Burial

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Jewish
Death
Eddy Wiens, Chris Friesen,
Jordan Screpnek, David
Schroeder, Heather Booy
Introduction

Two principles that govern the Jewish
approach to death and morning:
1.
Kavod Ha-Met – Honoring the Dead
- It is extremely important to treat the body with
respect and care from the time of death until the
burial is completed
2.
Death is a natural process
Role of the Rabbi
Rabbinic Consultation
- families should consult the Rabbi as
soon as possible when death occurs
 Rabbinic Guidance
- any questions regarding funeral
arrangements and periods of mourning
should be referred to the Rabbi

Chevra Kadisha
A holy society, or “burial society”
 Assists the bereaved families in arranging
for the funeral according to halacha
 Define requirements of proper respect for
a corpse, the ritual cleansing of the body,
and subsequent dressing for burial

Funeral Director
Rabbi should be consulted on the
acceptability of a funeral director.
 A funeral director (also known as a
mortician or undertaker) is someone
involved in the business of funeral rites.
The job often entails the burial or
cremation of the dead.
 It is important that the funeral director to
follow Jewish customs and tradition

Cemetery Societies
In some communities, there may be
Jewish cemetery societies that can be
used in place of a funeral director.
 The Rabbi should also be consulted on the
use of cemetery societies.

When Death Occurs

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Jewish law requires that burial take place as
soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of
death.
Exceptions may be made for legal reasons such
as transporting the deceased, close relatives
having to travel a long distance to attend the
funeral, or avoiding burial on Shabbat.
Shmirah – body of the deceased must not be left
alone prior to burial.
Aninut: Time Between Death and
Burial

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Ritual cleansing (Taharah) in which
the body is washed by specially
trained groups of people called
Hevra Kadisha or a Jewish funeral
director in preparation for the burial.
Once the body is washed it is
dressed in a plain linen cloth called
‘Tachrichim’.
Jewish male is buried wearing a
kipah and his own talit (prayer
shawl).
Kipah
Talit
K’riah (during Aninut)
K’riah is the tearing of a visible portion of
clothing, such as a pocket or collar, just
prior to the funeral service.
 The torn garments are worn by mourners
for parents, a spouse, children, or siblings
who participate in the Shivah, which is a 7day mourning period.

Onen (during Aninut)
Onen is an immediate family member of
the deceased who is in mourning.
 They are exempt from the performance of
all affirmative religious obligations
between the time of death and the funeral,
such as reciting the three daily services.
 The Onen is forbidden to drink wine, eat
meat, or indulge in luxuries.

The Funeral - Services
The funeral service may be held in a
synagogue, a funeral home, or at the
gravesite.
 Brief and simple
 Includes the chanting of Psalms, the ‘Eyl
Malei Rahamim’ (the traditional memorial
prayer), and a ‘hesped’ (eulogy) honoring
the deceased.

The Casket

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Is a plain wooden coffin called an ‘Aran’.
Used to avoid interference with the natural
process of “returning to the earth”.
Once the Taharah and dressing in Tachrichim
has been completed, the casket remains closed.
May be covered with a specially prepared cloth
called a pall.
Pallbearers stop seven times while carrying the
casket to the grave.
The casket is followed by mourners as a means
of respect.
Burial
Burial is called K’vurah.
 Casket is lowered into the ground and
covered until a mound of dirt is formed.
 The Kaddish, which is recited at the
graveside, is a prayer said in memory of
the dead .

The Funeral – Burial
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Jewish people bury the dead, and
later gather the bones and place
them in tombs or containers
called Ossuaries.
Practice of gathering bones is
called Ossiligium or “Second
Burial”.
Once the burial is complete,
mourners wash their hands before
entering the house of mourning.
Ossuaries
Mourning Period
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Initial period of mourning is called a ‘Shivah’.
This is a 7-day period of intensive mourning
observed by the immediate family, beginning on
the day of the burial.
Mourners are encouraged not to work or attend
school.
They are also encouraged to attend Shabbat
services.
During the Shivah mirrors in the homes are
covered and a memorial candle is lit.
Mourners do not wear leather shoes and males
do not shave.
Mourning Period (continued)
The mourners recite the Kaddish everyday
at the Shaharit, Minha, and Ma’ariv
services.
 A minyan is required, which is the required
amount of ten Jews required for public
prayer

Mourning Period - Shloshim
The first 30 days of mourning are called
‘Shloshim’.
 Mourners return to work and activities, yet
are still withdrawn from public
entertainment and social activities.
 The K’riah (torn garment), is usually worn
during this period.

Yahrzeit – Anniversary of Death
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The Kaddish (prayer recited by
mourners) is recited each year on
the Hebrew calendar anniversary
of death.
It is customary to light a yahrzeit
candle (lasts 24 hours), to study a
portion of the Torah or Mishnah,
and to donate tzedakah on the
anniversary.
Yahrzeit candle
Yizkor
The Yizkor are memorial prayers recited at
synagogue services on the four Jewish
holidays in remembrance of the deceased.
 Recited on Yom Kippur; Sh’mini Atzeret,
and the second day of Shavuot.

Theological Explanations

Evidence for secondary burial is found in
2 Samuel 21:13-14.
“David brought the bones of Saul and his son Jonathan
from there, and the bones of those who had been killed
and exposed were gathered up. They buried the bones
of Saul and his son Jonathan in the tomb of Saul’s father
Kish, at Zela in Benjamin, and did everything the king
commanded. After that, God answered prayer in behalf
of the land.”
Theological Explanations
(continued)
Jewish graves are marked
with the name of the
deceased.
 The Torah says that Jacob
set up a maker for Rachel.
Genesis 35: 20 “Over her
tomb, Jacob set up a pillar,
and to this day that pillar
marks Rachel’s tomb.”

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