Talk:Bereavement in Judaism

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Burial tradition[edit]

The thing about the shovel is not jewniversal--it's a nice custom, but that should be clarified. The way that part is currently written, it sounds like this practice is torah mesinai. There are a number of variations of the custom as well--at least one funeral I've been to, the mourners each used the shovel, in turn, and after using the shovel, used their hand to throw in an additional handful. I don't know where the tradition comes from, nor its variations. Tomer TALK 21:45, September 2, 2005 (UTC)

  • it is traditional to do many things "backwards" ... I think the chevrah also pours water in a backhanded manner when preparing the body.


Euthanasia is not Kosh[edit]

This was according to a rabbi, from Is euthanasia allowed under any circumstances? Answer: Euthanasia is forbidden (see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, ch. 339 for more details).

The soul of a Jew is pure G-dliness. The fact that a spark of G-dliness manifests itself in this physical world, in a physical body, is truly amazing. Every Jew is, by his/her very existence a beacon of G-dly light on this world. G-d forbid to extinguish this light.

name and lead[edit]

This article currently has no lead, and with the article name, it's kind of hard to construct one. I would like to see the article moved to Bereavement in Judaism for starters, since "Jewish bereavement" is not what the article is about, it's about bereavement in Judaism. Discuss. Tomer TALK 18:33, September 8, 2005 (UTC)

Yeah, I was struggling with that myself. Death, Dying, Mourning/Bereavement, Jewish eschatology, burial, funeral practices . . . they're all related, but I couldn't find one term to sum it all up and didn't really like "Judaism and Death." Thanks for bringing it to the Talk page. I'd like to see a solution.
Separately . . . what you mean by a lead? I was intending this to be an overview article, and think that what you're saying might be related to how overview articles are "done" in Wikipedia.

— <TALKJNDRLINETALK>     22:19, 20 September 2005 (UTC)

Yahrzeits of famous Jews[edit]

It would be great if we could get the yahrzeits of famous Jews throughout history. Does anyone have a list? I have found a few, so I will note them here, but I am not sure of the accuracy of them since I don't know what time of day they died. It would be great to verify the accuracy of these and get more.

Name Died Yahrzeit
Isaac Kook 09/01/1935 Elul 3
Joseph Soloveitchek 04/09/1993 Nissan 18
Rashi 07/13/1105 Tammuz 29
Abraham Joshua Heschel 12/23/1972 Tevet 18
Rambam 12/13/1204 Tevet 20


Integration of the term levayah seems valid, in that levayah, rather than "funeral" may well be the only term used in traditional communities. Further, the meaning "accompanying" supports the understanding of the mitzvah, whereas the word funeral does not even in translation, tie into the Jewish hashkafa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Comik (talkcontribs) 01:32, 2 January 2009 (UTC)


Main article: Tattoo

I'd like to find a source to verify info about the Orthodox opinion on tattoos and burial. Specifically related to: Holocaust, converts/baalai tshuvah who never removed their tattoos, removing post-mortem, laser surgery, and if the person doesn't remove pre or post.

-- 01:45, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

It is my understanding that the opinion of denying Jewish burial to those with tattoos is not universal and is primarily held only in the US. Israelis have told me that since most everyone in Israel is Jewish, the idea of a "Jewish" cemetary, as opposed to a cemetary admitting everyone, is absurd. Hence, if you are buried in Israel and have a tattoo, you'll be buried just like everyone else -- in a cemetary full of primarily Jews and with proper Jewish ceremony. I too would like more information about this, but if this caveat does exist and you choose to update the entry on tattoos and burial, please make note of the exception.

On a similar note, I have looked into opinions about Conservative converts and tattoos. This opinion seems to vary -- some feel that what is done is done and the only thing to do is move forward, as removal is just as damaging, if not more damaging, than the tattoo itself. Others advocate removal. Conservatives are, of course, less strict about interpretation, but I thought this would be good to note as the strictness with which the law is interpreted can vary even among Orthodox congregations.

