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6

חסד יסוד could refer to the sixth day of the Omer, which would be counted on the seventh night of Pesach. The final word could be ס"ל meaning ספר לו: he counted. Then the last line could mean something like: he counted the 6th day of the Omer over there, in heaven. EDIT: Here are some more pictures of the tricky last word of the second-to-last line: It ...


5

The full two lines are: הילל בן שחר איך נדעכת איש חמודות אן הלכת ??? As Barry and YDK said, הילל בן שחר means a bright star. איך נדעכת means "how is it that you were dimmed?" - the root דעך appears half a dozen times in Tanach, most familiarly in Hallel (דעכו כאש קוצים). I can't make out the first word on the second line (its first letter looks like א), ...


5

Heileil ben shachar is a reference to a verse in Yeshaya (14:12) איך נפלת משמים הילל בן שחר נגדעת לארץ חולש על גוים Rashi translates as a lamentation about the falling of a great star, alluding to Babylon. Others explain that it refers to Nebuchadnezzar, and the prophet is exclaiming about how far he has fallen.


5

It is quite certainly an allusion to the exposition of these words in Berachos 18b (in reference to Binayahu ben Yehoyada): בן איש חי, שאפי' במיתתו קרוי חי. רב פעלים מקבצאל, שריבה וקבץ פועלים לתורה Meaning that he was a righteous person, who is considered 'living' even after death; and that he gathered numerous people (or achievements - Artscroll) for ...


4

This is what I sent, although I don't think it is much better. I'm adding it here so that perhaps it will trigger something for one of you to improve upon. That last word on the penultimate line is certainly strange. I thought it might possibly be two words run together, but that does not look possible. As I read it, it looks like the last three letters ...


2

In the Artscroll book, "Bircas Kohanim" by Avie Gold & Nosson Scherman (p 41) one of the various positions for the kohen's hands illustrated has the thumbs touching not at their tips but at the joint (knuckle). The tips of the thumbs are separated to give a space in between them. Could this have given the impression of the thumbs being broken?


1

Not much to add to Dave's and Gershon's excellent explanations, except to add that it's an honorific given to other prominent people too. For example, the Noda Biyehudah (R' Yechezkel Landau) uses it in the salutation of a responsum to Chacham Yitzchak Bachar David of Constantinople.



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