A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
Eric Fridman
Family Album
Rabbi David Matz, who died at the age of 39 in 1896
Rabbi David Matz, who died at the age of 39 in 1896
Here's the Hebrew:
פה ינוחו עצמות אבינו האברך כמדרשו הרב רובק מוררר
דוד ב"ר ארי' ליב מ"צ זצ"ל

זאת הקינה אשר נהינו עליו

דמועת דמע עינינו --- בקבור עצמות הורינו             
וערבו נר שמחתינו     ראשון בהלקח  מעימינו         
דוד אבינו איננו         בארץ הושם  בעינינו             
מי ישיב כמורינו לנו    אוי לנו כי חטאנו                  
את גדלו בתורה יספרו ראשי אלפי עירנו                 
צרורה תהי נפשו בראש משפחתינו                       
יצא מבעל הלבושים עשרה מנו    
זכר נשמתו לברכה לכולנו                                   
לאור הגנוז העליון יזכנו                                  
ובעזי מרומים לנשמת אבינו          
לב אבות על בנים להשיבנו

1. Here will lie the bones of our father - the avrech as it is interpreted (the term was bestowed upon Joseph by Pharoah. Rashi explained it as: father of Egypt although still young)

(picture of books - signifying scholarship and piety, and one book fallen on its side, signifying his studies cut short)

Rabbi Rubek Maurer (?)

2. David the son of Arieh Lev Matz, the righteous of blessed memory

3. This is the dirge which we recite on his behalf

4. Our eyes are wet with tears - as we bury our parent's bones

5. The light of our joy is mixed
(i.e. misted) when the leader (i.e. the first) was taken away from us

6. David our father is no longer with us - the country is laid waste before our eyes

7. Who can compensate us with as great a teacher - we have surely sinned
(a hint that a righteous man dies to atone for others' sins).

8. Thousands from our city can tell of his greatness in Torah

9. May his soul be bound up
(traditional metaphor) the head of our family. May the author of the Levushim (Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe of 16th century Prague - an ancestor of the family), be the forefather of ten like him.

10. The memory of his soul should be a source of blessing for all of us

11. May he merit the hidden light above

12. The strength of the highest heaven for our father

13. The heart of fathers will return their sons in repentance
(reworking of a verse in Hosea)
Hi Ralph,

FYI, my mother in the US has just found a circa 1900 photo of my great-great grandfather's headstone, Rabbi David Matz, who died at the age of 39 in 1896.  See attached photo, which shows quite a bit of detail on enlargement.  I haven't seen a record of this headstone on the Vilkaviskis site, correct?


Hi Ralph,

Thanks for the interesting information about chalet graves - this was very new info to me.  yea, unfortunately that tall stone in the background is very unclear to act as a marker for location in the cemetery, as I thought.

and yes, please feel free and use the picture on your site and blog!  I'll send you the  translation that I have so far of the inscription.


The headstone acrostic and translation of my great-great grandfather Rabbi David Matz, who passed away in Vilkaviskis at the age of 39 in 1896: