshiva here in the holy community of Kraków for more than 50 years. And he continued [pun on the word yosef] to be the most modest of men. He spread Torah learning, and enlightened us with his responsa "She'eris Yosef" and his explanations on Chosen Mishpat [one of the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch] and his explanations "al Mordechai". And he died on Tuesday, the third day of Shvat, in the year "Naso es Roshei bnei Gershon" [The word Naso has enlarged letters spelling the year 5351 (1591).] And buried beside this learned man is the important and worthy woman, his wife the Rebbetzin Shprintza, daughter of the officer of the community, the president and honoured leader Moshe Eberlis of blessed memory. All the days of her life she occupied herself with charity and visiting the sick. And she was a crown to her husband. And she died on Sunday, the fourth of Teves in the year 5335 . And beside her was buried her small grandchild, Gershon son of the Rabbi R' Moshe, her son. And beside them is buried the genius, our teacher and Rabbi R' Tanchum son of the genius, our teacher R' Yosef Katz. He [Tanchum] was a judge and Gabbai [head of the synagogue] all the days of his life. He died on Wednesday, "Zach" [meaning pure, and written as an acrostic spelling out the 27th day of the month] and clean [i.e., free of all sins] in the month of Shvat of the year 5375 .
'Nasso es roshei bnei Gershon' is a phrase in the Torah meaning 'count the children of Gershon', who were Levites entrusted with carrying parts of the Tabernacle. 'Children of Gershon' is mentioned because Yosef Katz was the child of Gershon.
The multiple burials are described by the word "al", literally meaning 'on top of''.
10. Headstone of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shalom Katz
Isaac, son of our teacher Shalom Katz of blessed memory. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. Here is buried a good and honest man. He went the ways of peace [Shalom, probably refers to his father's name] and righteousness. He always negotiated with truthfulness. The knowledge that came from his lips was always correct. He was the guardian of the faith and the laws. These are the generations of Isaac. Like father like son. And his covenant was one of peace [Shalom, his father] the covenant of priesthood of the world. [He was a Kohen, i.e. priest]. And when Isaac's eyes dimmed [comparison with the Biblical Isaac] he went up to live in laughter in the year 5371 . His soul departed on the Sabbath with love. On the 24th day of Teves his soul rested, and returned The angels of peace [Shalom] announced that peace [Shalom] is coming.
Living in laughter may be a reference to "Eyshes Chail", sung on Friday nights. It states that a Tzaddik laughs on his last day on earth (knowing that he is going to the next world.) Alternatively, it may be a reference to the Biblical origin of Isaac's name given by an amused Sarah.
11. Headstone of the genius, our teacher Isaac Shapira
In the month of Elul since [enlarged letters spelling the year 5342 (1582)] the creation, a light was extinguished in Israel. And glory turned away from us, and splendor departed. A veteran of stormy battles for the Torah who distributes food [figurative for learning] to all of Israel, with his magnificent wisdom, in the fields of Mishnah, Talmud, Kabbalah, and also in Biblical text. A genius and a great leader of the priesthood, who died carrying the burden of the sins of the generation. The master and sage, Isaac the son of David Shapira. A mover of mountains [figurative for a brilliant scholar] and a destroyer of boulders [ i.e.. one who overcomes difficult intellectual obstacles] with his logical reasoning. The lips of the Kohen [ie his teachings] will preserve knowledge. They will seek Torah knowledge from his mouth. "And Isaac went out [died ?] to contemplate in the fields" [quotation from the Bible referring to the Biblical Isaac].
Unlike the majority of Shapiras, this Rabbi was a Kohen.
In a footnote, Zunz adds that according to Wolf (ref. to pages 1205-6), there is an earlier correct inscription: "And Isaac went out to contemplate in the fields with a good name to his Creator. He was the genius, the Rosh Yeshiva, may his light shine forever. He was crowned with the three crowns the crown of Torah and the holy fear of God, the crown of the priesthood with faithful hands and heart [?], and with the crown of sovereignty. Did he not merit all three crowns ? R' Isaac HaKohen, son of the departed R' David Shapira of blessed memory. And his good name rises over their shoulders, since his name has spread in fame. And his soul rose to Heaven on Thursday the 17th of Elul. Glory and splendor have departed from us, a veteran of wars for Torah. He answered everybody with his magnificent wisdom in the fields of Mishnah, Talmud, Kabbalah and in Biblical text. A genius and a great leader of the priesthood, who died carrying the burden of the sins of the generation. A mover of mountains and a destroyer of boulders with his written scholarship ['sofroh' rather than 'svoroh' as in Zunz's version of the inscription]. The lips of the Kohen will preserve knowledge, and they will seek Torah knowledge from his mouth. And Isaac settled in Be'er le'chai Ro'iy [the Biblical "Spring of the Giver of life Who sees me"]. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life.
12. The headstone of the genius, our teacher Eliezer Aschkenazi
Here is buried the genius, our teacher, our Rabbi, R' Eliezer, son of the Rabbi R' Elijah Aschkenazi, the doctor, of blessed memory. "I lament the stormy times. Does the wheel not turn back full circle ? These are the mysteries of God. My heart cries out for help. My troubles are great. And as for me it is as if I am surrounded by a golden coronet." Was he not taken from us in the year ''and the name of one of them was Eliezer" [the words 'and the name' are enlarged, spelling the year 5346 (1685)] ? (The day of his death and the month are not to be found on his headstone. But in the minutes of the burial society it is written: Friday, the 22nd of Kislev.)
The parenthetical remark at the end was apparently added by Zunz.
The enlarged isolated letters spell out the name Eliezer, except for the letter Ayin which, at least in Ir Hatzedek, was not enlarged.
Statements of trials and tribulations may refer to R' Eliezer's forced wanderings from Egypt, Italy, Central and Northern Europe before finally settling in Kraków. These statements are written very poetically. I have not identified the source of the cited texts; possibly kinos, or else piyutim for the High Holidays. He was known to have authored several slichos of his own, adopted by Bohemian Jewry. And the present text may be an extract from them. Translations possibly too literal. Probably there is more significance than is obvious to me.
The golden coronet is described in the same terms as the crown around the top of the Holy Ark.
13. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Moshe Mordechai Margolios
The fourth of Kislev 5377 . This is the grave of a holy man of God. He observed the commandments of God. He was a great commander of the Torah. In dialectics and in logical reasoning, in biblical exegesis, Mishnah and Gemoroh, the genius, the head of the Yeshiva, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Mordechai son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shmuel Margolios of blessed memory. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. Renovated at the hands of the officials of the burial society in the year 5569 . May this be considered for the sake of righteousness.
In agreement with the inscription, and in view of the name of his son in the following headstone, his name must have been simply Mordechai, rather than Moshe Mordechai as Zunz calls him.