If I'm wrong about this, please set me straight. A.Octavia 15:33, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

The whole thing is nonsense from beginning to end. There is no source in Jewish Law or tradition to deny a person with a tattoo buriel in a Jewish cemetery. it is urban legend fiction. (talk) 22:19, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Sealed casket?[edit]

The article mentions that the casket is both sealed and left unsealed. Anyone know which it is? Thanks. 19:53, 31 March 2006 (UTC)

  • The casket is sealed as in, nailed shut so it will stay shut, but it is not hermetically sealed, which stops the body from decomposing and keeps things like worms out.
    • Allowing the body to decompose naturally is preferred, but I'm not sure what is done if local ordinances state that the casket is to be hermetically sealed.

paragraph seems irrelevant[edit]

In the "Burial" sections, the following paragraph seems irrelevant: Additionally, the Cave of the Patriarchs, the spiritual center of Hebron which was the first capital city of the Kingdom of Israel in the times of King David, is called Me'arat HaMakhpela (מערת המכפלה) in Hebrew: "The Cave of the 'double' caves or tombs", because (according to Jewish tradition) its hidden twin caves are considered to be the burial place of four "pairs" of important Biblical couples: (1) Adam and Eve; (2) Abraham and Sarah; (3) Isaac and Rebekah; (4) Jacob and Leah.

If this is relevant to burial in Judaism, can someone who knows why please add some context. I'm not Jewish, so I was really confused as to why this was here, but didn't want to delete it. --Natalie 03:35, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

  • I'm not sure what's going on with that paragraph: The number one in their list is false; Jews do not consider it the burial place of Adam and Eve, biblically, it was purchased by Isaac to bury his father (Abraham). Perhaps someone was throwing it in as a famous/historic/noted/etc burial place? Maybe, since there is no article on Jewish cemeteries? It is important, though. It is generally referred to in English as the cave of the Patriarchs (referring to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the Matriarchs are Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah).
    • Well, I don't know when, but it's gone now. --Thnidu (talk) 22:54, 25 August 2013 (UTC)


Huh? What's this business about headstone footstone? Are you talking about what we call it in Hebrew, or what the actual stone looks like, or ...? I've never heard of this one before; does anyone have a source for this? Unless we can source this, or others can confirm this as something they've heard of, I'm wondering if this should be deleted. TLMD13 08:30, 15 September 2006 (UTC)TLMD13

Okay, I'm deleting this footstone business. If anyone has a source, they're welcome to put it back in. TLMD13 20:05, 25 September 2006 (UTC)TLMD13


It seems that a lot of sections are being cut short in the interests of space, size, and appearance. Mostly the sections that I would see as the grieving and memorializing bits that stop this article from being called "Death in Judaism." I've seen other articles be split into multiple pages without actually being split as articles. I think they were able to keep the TOC intact on each of the pages, though. Anyway, that was what I was thinking of trying to do here.

I created the page, but I don't have the time, and don't have the fight left in me to do things like this anymore.


1 Death and dying

1.1 Death bed

1.2 Death itself

1.3 Vigil

2 Chevra kadisha

2.1 Preparing the body

3 Funeral service

3.1 Eulogies

4 Burial

10 Communal responses to death

10.1 Zihuy Korbanot Asson (ZAKA)

10.2 Hebrew Free Burial Association (HFBA)

11 Controversy following death

11.1 Donating organs

11.2 Jewish view of cremation

11.3 Suicide

11.4 Tattoos

11.5 Death of an apostate Jew

11.6 Death of an infant

12 After death in Judaism

7 Matzevah - Unveiling of the headstone

14 The Holocaust

5 Mourning

5.1 Keriah and shivah

5.2 Commencing and calculating the seven days of mourning

6 Stages of mourning

6.1 First stage - aninut

6.2 Second stage - avelut

6.3 Third stage - shiv'ah

6.4 Fourth stage - shloshim

6.5 Fifth stage - shanah a year of mourning

8 Annual remembrances

8.1 Yahrzeit

8.2 Visiting the gravesite

9 Memorial through prayer

9.1 Mourner's Kaddish

9.2 Yizkor

9.3 Av HaRachamim

13 National days of remembrance

I don't know. It doesn't seem that the article is overly long, though it does have lots of subsections. Aslo, many of those main topics are already covered in their own articles, some of which can be seen at Template:JewishLifeCycle (bottom line). --Eliyak T·C 01:27, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I don’t know. I think this should all be under one article and splitting it would just make it too confusing. I don’t see a difference between mourning and bereavement and as for Remembrance, we can have an article on Yizkor which is somewhat different than mourning, kinda... Valley2city 04:54, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

-- I think it's advantageous to deal with the whole subject in one article. It is split in other online sources, and to my mind more difficult to find and sort out. I also think that the flow from death through mourning is a continuous process and properly dealt with holistically. Jeff, 26 November 2006


What's the Jewish bereavement/draft redirect page about? is that a wiki software artifact (left over from the title change way back)?


  • It means that someone created an article at Jewish bereavement/draft, and then moved it or redirected it to this page. You can nominate it for deletion if you would like. — Reinyday, 17:22, 29 September 2006 (UTC)

Organ Donation[edit]

As far as organ donation goes, I can only speak of what I know, namely the Orthodox perspective, but clearly it is allowed under the right conditions -- see, for example, (I can provide plenty of primary sources if needed.) Already in the 1700s was the topic discussed (in the form of corneal transplants), and while yes it is considered a form of atonement for the body to decompose and an attempt is made to recover and bury as much as possible, Orthodoxy never claimed that full burial was required for the soul to go to heaven. (If it was, would that mean that all those who perished at Auschwitz can't go to heaven?) The IP address used by the previous user has been repeatedly warned for vandalism and/or adding nonsense. I'm happy to have a discussion about Judaism's view on organ donation, but for now I really don't think we can say "all denominations prohibit." The previous user may have been quoting a minority opinion at best. TLMD13 20:13, 25 September 2006 (UTC)TLMD13

Anon IP (who's been warned for vandalism) felt like adding in "somewhat" permitted, which I undid. We can talk about this. I don't see the "somewhat" here: according to what I've heard from Fred Rosner on the subject, as long as donor death has been determined, in theory it's fine, though practically they may have to ask the doctors for things like not otherwise tampering with the body, using biodegradable thread, and the like -- but none of that changes that it's 100% "permitted." The only other caveat mentioned in Rosner's lecture is that the success rate must exceed 50% for something huge like a heart transplant -- practically, this condition is always met in current procedures. TLMD13 13:32, 17 May 2007 (UTC)TLMD13

The page, as it stood, did not appear to reflect the serious practical difficulties for orthodox jews who wish to be organ donors. There was no source for the statement about donors in Israel. I have amended the page accordingly. You might want to look at the following links to see why I thought the changes were necessary: and here is a leaflet published by the National Health Service in the UK: (talk) 17:31, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


Um, here we go again, it's one thing to say that Judaism doesn't like cremation, but to say that a person loses their olam haba as a result ... does anyone have a source for that please? (There's a lot of superstition that's been put up here, IMHO.) Again, I can quote sources that burial helps serve as an additional atonement, but to say that cremation automatically disqualifies someone? It's not on the list in Sanhedrin 11:1. (And again, by this logic, all those who perished in the Holocaust ...) Unless someone provides a source or something soon, I'm going to change this: "Judaism strongly frowns upon cremation." Leave out the olam haba discussion. Does that sound reasonable? TLMD13 16:52, 3 October 2006 (UTC)TLMD13

Personally, I don't recall ever hearing that said about cremation. I have heard that the soul can still feel effects on the body after death (and that that is why decomposition provides atonement). I understood that this is one reason why Judaism frowns on cremation (and autopsies). The losing Olam Haba / "no repose" statement sounds vaguely kabbalistic... --Eliyak T·C 22:50, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
"The soul won't make it to olam haba and won't be redeemed", with a link to "Jewish Messiah"? Sounds awfully Christian to me. Eliyak, you're welcome to change it back, but I'm going to modify this. (I know that decomposition-providing-atonement is referenced in the Noda Bihuda's teshuva on corneal transplants.) -The discussion in the Gemara about why burial is found in Sandhedrin, I can look up which daf if you like; first they try to prove it from the fact that all the tzadikim had burial, the Gemara says no, maybe that was just the norm of the time. The proof is from 'ki kavor tikberenu' (end of the first aliyah of Ki Seitzei.) I hope that's enough as far as citing sources. TLMD13 13:25, 4 October 2006 (UTC)TLMD13.

