Previously I had a question about desecrating Jewish gravestones, but now I would have one in the opposite direction. In Christian cemeteries it's fairly common to dismantle graves after a few decades and put the remains in ossuaries. Often being constructed of expensive materials, these tombstones are frequently sold and re-used. I'm also aware of an ancient Roman stele that was eventually re-used by Jews. What does Jewish sources say about this practice? Can Jews use such materials? Should we be concerned with possible idol worship?

  • Interesting. Are you thinking of someone "polishing" the tombstone to remove all inscriptions and then engraving new names into it?
    – mbloch
    Apr 6, 2021 at 11:11
  • @mbloch That's the more elegant way. Though I'm aware of cases where the old inscription was legible on the opposite side. Apr 6, 2021 at 11:17
  • Interesting. Since I'm not aware of people worshipping tombstones, I can't see the issue with idolatry but let's see what more knowledgeable people have to say
    – mbloch
    Apr 6, 2021 at 11:23
  • Just clarifying the question- the question is can Jews use tombstones which had been previously used by non-Jews? Or can Jews do the same practice, i.e. dismantle (Jewish) graves after time and put the remains in ossuaries and then reuse the stones? The latter question is dealt with in Y.D. 364:1.
    – Binyomin
    Apr 6, 2021 at 15:33
  • @Binyomin The former case. The latter I discuss in my linked question. Apr 6, 2021 at 15:49


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