14. Headstone of his son, our teacher, our Rabbi, R' Moshe Yosef
Here is buried our father. The man Moshe was the most modest of men. [Citation from the Torah, referring to Moses]. He occupied himself with mitzvos and charity all the days of his life. And he spread Torah learning among the children of Israel. Kind and humble like Hillel [the sage]. A pearl without a flaw [lit. impurity]. Our teacher, our Rabbi, Moshe Yosef, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe Mordechai Margolios. On Tuesday, the 20th of Iyar of the year "ve'leseder Nasso es rosh".
The Hebrew word for pearls is 'margaliot'. Moshe Yosef is compared to a flawless pearl. The reference here is to the origin of the surname Margolios in the sense of precious jewellery.
The phrase, "ve'leseder rosh" specifies the year. But the letters are not enlarged as one would expect. One can only guess which of the letters must have been enlarged. A reasonable guess would be the word "Nasso" spelling out 5351 , which would mean that the father outlived the son. (There is no mention in the headstone that the father was 'of blessed memory'.) It is reasonable because this would be a second allusion to the month, as the weekly portion of the appropriate Torah reading is mentioned "Nasso". The phrase also describes one of the activities of the Biblical Moses (counting the people.)
In a footnote, Zunz adds that the headstone has not been found to date. However, he found the information in Wolf's library (sic) on page 1,206. Since the actual inscription was not extant in Zunz's days, one might consider that Wolf might have gotten the father's name wrong, ie. it should have been simply Mordechai. He might have also forgotten to enlarge some letters.
15. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Nosson Natte Shapira
A man of God among the ancients, "Megaleh Amukkos" [revealer of the depths]. A prince and a hidden treasure. It is told about him that Elijah [the prophet] would speak with him face to face. The genius, Av Beis Din [Chief judge of the Rabbinical Court] and Rosh Mesivta [head of the academy ie Yeshiva], our teacher, the Rabbi, R' Nosson Natte son of our teacher and Rabbi R' Shlomo Shapira of blessed memory. Passed away on Wednesday, the 13th of Av of the year 5393 . May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. This inscription was renovated under the auspices of the Chevrah Kadishah [burial society] in the month of Adar Sheini [second Adar during a leap year] 5578 . May his merit apply to us.
"Megalleh Amukkos' was the name of a Kabbalistic work authored by Nosson. He came to be known by this nickname.
In a footnote, Zunz adds that this was a late inscription, and that the copyist, Ber Wolf, was unable to read the [original] inscription. The latter wrote (p. 1207): "on the grave of the genius, our teacher, Natte, Av Beis Din and Rosh Mesivta, author of 'Megalleh Amukkos', is illegible 1540 [?] 'And God, the Lord of Hosts, called out for weeping and mourning and for desolation". And beside him is buried the genius, our teacher, Isaac, his son.
16. Headstone of the woman, Rosa. And she is inside the fenced area of the above.
We lament, with an intense and bitter weeping, the modest and dear woman, the Rebbetzin, Rosa, daughter of Rabbi Moshe. An important woman, a cornerstone. Who can fathom her rigteousness ? Who can find such a woman of valour ? There is none like her. And in none can such wisdom be found. On Shemini Atzeres, a festival of happiness, the headdress was removed, the crown was lifted off. A lady of majesty and glory. "Bas" [daughter, enlarged letters spelling the year 1641] of the creation. We shall tell of her light. May God console us rapidly.
Rosa was the wife of Nosson Natte Shapira. She died on the holiday of Shemini Atzres.
17. Headstone of the woman, Ester, on [sic] the above mentioned stone
Come, mourners for the one who no longer exists. A lamentation over the death of this important and worthy woman. "Wisdom cries out in the street" [from Proverbs]. "And an alarm passed throughout the camp" [cited from Kings]. Mourn over her. The fifth of Nissan We shall recite dirges from year to year over Hadassah, i.e., Ester, the daughter of the genius, our teacher, Israel Issachar. And there is reward [play on the Hebrew words 'Yesh Sachar' referring to her father] for her works. And may she be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life.
This might be Ester Shapira, first cousin of the Megalleh Amukkos. That Esther was the daughter of Israel Issachar Shapira of Pinczow and Worms. She married Nathan Katz of Hildesheim.
Wisdom is compared to a woman publicly imploring the people to reform. An alarm passed through the encampment of Israel at the death of the king. Ester must have been wise, urged Jews to reform, and considered as royalty.
"Yesh sachar le'pe'ulasoh" is a quotation from Jeremiah referring to our mother Rachel who intervenes on our behalf. She will be rewarded for her efforts.
Unfortunately, Zunz left a blank where the year should appear.
Zunz's title implies that this might be part of a double headstone.
18. Headstone of the woman, Dobrish, daughter of the genius, the author of "Megalleh Amukkos", also within the fenced area
Here is hidden and buried a worthy woman. Who can count all her praises ? Therefore, daughters of Israel, wail and raise a cry, because a heavy [lit. first] blow was struck with the death of the last sister. The woman, Dobrish, daughter of the genius, Rosh Mesivta and Av Beis Din of our community, our teacher, Nosson Natte Shapira. She passed away on Sunday on the 8th day of the month of Tamuz, 402 years [in the year 5402, i.e., 1642].
Dobrish had at least two sisters whom she outlived. This might be the meaning of the word "last". Alternatively, she may have been the last born. Dobrish's mother, Rosa, died a half year earlier.
Zunz states, in a footnote, that Dobrish was the youngest of three sisters.
Blanks at end due to Zunz.
19. Headstone of one of the martyrs, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Elijah son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yehudah.
Here is buried the martyr, the Rabbi, R' Elijah son of the Rabbi, R' Yehudah. His was a sacrifice, and this is a testimony. And he was buried together with a few other martyrs. He is now with God. The eve of Shavuos 5397 .
20. Headstone of a wondrous man within the fenced off area of the author of the Megalleh Amukkos
This is the marker for a soul which we found here. We have sought knowledge of the name [of the person] in vain. Since we found him buried in this grave, with the inscription eroded over the years, therefore we say that the greatest sign for us that he is a great man is that he is buried next to the Megalleh Amukkos. The officials of this burial society took it upon themselves to erect a new headstone on this grave 5592  years after the creation of heaven and earth.
In a footnote, Zunz adds: "concerning the folkstory that this headstone is that of the genius, our teacher, Heschel Tzoref, don't pay any attention to it. That's because the copyist, Ber Wolf, found it [the latter's headstone] elsewhere. And according to Wolf's statement (which I copied above [he is refering to the footnote for the Megalleh Amukkos]) this must be the headstone of his son, our reacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac. But even that is not true. Read the account of the Megalleh Amukkos' life [Zunz is referring to the main body of the text]."
21. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, R' Joel Sirkes, author of "Bay'is Chadash"
The crown of the Torah, author of the scholarly work "Bay'is Chadash". The beginning of his wisdom [ie. his career] was praised in Pruszany, was strengthened and encouraged in the Yeshivah of the Holy community of Lubkow; the light of his Torah spread over the Holy community of Lubomil; he gave all to the Holy community of Medzhibozh; he preferred to sprinkle the waters of life in the Holy community of Belz; he pursued God in the Holy community of Szydlow like Kalev; he instructed the laws of the Torah and passed judgement in the Holy community of Brisk (Lithuania); he spread the springs of his knowledge in the Holy community of Kraków like a revered son. Heaven cried from the heart. How the pious one's eyes could light up our own eyes. And he passed away from the children of Israel. And the whole world has been illuminated with the glory of his honour and his majesty. The Torah is more precious than fine gold or precious stones. The meeting place for Torah study has sunk into the earth because of our sins
Blank spaces at the end due to Zunz.
In a footnote, Zunz adds that in the library it is written (p. 1210): "the genius and the pious one and our teacher and the Israelite Av Beis Din, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Joel Sirkes, of blessed memory, may his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life, author of "Bay'is Chadash". He also refers to an article he wrote for the 'Hamagid' (7th year) stating that apparently the original headstone has been lost; and that what he has recorded here was inscribed on a secondary stone.
Joel Sirkes passed away in 1640.
22. Headstone of the genius Joshua, author of "Meginei Shlomo"
Here is buried our master and teacher and Rabbi, the wonder of our generation, the utmost of our ornamentation, the genius, our teacher, and Rabbi, R' Joshua, son of our teacher and Rabbi R' Josef, of blessed memory. [He passed away] on the Sabbath, the 27th of Menachem [lit. consoling, probably referring to the month of Av, commonly called Menachem Av]. And he was buried on the 28th of Menachem 5408 . May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. [This stone] was renovated in the year 5556 , as a result of the efforts and expenditures of the grandson of the true genius, Rabbi of all the children of the diaspora [ie. of all Jews], author of "Meginei Shlomo" and of the responsa "Pnei Yehoshua".
Zunz adds in a footnote that this headstone too was recopied in a different version in the library. In that version, reference is made to the two published works of Joshua. Therefore, even that earlier headstone, written as if by the son of R' Joshua, was not the original stone, because the two works were published for the first time only in 5474 and 5475 (i.e., 1714 and 1715). That version also explicitly states that R' Joshua was the Av Beis Din as well as the Rosh Yeshiva.
23. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Yom Tov Lipman, author of "Tosfos Yom Tov"
Here is hidden and buried the great genius, the honourable teacher and Rabbi, R' Gershon Saul Yom Tov Lipman Heller, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Nosson Halevi, of blessed memory. He sunk as lead in mighty waters [citation from the Song of Moses referring to the drowning of the Egyptians]. He authored many scholarly works. Mentioned by name, they are: "Sefer Tzuros HaBayis", "Tosefos Yom Tov" on the Mishnah, "Ma'adnei Melech", "Lechem Chamudos" on "Ashrei", and "Toras Ha'Asham" on the laws of the sin offering. And he spread Torah learning among Jews in several holy communities they are the Holy community of Vienna, the Holy community of Prague, and at the end of his days he steered Yeshivas in Polish lands. And from here in the Holy community of Kraków, he was called to the Yeshiva of Heaven on the 26th day of the month of Elul, 5414 . This inscription was renovated from the charity fund of the burial society, and the iron lattice fence [was set up] in the year 5595 .
Yom Tov Lipman Heller suffered severely while he was Rabbi in Vienna, being falsely accused and imprisoned. Sinking in mighty waters may refer to this dark period.
24. Headstone of the philanthropist, our teacher, and Rabbi, R' Isaac R' Yekeles.
Here is buried the leader, the president, the distinguished one, the crown and glory of our times, the true shepherd, the commander, the honoured teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac, head of the Yeshiva who built a synagogue using the finest artisans. He was called up to Paradise. Head, elder, leader, dignitary. A saintly man [enlarged 'alef'], keeper of the faith, advocate to kings and deputies, exerted himself [enlarged "yud"] despite sword and danger, brought forth much gold [enlarged "zayin"] and many pearls, and glorified for all times the Holiness [enlarged "kuf"] of God. The memory of his righteousness remains with his grandchildren. His soul departed in purity on the Sabbath, the 26th of Sivan, 5413 . Renovated by the officers and gabbayim of the synagogue of R' Isaac R' Yekeles in the year 5553 .
The enlarged letters spell out the name Isaac.
R' Isaac built an opulent synagogue, called the Isaac synagogue, not far from the monastery. This irritated the bishop who delayed its construction.
Zunz adds, in brackets within the text of the inscription, that in the community library's written version of the inscription there is an additional phrase stating that R' Isaac's synagogue was "Kadosh" (holy) from the time of creation. The Hebrew letters spell out the year 404 (1644). The year 1644 was the year that the authorities and the Church finally permitted the inauguration of the synagogue. This appears to be a clever reference to that controversial event.
25. Headstone of the Rov, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaiah Kohen Tzedek [Katz]
Angels came out, mourned and wailed bitterly over a righteous and pious cedar of Lebanon, a mighty one of Torah, the delight of Israel, a holy vessel [ie religious administrator] and a crown. As light as an eagle when it came to doing his Creator's bidding with complete love, the genius our teacher and Av Beis Din, our Rabbi R' Isaac, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaiah Kohen Tzedek [Katz]. Springs of water poured themselves out over this. The skies praised [him ?] in 5415 . This is a day of lamentation and mourning. We despair and cry exceedingly. How the strong fall with their weapons ! Our eyes have been darkened over the passing of the righteous. Our spirits are low. Call for the [public] mourners to mourn over "the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades".
The named constellations are cited verbatim from Job, where they are referred to as majestic creations of God.
In a footnote, Zunz adds that he had copied this inscription from the community library records. In his opinion, this headstone is of someone from another city, because he has never heard of a person with this name in Kraków. This was found among transcriptions of headstones belonging to other famous people who had never set foot in Kraków, let alone pass away there. The present one comes right after two others. The latter two were Rabbis in Kraków but died elsewhere. They were R' Aharon Teomim and R' Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover.
The deceased was probably the Chief Rabbi of Pinczow: In the Dubnow papers, located in YIVO's library there is mention of Rabbi Isaac ben Rabbi Isaiah HaKohen, who functioned as Chief Rabbi of Pinczow around 1650.
26. Headstone of the genius, our teacher R' Heschel
Here is buried and hidden, the holy ark of the righteous "everlasting foundation", the Rov, our honoured teacher and Rabbi, R' Heschel, Head of the Yeshiva and Av Beis Din in the Holy community of Kraków, son of the great Rov, the Rabbi of all the exiled children of Israel, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yakov, of blessed memory, Rosh Yeshiva and Av Beis Din of the Holy community of Lublin, Sunday, the 20th of Tishrei 5424 .
27. Headstone of the genius, our teacher R' Aryeh Leib, known as the "Hoicher Rabbi Leib"
Here is buried and hidden [in] the field of the lawgiver, a pure man purified sevenfold [like gold, as cited in Psalms], who thirsted after the silver of God's Torah. He was the great genius, famous for Torah [knowledge], our honoured teacher and Rabbi, R' Aryeh Leib, of blessed memory, Av Beis Din of the Holy community of Kraków and surroundings. He died on the Holy Sabbath, the 15th of Iyar and buried on Sunday, the 16th of Iyar, 5431 .
The first phrase uses the same wording as in Moses' blessing to the tribe of Gad. Gad's portion of the Land of Israel was to include the burial plot of the lawgiver, Moses. Gad is compared in that blessing to a lion (Aryeh) lying in his field.
Zunz adds that the library's trancribed version says "purified silver" rather than "thirsted after silver". That version also adds the phrase "in his generation" to the description of his fame.
28. Headstone of the Rov, the judge, our teacher and Rabbi, Yonah Krochmals
Here is buried the Rov, the judge, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yonah son of A"H Krochmals. He died on Wednesday, the 14th of Shvat, 5429 .
29. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, R' Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover
Here is buried the 'jug of mannah'. The faithful Moses, a man of God. Just like Moses, so too Aharon and Shmuel were of equal weight. The genius, famous in his generation who spread Torah [learning] among Israel and who established a large number of brilliant scholars, whose fragrance wafted like persimmon oil. The light of the West, Av Beis Din and Rosh Mesivta [Yeshiva] of the Holy Community of Kraków and its surroundings, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Aharon Shmuel son of the Rabbi, R' Israel Kaidanover, passed away and was buried on Friday, the 19th of Tammuz 5436 . A crown of Torah and a crown of a good name. The hand of heaven prevailed over mortals. Just as the true Torah had been given to Moses face to face, so too was the 'aron' [ark] of God [ie our Aharon] given and taken away personally. But our teacher, sitting in the Yeshiva of heaven, will be asked to hear [our] just requests. On a day of darkness for us, but one which lights up the heavens, on Friday the 19th of Tammuz, 5436 years [from the Creation]. Oh woe to us, because our crown, made of gold and pearls, has fallen from our head. The chief and father of all of the wise men. His works: "Birkas Hazevach Shlamim", and the book "Birkas Shmuel" on the Torah of Moses. The righteous one, life of the world. "The threefold string cannot be so easily torn apart": The delectable work "Emunas Shmuel" on Poskim [Halachic arbitrations] and on GP"T [Gemorah, Perush Rashi and Tosefos; alternatively Gemorah, Poskim and Teshuvos]. It seems like there had been a heavenly voice coming from the study of the noble prince, Shmuel. Who is able to recount all his praises, even if all people could be recruited to write about him ? The genius, father of Rabbis, he will be in Paradise.
A jug of mannah was placed by Moses in the holy ark together with the Ten commandments as an everlasting reminder of the miraculous food from heaven. Just as the food that nourished the children of Israel during their wanderings was placed in the ark ('aron' in Hebrew) so too was this scholar placed in his casket (also 'aron' in Hebrew) in a clever reference to spiritual nourishment.
Aharon and Shmuel (the deceased's names) are compared to Moses, in a clever modification of the biblical reference to Samuel the prophet being the equal of the biblical Moses and Aharon together.
Persimmon oil was oil exclusively used to anoint the kings of Israel.
The threefold string is a quotation from Ecclesiastes. In this case perhaps it is referring to the three works authored by R' Aharon Shmuel. (Actually he authored more works; however, apparently only these three were published in his lifetime.) Alternatively the number three might refer to the triple mastery of all aspects of Jewish Rabbinic literature alluded to in the acronym, GP"T.
30. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Isaac, son of Zev, Av Beis Din of the Community of Kraków
Our hearts tremble and skip in panic. The wreath of our crown and glory has been humbled. Our chanting has become somber; and our lights have turned to gloom. The stock of Israel has been spoiled. In the year 5443, on the day of the beating of the willow, our fever became agitated and awhirl because of the oppression [oppressed atmosphere ?]. The candle of God in Israel has been extinguished. Because of this we are sick at heart — because of the passing of our master, teacher and Rabbi, the genius, our teacher and Rabbi R' Isaac, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zev of blessed memory, Av Beis Din and head of the academy [Yeshiva] of our community and its surroundings, who passed away and went to his afterlife. And the wells of Torah of his nation became sealed up. For fifty years he occupied himself with the earthly Yeshiva; and now he is a delight to the heavenly Yeshiva. On Friday, Hoshana Rabbah of the year 5443 .
Zunz states that in the community library the record uses the word "chozek" [force] instead of "chozen" [chanting]. He also states that the word "madheivoh" [oppression] was incorrectly inscribed on the headstone as "merchavoh" [open space ?]
R' Isaac died on the holiday of Hoshanah Rabbah. On that day one carries willow branches while making seven processions in the synagogue. At the conclusion one beats them on a hard surface. The description implies that he passed away during this dramatic procession.
31. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher R' Yakov Rotner
Here was buried the great preacher, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yakov Rotner, on Rosh Chodesh [first day of the month] of Cheshvan in the year 5444  from the Creation.
Zunz adds that in the community library, the following (i.e., item 32) is written after the inscription of this headstone:
32. Headstone of the genius, the Kabbalist, our teacher, the Rabbi, R' Heschel Tzoref
And above him is buried our famous teacher and Rabbi, R' Heschel Tzoref of Vilna y"b (y"g) [?] on Thursday the 24th day of Iyar of the year 5460 from the Creation . May his soul be bound in the bonds of everlasting life.
Tzoref means technically a refiner [of gold] but can also mean one who toys numerically ie a kabbalist.
It seems that Zunz's cryptic notation, y"b (y"g) could mean "Yom Beis or Yom Gimmel". In a footnote Zunz discusses a controversy regarding the day of the week when R' Heschel died, because it has a bearing on the year of death. He states that in the memorial book of the burial society it is written that he died on Thursday the 24th day of Iyar 5480 (i.e., 20 years later). Zunz states that neither version can be absolutely correct, because the 24th of Iyar 5460 is really the Sabbath; while in the year 5480 it would be on Wednesday. Zunz suggests that the memorial book is the more accurate version but that either 'Wednesday' should be changed to 'Thursday', or else the 24th should be changed to the 25th. Apparently the inscriber of the headstone misread the letter "dalet" for a "heh" in either case. Zunz then goes on to discuss how his sources could have mistakenly declared that Heschel Tzoref succeeded Natan Shapiro (died 1633). In answering that question he quotes from the memorial book of the burial society: "May God remember the soul of our teacher and Rabbi, the prince of Torah, the Kabbalist, 'Ha-eshel Hagadol' [the great oak, a pun on his Hebrew name]. Certainly from the days of Joshua until [this] Joshua there has been none like him. It is true what they say about him: 'and Moses died, a most prolific author'. For he also authored five books. The first three he named "Shloshoh edre'i tzon"; the fourth he named "Be'er"; and the fifth he named "Olas ha'shachar olas ahavim". And each is a masterpiece. The fifth work alone runs a thousand and several hundred pages. And all his life he never left the door of his home, except to go to the syangogue or study hall. He would write day and night. He actually never slept. He wrote great works continuously. He was our teacher and Rabbi R' Heschel, the son of Yosef of Vilna, Tzoref, who knew how to "netzaref" [refine, alt. to numerically manipulate] the letters of the Torah. His holy and pure soul departed with a kiss for sure, on Thursday, the 24th of Iyar 5480 . Perhaps his merit will stand for us and cause the redemption to come to us soon, Amen." Zunz explains that R' Heschel studied in R' Natan Shapira's study hall, and called himself the latter's student and successor. This was figuratively speaking. Both were great Kabbalists; but they lived 100 years apart. Zunz is frustrated with the sources available to him (except the memorial book), and proclaims all their details to be erroneous - but he does not actually state whether this includes the possibility that R' Heschel ever became Av Beis Din. The source of confusion lies in the interpretation of the word student as well as confusion with two other Joshuas: Joshua Heschel (item 26, above) and Joshua son of Joseph, the Meginei Shlomo (item 22, above), both of whom did lead Kraków soon after Natan Shapira.