On a simpler note, it would make sense to merge the section on the Holocaust into the section on cremation. I almost edited the section on cremation to refer to the Holocaust until I found the seperate section on the Holocaust at the end. --Gglockner 19:52, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

The little chapter way at the bottom about the Holocaust in relation to cremation seems like an opinion rather than a fact. In addition, and this is far more important, it says that 'thousands' of jews were cremated in the camps. Millions of jews were cremated, as is the info one can even find in specific wiki entries about the holocaust and the concentration and extermination camps.

I agree - it seems out of place as a section in a page on bereavement, since it seems to be justifying the cremation "prohibition". Additionally, and please forgive me for making this horrific point, the wording of "...dispose of the bodies of..." implies "dispose of the [dead] bodies of...", which is (horrifically) not completely correct. AlanM1 (talk) 02:30, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Sitting Shiva[edit]

Anon. IP added the thing about sitting shiva when someone marries out; not quite so simple -- I'm going to expand upon this. (They say the minhag developed from a quote that R' Gershom sat shiva for his son k'shenishtamed, when in fact that was a typo, the girsa was shenishtamed -- i.e., when he died.) TLMD13 14:35, 8 January 2007 (UTC)TLMD13

Can TLMD13 or someone else please provide a reference for the typo, maybe the name of the text that contained the typo, and ideally also a source which explains the mistake which was made and the effect of the new ruling (perhaps by a posek)? 17:25, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

That was in Or Zarua published by Rabbi Isaac of Vienna in the twelfth century. I've added this info to the article.[1] --MPerel ( talk | contrib) 18:14, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Mourner's Kaddish Traditions[edit]

I thought I'd start a discussion about the statements made about traditions for the Mourner's Kaddish. It has been my experience that Askenazi Jews (Orthodox) do not stand for the prayer, or say it, unless they are mourning. Only in the case of Reform Judiasm have I seen the entire congregation stand. Here is is explained that we do it as a mourning of the whole community with the further reason (if for no other) that for those of the 6 Million who don't have anyone to say Kaddish for them, we do it. I have never, again in my experience, seen an Orthodox synagogue where everyone stands. I cannot speak for the Sephardi (having never been to one, yet).

Anyone else have thoughts?


Matt Mbeyers 20:52, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Hi Matt, not sure which Orthodox synagogues you've attended, but I've been to quite a few (a wide variety of Ashkenaz and Sephard, from Modern Orthodox to Chassidic to German-style, to Bukkharian to Spanish-Portuguese, etc., across the USA, some in Europe, and a handful in Israel), and the normative Ashkenazic practice I've seen is for everyone to stand when kaddish is being recited, though there have been some mistaken rumors and confusion about this. -Maybe if someone was not feeling well or really tired or something it'd be different, but generally everyone stands. This custom is older than the past few decades, and as such has nothing to do per se about national mourning for the Holocaust; it's out of respect for Kaddish's status as a "public prayer." (During other "public" parts of the service, such as the chazzan's repetition of the amida or the torah reading, it is listed as preferable, though not required, for people to stand as well; in a Haredi synagogue, you're likely to see everyone standing; in a Modern Orthodox synagogue, it will probably be only the rabbi. -And plenty of synagogues in between will have some standers and some sitters! Thus, it's not surprising that the custom developed to go ahead and have everyone stand for Kaddish, which is pretty short. (Furthermore, having to stand while everyone else sits can make a mourner feel both "in the spotlight" and isolated from everyone else, hardly a comfortable feeling.)
Meanwhile, every Sephardic service I've attended, however, has had only the mourners stand. Again, we're dealing entirely with custom, not law, when it comes to the sit/stand thing, but I've seen enough places that I'm fairly certain this description is normative. Any other Ortho-involved Wikipedians want to comment on this? TLMD13 10:18, 6 February 2007 (UTC)TLMD13
In my experience, the custom in Ashkenazic communities is to stand for kaddish. In some communities where there is a general laxity of observance, people often sit because they are tired or just lazy. (Of course, the disabled or infirm do not have to stand.) In Sephardic synagogues, it seems to me that the custom is to sit. However, it could be that this is just de facto practice, and the "true" custom is to stand - I don't know. I have noticed that they tend to sit for a much greater percentage of prayers than Ashkenazim do. --DLandTALK 14:28, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that there is a set custom, at least for traditional/Orthodox communities. I've attended a number of Ashkenazic shuls in the US and Europe, and as far as I could tell there was never any expectation one way or the other - often about half the people would sit once their own prayers were completed, and the other half would remain standing through kaddish. It's no wonder that non-Orthodox visitors usually have no idea what's going on at any given time. ;) DanielC/T+ 14:54, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I've seen both, and I honestly prefer where everyone stands. At the synagouge I regularly attended (Ashkenazi Conservative) only the mouners stood (being Conservative, males and females said Kaddish), and as an 11 year old, I felt very much "in the spotlight" there. When I went to a friend's congregation (Ashkenazi Reform) for her Bat Mitzvah, everyone stood for the mourner's kaddish, and it was much more comfortable.

