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Understanding Cemetery Symbols: What is the Hebrew version of RIP? #cemetery #history #GraveHour

Understanding Cemetery Symbols by Tui Snider

[The following is an adapted excerpt from my book, Understanding Cemetery Symbols. I hope you enjoy it! Also, full disclosure: that’s an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy my book after clicking it, I make a few pennies at no additional cost to you.]

What does RIP stand for?

In Christian cemeteries, it’s fairly common to see the acronym “RIP” on headstones. Although we tend to think of that as meaning “rest in peace,” it actually stands for “requiescat in pace.” Since that is Latin for “may h/she rest in peace,” it all works out!

(c) Tui Snider - pey & nun, Hebrew for "here lies."
(c) Tui Snider – pey & nun, Hebrew for “here lies.”

Do Jewish headstones use RIP?

While it’s handy to learn the meaning for the most common Latin phrases and acronyms, when you visit a Jewish cemetery you will see Hebrew letters engraved on the monuments. I am not Jewish, but I have come to recognize the Hebrew letters “pey” and “nun.” As a tombstone acronym, these letters are an abbreviation for po nikbar, meaning “here lies.” You can see an example of this in the photo above.

Want to learn more about cemetery symbols?

BLOG POSTS: Click here to read a whole bunch more blog posts about historic graveyards and cemetery symbols. I’m constantly adding new content here!

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Tui Snider
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