I've recently been fortunate to find a photo of the gravestone of one of my ancestors, R' Nosson (ben Meir) Maas, Shochet of Frankfurt-am-Main (d. 1836). The inscription is quite laudatory:

הזקן תורני ורבני שוחט דמתא דקהלתינו יע"א
כ"ה נתן בן כ"ה מאיר מאאס ז"ל
נפטר יום ה' עי"ט אחר[ו]ן דפסח
ונקבר למחרתו ביום עש"ק שביעי של פסח תקצ"ו לפ"ק
רב בתורה במידות ובמעלות
נתן ה' חנו בעיני הבריות
מאז אהוב נחמד ונכבד להיות
שם טוב ביראה ובדרך ארץ קנה
ובכל כוחו לתורת א-ל ולמצותיו פנה
חלקו בגמר' ומאה פעמים סיים כל סדרי המשנה
...טרם מותו חדלו ממנו (?) כל כבוד

and that's as far as I can understand. Can anyone help me with the last line and a half of it?

  • this book may or may not be useful: google.com/…
    – Menachem
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 21:40
  • 1
    If you ever get a chance to visit, the grave is located in the "middle" Jewish cemetery in Frankfurt, on Rat-Beil-Straße. It is in the northwest corner, ten rows in from the far west wall, and very close to the north wall.
    – Yosef
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 13:52

4 Answers 4


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: angle 1 angle 2 angle 3

It is clear from this picture that the word is first-person "ממני": line 12 words 3-4

Here are some pictures of the last line: last line 1 last line 2 last line 3

It seems now that the last last should read:

פה בטח בה' / שמה חסד יסוד סודו סלה

where "פה" and "שמה" may refer to עולם הזה and עולם הבא.

  • 1
    Interesting idea, though I think (from what I know of Frankfurt's history) that Kabbalistic ideas were not too popular there.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 9, 2010 at 20:12
  • @Alex, right, most Frankfurters would not have counted sefirah with the sefirot, and those who did would have done so in private. Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 15:08
  • Could "Chessed Jesaud" refer to him rather than the omer? Commented Nov 5, 2014 at 15:09

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 are ענת

I agree that the previous words look like כל בכור and not כל כבוד.

So that on the next line, פה פטר בה could mean "Here(in) was the first-born" perhaps a play on the word פטר as slightly different from the passive נפטר Was he a first-born? Alternatively, "From here he was sent away or freed -- "

Followed by the parallel, שמה חסד יסור סורו סל. "There, grace (chesed) will banish his suffering to the trash (waste)." (nice use of samechs for alliteration...Was he suffering from anything?) Possibly this was some alternate form instead of 'ת' נ' צ', ב', ה' I have never yet seen that though.

I'm not sure I have done any better than the other scholars, but I sent it for what it's worth!


  • 1
    Madeleine, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for joining in the sleuthing effort! I look forward to seeing you aroud.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Feb 4, 2011 at 3:06

For the 4th, 3rd and 2nd words from the end, perhaps חסר יסוד סודו, based on a phrase similar to that found in רמב"ן's commentary on B'reshis 2:7 - "יסודה וסודה" as a description of life, would mean "lost his life".

  • Interesting idea! Though I think that, in context, Ramban simply means these words in their usual meaning - "מעלת הנפש יסודה וסודה," "the greatness of the soul, its elementary nature and its esoteric aspect." Still, I guess it's possible that the writers of the epitaph borrowed it in another sense - although to me it looks like the words are חסד יסור סורו.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 17:06
  • I agree in principle with your point and the appearance of those last few ר and דs. Just adding a possible allusion to the pot.
    – WAF
    Commented Nov 12, 2010 at 20:05

Kol Kovod V'Hespod. Shenas or Kol Bechor V'Hespod. Shenas

As he was Niftar right before they Lein Kol Bechor and as it was Yom Tov no Hespod was delivered. Or he lost out the Kovod of having a Hespod.

working still on last line

  • maybe that last word is והספדנות?
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 0:53
  • Also - it seems that טרם מותו is a continuation of the previous line. It wouldn't make too much sense otherwise.
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 0:56
  • The last line might begin: פה בטח בה' -- שמה חסד That would contrast פה with שמה, but I can't figure out the end of the phrase.
    – Dave
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 1:09
  • The last word looks distinctly like סל, but I can't think of a context that would make sense in. Re "kol b'chor", I don't think so, as (a) it looks like it could well be "kol kavod", (b) the pasuk is "kol hab'chor", and (c) "kol hab'chor" is read on the 8th not the 7th of Pesach.
    – msh210
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 17:49
  • @Dave: could be you're right about טרם מותו - the reason it's placed there is because it's the end of the acronym רב נתן מאז שוחט. But if the line is saying that he asked not to be honored or eulogized at his funeral ("חדלו ממני כל כבוד והספד"?), then טרם מותו fits quite well there.
    – Alex
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 18:35

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