As for being able to follow Orthodox services... I've discovered you can- if you read Hebrew fluently and very fast (Don't need to understand it, but you need to be able to follow it WELL), and know the basic set-up of a service. Oh, and can understand the leader's Hebrew. Okay, it's not that easy, especially if you're from one of the less traditional synagouges. Non-Jews don't stand a chance. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by RoseRose16 (talkcontribs) 06:20, 22 February 2007 (UTC).

Preparing the body -- Taharah[edit]

I did a fairly significant re-write of this section, partly for clarity and partly to try to get the level of detail a little more consistent throughout the section. Introduced a number of new transliterations of Hebrew terms.

Johnny Lee jlee 04:13, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Keriah for "apostasy"[edit]

Anon. IP added right after the Keriah paragraph that it's done for "apostasy" as well. If this refers to sitting shiva for a Jew who's gone "apostate", that's addressed elsewhere in the article. If we mean Keriah as a response to hearing 'chiruf v'giduf', e.g. as described in II Kings, that's true, but a.) not sure it belongs here; ideas about this? b.) I don't think "apostasy" is the appropriate term (maybe 'heresy' would be better); the episode in II Kings, which is the original source, has a pagan ambassador saying all sorts of awful things about the God of Israel -- it's heretical to Judaism, but not 'apostasy' to the fellow saying it, who was never Jewish to begin with. (And then there's the Talmud's discussion of what kinds of curses are rare enough to still be shocking, 'or else your shirt would be full of tears', etc.) Any thoughts on this? TLMD13 14:52, 10 July 2007 (UTC)TLMD13

Preparing the body — Taharah[edit]

What does the standalone paragraph "(Note- Buried not within 24hours)" mean? AlanM1 (talk) 01:23, 25 September 2010 (UTC)

Chevra Kadisha[edit]

The section Chevra Kadisha has essentially nothing to do with bereavement and can safely be deleted from this article. --Redaktor (talk) 06:38, 30 October 2014 (UTC)

Upon receiving news of the passing

Upon receiving the news of the passing, the following blessing is recited: ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, דיין האמת.

   Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, dayan ha-emet.
   Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the Judge of Truth."[1] 

Dayan ha-emet is not the True Judge. It means the Judge of Truth (dayan, with patoch vowel under the yood, is s'michut, meaning judge OF...) I have edited accordingly.Kepipesiom (talk) 22:29, 23 July 2015 (UTC)

Problems in this article[edit]

IMHO, there are a bunch of problems in this article. I already removed some redundant material. But I think there needs to be some re-ordering of the sections. Also, there is room to add more detailed and accurate information throughout. My plan is to do more research and to start adding and reorganizing. I hope not to overstep the bounds and only make the article better, but if you think I went to far, please bring it up here or on my wall; I'll be watching both spaces.Steal the Kosher Bacon (talk) 16:49, 22 November 2016 (UTC)