Geder Avos

The Jews of Tachov, in West Bohemia, Czechia, had close connections with adjoining Bavaria, and are mentioned in halachic responsa and in other documents as early as the fifteenth century. One of the outstanding personalities of Tachov was a tzaddik by the name of Rabbi Nochum Sofer (c. 1725-1815), whose resting place was frequently visited by chassidim from Eastern Europe on their way to nearby Marienbad or Karlsbad.

Oholei Tzaddikim and Geder Avos, in cooperation with Rabbi Yoel Tzvi Moskowitz of Antwerp, erected a replica of the original tombstone in 2012, and completed the project with the construction of an Ohel in 2017.

The following is a free translation of the script of the impassioned and partly-rhyming Hebrew metaphors of the tombstone. The fascinating inscription was later interpreted as a prophecy foretelling World War I.

Wednesday, the first day of Rosh Chodesh Iyar, 5575 [1815]

Here lies Rabbi Nochum

the son of Rabbi Yosef Sofer

These are my parting words to my upright and wise brethren who dwell in darkness:

Make your faces luminous, and we will be saved!

Humble your insensitive hearts and turn back from your sins and transgressions!

Forsake misdeeds and wickedness before the approach of calamity! Weep tearfully!

O Israel, the nation that is saved by G-d, behold the pit that lies open before you, its mouth ready to swallow you, helpless!

Woe, woe, for the catastrophe into which you will be cast!

<em>click to view larger images: </em>