Tzoref apparently succeeded in hiding from the Jews of Kraków that he was a secret follower and Lithuanian prophet of Shabsai Tzvi, the false Messiah. He considered himself to be the Messiah ben Yosef; and his writings were all mystical revelations and speculations on this theme based on the numerological system of the Megaleh Ammukos (le'havdil). He moved to Kraków from Vilna only a few years before he died. See the article by Gerschom Scholem about Tzoref in the Encyclopedia Judaica for more information.
33. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Koppel
Many lamentations are uttered from the mouths of every son and daughter. The ember [?] and prince of Torah. Equality [the Hebrew word 'shin-vav-vav-saf' is questioned here by Zunz. He suggests that the word should possibly be 'Shabbos', meaning 'he rested eternally'] after Shabbos. At eight o'clock in the evening the genius, our teacher and Rabbi R' Koppel, son of Rabbi N went to sleep in his bedchamber. He read the 'Keryas Shmah' [beddtime prayer] at his bedside. As he opened his palms, a murderer ambushed him with sword in hand. And he stabbed him in the stomach. He fell dead to the ground as he was standing. They murdered an innocent soul. It made no difference to the evil murderer.
34. Headstone of the [Chief] Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe son of our teacher and Rabbi R' Joshua author of 'Meginei Shlomo'
Here is buried the leader, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe son of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Joshua, may his memory be everlasting, who went to his eternal home on Sunday, the 28th of Iyar 5448 .
35. Headstone of the Rabbi, the leader, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Issachar son of the genius, our teacher, R' Heschel
Crying and weeping envelops my eyes because of him, because of the father of [Hebrew acronym: 'ayin-resh-resh', which Zunz could not decipher], the exalted leader and president of the community and of the nation, the famous Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Issachar Berish, son of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Heschel, of blessed memory. Sunday, the eve of the new month of Cheshvan 5451 .
Issachar Ber was the President of the Council of the Four Lands. He founded the Babad family.
36. Headstone of the Rov, the judge, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Feivish
Here is buried our father, the [spiritual] leader in Torah, the famous Rov, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Uri Shraga Feivish. He was nicknamed R' Feivish Dayan. The departure of his soul occured in holiness and purity at dawn on Thursday, the 7th of Av 5462 .
Dayan is Hebrew for judge.
Perhaps the acronym 'ayin-resh-resh' stands for 'ateres rosheinu rabbeinu', i.e., the crown of our heads, our Rabbi.
37. Headstone of the Rov, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zev, son ouf our teacher and Rabbi, R' Gad
Here is buried our genius, our teacher and Rabbi, the great luminary, the leader in Torah, the righteous and pious, the great genius, Av Beis Din, and Rosh Mesivtah (head of the academy i.e., Yeshiva) our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zev, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Gad, of blessed memory. He was our Av Beis Din for 22 years. The third of Tammuz 5422 .
38. Headstone of the genius, our teacher Joel Feivish Brok.
Here is buried the great genius, Av Beis Din, our teacher and Rabbi Joel Feivish, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Judah Brok [Bruk ?]. He died on Wednesday, the 28th of Shvat from the time of Creation. He was the Av Beis Din of the Holy community of Klimontow.
The phrase 'from the time of Creation' suggests that Zunz forgot to copy down the year.
39. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Chaim, author of 'Magen Avraham'
Here is buried R' Chaim, author of 'Magen Avraham', of blessed memory. Today is the day that he went to his afterlife the eve of Yom Kippur 5459 .
40. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, Aharon Teomim, Av Beis Din of Kraków
Here is buried he 'who earned the profit and love of the multitudes'. 'His good name flows like the good oil which drips down over the beard of Aharon'. We relate his praises which are hard to believe. The most famous one of God's nation during our generation. He was a canopy to us 'like the palm branch and bulrush'. He was the genius, the Av Beis Din and Rosh Mesivta of the Holy community of Kraków and its surroundings. May God protect and preserve him. The martyr, our honored teacher and Rabbi, R' Aharon, expounder of the Torah, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe Teomim. Because of the sins of our generation, was the 'aron' [i.e the holy ark a play on the deceased's name] of God taken into captivity on the Sabbath, the second of Av 5450 . May his merits last forever.
The first quotation is from Koheles (Eccl.). With the replacement of a single letter, 'alef', in "lo" to a 'vav', the phrase changes its meaning entirely from a negative trait involving greed for money (hamon) to a positive one of love by the people (also 'hamon').
In the second quotation (from Psalms) the letter 'nunsofit' in the word "shemen" is truncated to a 'vav'. Like the oil of anointment poured over the biblical Aharon's head, so too does this Aharon's good name flow.
In the quotation from Isaiah, God cuts off, in a single day, the head (the honored elders) and tail (the prophets) of the nation, the palm branch and the bullrush. The word 'chupah' i.e., 'canopy', is a variation of the word used in Isaiah ('chof' i.e. to bend one's head on a fast day, like a bullrush, as during mourning).
Aharon Teomim was murdered in the town of Chmielnik near Kraków on the way to a meeting of the Council of the Four Lands, only a few months after taking office.
In a footnote Zunz adds that the headstones corresponding to thirteen consecutive inscriptions in Wolf's library (# 28 41) have not been discovered yet except for two: a) R' Isaac ben Zev (item 30 above); and b) R' Issachar Berish (item 35, above). He states that it is known that most of these thirteen men did not actually die in Kraków. We see this explicitly in the descriptions for R' Aharon Shmuel Kaidanover and for R' Aharon Teomim. For R' Zev ben Gad (item 37) Wolf himself added in Latin letters that he died in Wajdislow. Zunz is convinced that R' Koppel (item 33) and R' Joel Feivish (item 38) and R' Chaim (item 39) did not die nor were they buried in Kraków. He already referred earlier (item 25) to a similar case for R' Isaiah Katz who never even set foot in Kraków. Zunz believed that Wolf was not careful enough. Zunz now acknowledges R' Shlomo Zalman Chaim Halberstamm for providing him with the transcriptions from the original and his comments.
