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Speaking to the Rabbi who runs the chevra kadisha in my neighborhood recently, regarding the pending cremation of the mother of a friend, he mentioned several interesting concepts with respect to the connection of the soul (it's not clear to me whether we are speaking of the nefesh, ruach, or neshama, or all three) to its lifeless body. I did not, at the time, find it pertinent to prod him for references.

I am hoping the distinguished members of mi yodea could source, and possibly expand on (any of) the following items:

  1. Immediately after death, the soul is very preoccupied with the care of the body. It feels anguish until the body is properly laid to rest.
  2. The "safest" place for the body is the earth (from the perspective of assuaging the soul's sorrow).
  3. The soul does not begin its "ascent" until the body is safeguarded. (Obviously, this has deep implications for all forms of un-buried bodies. How long does this interim period last?)
  4. Is there a source (that is accessible to the novice) that deals with the timeline and experience of the soul immediately after death and beyond?
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@GershonGold Pretty excellent article. Mentioned the expiation of "חיבוט הקבר" (the atonement that comes from the body decomposing, a year-long cycle, more or less). I wonder what happens to the soul when it doesn't have the opportunity to experience this. –  Seabiscuit May 23 at 14:32

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