41. Headstone of our leader, teacher and Rabbi, R' Shalom Shachnah Katz
Crying and weeping envelops my eyes. Our hear aches for him. How the crown has fallen from our heads. Our souls have separated from peace [reference to his name, Shalom, in Hebrew]. And the crowns of Torah, priesthood and kingship have all been annulled simultaneously. Because our father, our leader and prince of Israel, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shalom Shachnah Katz, on Tuesday, the 17th of Sivan 5445 .
R' Shalom Shachnah was a Kohen, Rabbi, and leader of the community at the same time. The triple crown for these positions is referred to in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of our fathers). R' Shalom's family was known as Kantorowicz.
42. Headstone of the genius, Moshe, Rosh Beis Din in Kraków
Here is buried the genius, our teacher, R' Moshe, Rosh Beis Din of our community, son of the Chaver R' Naftali otherwise known as R' Moshe R' Enzels. He passed away on the 5th of Av 5454 . And above [sic] him is buried the wondrous R' Mordechai Deiches and the latter's son, our teacher R' Yerucham, and his grandson, our teacher R' Avraham, and his modest daughter, the lady Kreindel who passed away on the 28th of Cheshvan 5536 .
R' Mordechai Deiches (died 1706) succeeded R' Moshe Enzels as Chief Rabbi of Kraków.
Rosh Beis Din is literally the leading judge of the court, a position just lower than the Av Beis Din.
The title of Chaver is an honorary one given to most accomplished scholars.
43. Headstone of our learned teacher and Rabbi, R' Michel the apothecary
Here is buried our chief, the scholar, our teacher, Michel the apothecary, son of the martyr, Matisyahu Kalahori, of blessed memory. He died on Sunday. He was And placed above [sic] him are his daughter, the lady Gittel, and his grandson, Michel and [the deceased's son] the [religious] officer Aharon the doctor and his modest heroic bride Sheindel, daughter of the late R' Mordechai
The year of death is apparently missing on the headstone.
Michel's father, a generous and popular apothecary, had been framed for blaspheming Christianity. In 1663 he was tortured and burned at the stake, and his ashes scattered. The ensuing pogroms resulted in many Jewish victims. Michel took over his father's business.
Blank spaces due to Zunz.
44. Headstone of one of the martyrs, our teacher, R' Isaac
Here is buried a martyr, our teacher, R' Isaac, son of the Rabbi R' David of blessed memory. Murdered on the 21st of Shvat 5494 .
45. Headstone of the [Chief] Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Joshua Katz, Rosh Beis Din in Kraków
Here is buried the Torah scholar, our teacher, R' Joshua Katz, Rosh Beis Din of the community of Kraków, son of our late teacher, R' Shachnah Katz. He passed away and was buried on Monday, the 11th of Kislev of the year 5495 .
R' Joshua was a son of R' Shalom Schachna Katz (item 41, above).
46. Headstone of the [Chief] Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shimshon, Av Beis Din of the city of Zwolen
Here is buried a righteous, honest and faithful man. Teaching Torah was his perpetual craft. Its taste was variable like the manna. His hands with persimmon oil. His great proclamations were heard like a bell. Praised be his birth and his parents. His soul left with a kiss. He was the Chief Rabbi, the wondrous Light of the Exile, may his light continue to shine, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shimshon, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shlomo, of blessed memory, Av Beis Din of the Holy community of Zwolen, who passed away in holiness and purity on Friday, the 3rd of Elul 5507 .
47. Headstone of the [Chief] Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zev, judge in Kraków
Angels cried out because the crown of our heads has fallen to the ground. The great judge, head and leader of our community. In one spot we had Torah [scholarship] and greatness. There was nobody like him in the entire world. Our teacher R' Wolf, of blessed memory, son-in-law of the great genius, our teacher, R' Mendel of blessed memory, Rosh Mesivta and Av Beis Din of our community, R' Wolf was gathered to his people on the eve of Sukkos.
48. Headstone of the [Chief] Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Rafael Dayan
Here is buried the Torah scholar, famous in his generation. [This is] to praise the excellent judge, our honoured teacher, R' Rafael, son of the Torah scholar, our teacher, R' Shalom Schachnah of blessed memory, greatgrandson of the genius, our teacher, R' Joshua, of blessed memory, who had been Av Beis Din and Rosh Mesivta of the Holy community of Kraków. He died with a good name, and went to his everlasting life on the eve of the Holy Sabbath. And he went to his resting place on Sunday, the 23rd of Av 5518 .
There are at least three known rabbis, named Shalom Shachnah Katz of the Kantorowicz family:
the son-in-law of R' Joshua mentioned in this inscription. Balaban's chart does not show a son named Rafael, though. This Schachnah's known children died in the range 1704 to 1743. His headstone inscription is item 41 above, and that of his son Joshua in item 45, above.
Shalom Schachnah (d.1740) son of Joshua son of Shalom Schachnah (41). This Shachanah did have a son named Rafael, who was known to be alive in 1745. This could be his headstone. However this Rafael is described by Balaban as an official in the community, rather than as a Rabbi. He is associated with the Markusfeld family.
Shachnah (d. ?) son of Leib (d. 1757) son of Samuel (d. 1704) son of Shalom Shachnah (41). This man also had a son named Rafael who was described as a Rabbinical judge (no date of death given by Balaban). This might fit the headstone inscription, except that Rafael would have died one year later than his grandfather!
49. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Asher son of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac
Here is buried the leader and Torah scholar, the famous Rabbi, our teacher, R' Asher son of the Rabbi, the great genius, our teacher, R' Isaac, of blessed memory, who went to his eternal life in 'a time of distress' and at a young age on Thursday, the 22nd of Tamuz of the year 5525 .
The phrase 'beyn ha'metzorim' is used to describe the three week period of sorrow between the 17th of Tamuz and the 9th of Av.
50. Headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac Landau, Av Beis Din in Kraków
Our happiness has been turned into grief. The honor of Israel has been removed. The crown of our heads has fallen. The honorable Rabbi, the famous genius, the wonder of our generation, our teacher, R' Isaac Landau sg"l [Levite], Av Beis Din and head of the academy of [Kraków] and surroundings. "And he was courageous for the truth in the land". He led his people with truthfulness and honesty. "And Isaac left this life, and he died , and he was gathered unto his people, old and full of days"; "and Isaac went out to meditate in the field". May our suffering be eased [?]. The breath of our nostrils was captured on account of our corruption. He passed away early on Friday morning, [on the holiday of] Simchas Torah in the year 5528 .
"Courageous for the truth in the land" is a modified quotation from Jeremiah.
Isaac Landau's death is described by a quotation used for the Biblical Isaac.
A quotation refers to the biblical Isaac's meditation in the field. Here the word field is used as a synonym for cemetery.
Isaac Landau's leadership followed and preceded periods of civil strife in Kraków.
51. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Anshel Shmuel
Here is buried the wondrous Torah scholar, the famous leader, our teacher, R' Anshel Shmuel, son of the famous Rabbi Jacob, son of the Rabbi and Av Beis Din of the community of Lissa. He passed away on Sunday, the 5th of Mar Cheshvan, 5533 .
52. Headstone of the genius, our teacher, R' Aryeh Leib, Av Beis Din in Kraków
Aryeh, supreme to the point that words cannot describe. In Torah, Mishnah, and Talmud all combined, he was our honored master, teacher and Rabbi, the light of the exile, famous as far as the edges of distant lands and seas. He ruled with the fear of God. What he said and spoke endured [alt. was fulfilled] The well of the community, the skillful artisan [from Isaiah], and one who understands the [?]. May his light persist. The glory of our generation, may he rest in peace, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Aryeh Leib, may his memory be everlasting, Av Beis Din and head of the academy of our community and its surroundings, may the Lord establish [alt. preserve ?] it well, who passed away and was buried on the same day on Thursday, the 8th of Nissan 5536 .
Probably this is R' Aryeh Leib son of R' Shmuel of Tarnow.
53. Headstone of the doctor, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Menachem Mendel
Here is buried a meek, honest and modest man. He was the Rabbinical leader, the head, the commander, the wealthy philanthropist, our honored teacher and Rabbi, R' Menachem Mendel the expert doctor. He was charitable to all, personally and with his fortune. And he was crowned with a good name. And he passed on to his everlasting life on the 14th of Ellul 5539 . On the other side it is written: "Here is buried the Torah scholar, the famous leader, our teacher, Mendel Kalahori, doctor, son of the rabbinical scholar, our teacher, R' Michel of blessed memory. He passed away on the holy Sabbath, the 7th of Teves 5532 ".
54. Headstone of one of the martyrs, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Pesach son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' David
Here is buried a worthy [alt., proper] officer, all of whose actions were correct. He was the exalted leader, the martyr, our teacher, R' Pesach, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' David of blessed memory. May God avenge his blood. And the righteous are even greater after death than during life. He sanctified God's name among many nations. And he was murdered, sanctifying God's name on the 26th of Sivan 5529 .
One can sanctify God's name either personally, or among Jews, or among the gentiles, or upon dying. Here there is a play on the last two categories, as R' Pesach was murdered by gentiles.
1769 was the midst of the Insurrection of Bar. Kazimierz changed hands several times, with Jews caught in the middle. The Jewish quarter was plundered, and Jews were murdered. R' Pesach may have been one of the victims.
55. Headstone of the genius, author of "Ma'aseh Choshev"
Here is buried the Rabbi, the great and famous genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yosef, Av Beis Din of Pilitz, author of the scholarly work, "Ma'aseh Choshev". He passed away with a good name in the year 5540 .
56. Headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Menachem Nachum, Av Beis Din of the community of Wolbrom
Here is buried the Rabbi, the light of the exile, the sharp one, the famous one, the righteous one, the humble Av Beis Din of the holy community of Wolbrom. He was our teacher and Rabbi, R' Menachem Nachum, son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Benjamin, who passed away with a good name on Tuesday, the 9th of Adar in the year 5550 .
57. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe, scholar of our town, glory of our generation
Moshe rose up to Heaven, and was invited to the Yeshivah of Heaven. The Rabbi, great in Torah, in wisdom and in fear [of God], the erudite scholar, crowned with virtues and dear principles, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe, a most prolific author in Israel, son of the genius, the Kabbalist, the light of the exile, our teacher Asher Lemel, of blessed memory, Av Beis Din and head of the academy of the holy community of Eybenschuetz, may his light shine, life [18th] of Menachem [Av] 5551 .
58. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shaul, preacher in Kraków
Here is buried a righteous old man, full with days, who served God with truth and honesty. He never let up expounding the [Torah] (studying ?) night and day, a master of Abaye and Rabbah. And in the wisdom of Kabbalah he was a military general. The head of the Beis Din of Brody. The expositor and preacher of Kraków, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shaul, son of the late teacher, Avraham Zev, may his light shine forever, with a good name, on the fourth of Sivan 5553 . And above him is buried the Rebbetzin, who performed charitable deeds all the days of her life, the lady Pessel, daughter of the Rabbi, R' Moshe, may his light shine forever daughter of our teacher and Rabbi David, Av Beis Din of the holy community of Amsterdam.
Zunz points out that the usual phrase is 'not letting up on studying'. Here the phrase is twisted to reflect R' Shaul's preaching activities.
"A master of Abaye and Rabbah" (two of the luminaries in the Talmud) is a cute way of saying that he was expert in Talmud.
There was apparently another woman buried above Pessel. Blank spaces probably illegible on the headstone.
59. Headstone of the Rabbi, our Teacher and Rabbi, R' Eliakim Getzel, judge in Kraków
Here is buried our teacher and Rabbi, R' Eliakim Getzel who was the Av Beis Din of the holy community of Rakow. He passed away with a good name on the night of the Holy Sabbath, the 13th of Teves 5518 . And above him is buried his son-in-law, the eminent Rabbinical scholar, our teacher, R' Yehuda Leib son of the scholar, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Eliahu of Rakow, who passed away on Monday, the 4th of Nissan, 5542 . And above him is buried his son, the one who feared [God] and trembled to carry out the will of his Father in Heaven, young in years, our wondrous teacher and Rabbi, R' Yehoshua son of our late teacher and Rabbi, R' Yehuda Leib, [who died] on the 3rd of Iyar 5553 .
60. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shmuel son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Rafael
Oh wail, fir tree, because the cedar has fallen. The officer and great one in Israel. The pious one has disappeared from the land. Sinai and an uprooter of mountains. A holy one of Israel. Because Shmuel was faithful to God. From the day of his birth he did not budge from the tent of Torah. The Rabbi, the genius, sharp and well–versed, our famous teacher and Rabbi, R' Shmuel son of the Rabbinical scholar, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Rafael, may his light shine forever. [He died] in holiness and purity on the 7th of Iyar, 5559 .
The phrase about the wailing fir and the fallen cedar is a quotation from Zechariah. Figuratively, the term cedar is used for great rabbinical scholars.
The disappearance of the pious is a quotation from Micha.
A great scholar figuratively performs mental feats equivalent to an uprooter of a mountain.
R' Samuel is compared to the biblical Samuel who became devoted to Temple service from the day of his birth.
Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Avraham son of our teacher and
Rabbi, R' Yehoshua
On the burial spot of a valiant man great in many acts of Kabze'el [quote from Samuel]. The sharp and famous Rabbi. Great is his name in Israel.. The sweetness of his teaching and his great sharpness is known by all of his students, who recount the might of his wisdom. Our teacher and Rabbi, R' Abraham son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Yehoshua SEGA"L, Ish Horowitz. May his light shine eternally. 26th of Nissan 5532 . And above him is buried his son, the wondrous Rabbinical scholar, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Shraga Feivish "shochet ve bodek" [ritual slaughterer and examiner] on the 16th of Heshvan 5581 .
The valiant man of Kabze'el was one of King David's heroic generals.
'Ish Horowitz' literally means 'a man of Horowitz', a town in Czechoslovakia, from where the Horowitz family is said to have originated. It can be interpreted in this case as a surname.
62. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zalman son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe
A man who was a nest of plans, full of wisdom and knowledge, to understand and teach with a spirit of wisdom and understanding. A teacher of knowledge. His wisdom is joyfully sung everywhere. Droplets of honey dripped from his mouth. The great, sharp-witted and erudite Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zalman, son of the famous Rabbinical scholar, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Moshe, of blessed memory. May his light shine eternally. 13th of Iyar 5568 .
The imagery of droplets of honey is used in Psalms to describe the laws of the Torah.
63. Headstone of the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac Halevy, Av Beis Din here
If the choicest of the pine trees is wretched, even though it is covered completely with small branches, who can hold on to his fortress ? If there is no longer a harbor who, then, will satisfy our souls ? Woe, our master; woe his glory. The pious genius of the world has been lost. The joy of our generation and of the land. The happiness due to his honor. He was our honored, master, teacher and Rabbi, genius, light of the exile, the true pious one, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac Halevy, Av Beis Din and head of the academy of [Kraków] and its surroundings, son of the pious genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Mordechai Halevy, Av Beis Din of Lvov, and son-in-law of the king, the genius and light of the exile, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Aryeh Leib, Av Beis Din of Amsterdam, may his light shine eternally. [He passed away] with holiness and purity on the eve of the Sabbath, the 11th of Sivan 5559 .
Quotations from Isaiah.
The deceased was Isaac Lewites. His father-in-law was Aryeh Leib Lowenstamm.
64. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Pinchas Eliahu of Vilna, author of "Sefer Habris"
Lamentations will be uttered and inscribed on this tablet for the death of this man. He was a pious and knowledgeable Rabbi all in one, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Pinchas Eliahu. All who consult his scholarly work, "Sefer HaBrit", will realize that true Torah was on his lips. Women will wail days and nights for this man who studied God's revealed and hidden Torah nights as well as days. He occupied himself with commandments, prayer and collective entreaties, and to compose the rest of his works. The son of our teacher and Rabbi, R' Meir of Vilna, of blessed memory. He was a refuge to us because of his great charity. Woe to us. He passed away because of our sins, and not because of his own, on the holy Sabbath, the third intermediate day of Passover, 5581 years from the Creation  . May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life.
This man is probably Pinchas Eliahu Horowicz, who wrote 'Sefer HaBrit', an encyclopedic work on science from a Torah perspective.
65. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Dov Ber son of the genius, author of "Keser Kehuna"
Here is buried the Rabbi, the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Dov Ber, son of the Rabbi, the genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac Abraham HaKohen, author of the scholarly work, "Keser Kehuna", great grandson of the true genius, author of the scholarly work "Sifsei Kohen". He passed away on the third of Adar Sheini, 5575 .
"Keser Kehuna" literally means the "crown of priesthood", referring to the author's status.
The deceased was Dov Ber Rappoport, Av Beis Din of Sandomierc, Pacanow, Rakow, and Pinczow. He died in Kraków while seeking medical treatment. His father was (Isaac) Abraham Abele, Av Beis Din of Pinczow (d. 1808).
"Sifsei Kohen" literally means the "lips of the Kohen". The author was Shabsai HaKohen, otherwise known by the acronym, "Scha"ch", short for the name of his book.
66. Headstone of the Rabbi, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Tzvi David, Av Beis Din here
This monument: all who pass by will wail with a bitter soul. Woe to us because "Ateres Tzvi" [the crown of Tzvi] has fallen off this "Tzfiras Tiforoh" [era of grandeur]. "Tzvi tiferes doro" ["Tzvi was the glory of his generation"]. In all his actions, he was a joy to his whole nation. David was intelligent, and God was with him. His hands were filled with Torah [learning], wisdom and understanding. And God gave him favor (in the eyes) of the nations and the officers. His paths of goodness [will last] forever, and his memory [will last] for generations. He was our honored master, teacher and Rabbi, a complete genius in all knowledge, famous in all extents of the land for the might of his wisdom and generous spirit, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Tzvi Hirsch David, the Av Beis Din of our community, son of the famous genius, our teacher and Rabbi, R' Isaac Halevy of Lvov, Av Beis Din here, may God protect and preserve him. He passed away with a good name, old and filled with days, on Sunday, the 14th day of the month of Teves in the year "Tzmichas [enlarged 'tzadi' and 'sof'] Keren [enlarged 'kuf'] le Dovid Avdechoh [enlarged 'ves'] " from the creation of the world. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life.
"L'ateres tzvi veletzefiras tiforoh" is a quotation from Isaiah referring to God's crowns of glory and beauty. Here the phrase has been slightly changed to refer to the community's crown, i.e., its Rabbi Tzvi.
An amazing display of alliteration based on the words Tzvi, glory and crown, compounded by the double meaning for Tzfiras (crown and era).
Allusion to God's protection of the intelligent King David. David was this Rabbi's second name.
God giving favor in they eyes of officers is a quotation from the story of Joseph.
Tzvi Hirsch David was the son of a previous Chief Rabbi, Isaac Lewites (item 63, above).
'Tzmichas keren leDovid Avdechoh' ['growth of a horn for David, your servant'] is a quotation from Psalms, describing a wish for the restoration of the monarchy of the House of David. Reference to the deceased's name. The enlarge letters spell out the year 5592 .
67. Headstone of our wise Rabbi and teacher, R' Zev Dov Schiff
This is the grave of a man who lived a life full of knowledge and [good] deeds. He was gathered to his holy forefathers who are in the land [?]. The honoured Rabbi, famous in Torah [scholarship] and in fear [of God], the distinguished wise man of all knowledge and wisdom, a man of faithfulness, who established charities, had honorable virtues and exalted merits of known strength. Our teacher and Rabbi, R' Zev Dov Schiff, son of the famous philanthropist (may only holy things be said of him), our teacher and Rabbi, R' Tzvi Hirsch Heilprin, of blessed memory, originally from the holy community of Zamoszcz. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning [citation from Eccl.] I have been given a good dowry ['zeved' with an enlarged letter 'zayin']. We have been endowed by God. It is a heavy mourning ['eivel' with an enlarged letter 'aleph'] for us wretched people who knew him. Upon losing ['be avdan' with an enlarged letter 'beis'] the praiseworthy and holy fruit of our generation. His deeds of wisdom will be praised from generation to generation ['dor' with an enlarged letter 'dalet']. And [enlarged letter 'vav'] his hands were devoted only to Torah, in [enlarged letter 'veis'] in writing his novellae. The righteous is protected in death. He left behind a blessing, novellae on many [Talmudic] tractates and a large number of writings. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life. The twelfth of Shvat 5607 .
'God has endowed me with a good dowry' is a Biblical quotation due to Leah on the occasion of the birth of her 6th son.
The enlarged letters spell the deceased's name, Zev Dov.
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