Questions relating to the nature, function, or process of Death in Jewish thought.

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Why didn't Joshua take Prisoners When conquering Israel?

Why didn't Joshua take prisoners when conquering Israel? In Joshua chapter 10 it lists a number of nations that they conquer and kill. In verse 35 it states: [they] destroyed every soul that was ...
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Chevra Kaddisha string locations

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was we tied strings around various locations of the ...
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1answer
59 views

Chevra Kadisha knots

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was that when we tied any knots, we twist-wrapped the two ...
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247 views

How to be prepared for participation in the Chevra Kaddisha

What are some things that I (or anyone) should take into consideration before participating in a tahara, the ritual preparation of a body for burial?
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70 views

Why didn't Joshua appoint a leader after him?

When Joshua dies, he doesn't (at least not explicitly in Joshua 24 or Judges 1) appoint a spiritual or military leader after him. Joshua was appointed by Moses (Numbers 27:15-23) and that appears to ...
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42 views

Jews and makkas choshech

I heard someone say that the Jews who didn't want to leave Egypt died during makkos choshech. 1) Does anyone know where the source for this can be found? 2) Did four-fifths our people die during ...
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Ramban's perception on death

I read Rav Gifter's biography, where he states the following: The Ramban, in his introduction to Iyov, asks a question: “Why do we cry at a moment of death? “Why do we shed tears? This is the natural ...
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Understanding Megillah 3a

The gemarah megillah 3a expalians that were it not for the targum we would not understand the verse in Zecharya 12:11 which says there on that day the mourning in Jerusalem was like the mourning of ...
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57 views

How did the sons of Haman die? (Chronology of Esther chapter 9)

The 10 sons of Haman were hanged as we read in the Megillah. (Esther 9:14) But it appears they were killed by the sword. Is this a correct chronology of the story / facts? Haman was hanged on or ...
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23 views

Why isn't the deceased mentioned in the mourner's kaddish?

The kaddish mentions the Almighty but I would have thought it would have also mentioned the departed. What is the reason for this?
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52 views

According to Jewish law, if my only witness in a trial is deceased, what happens?

In the case that someone makes a certain claim before a court but requires a witness(es), however, the witnesses are deceased. Does that mean the person's claim has no bearing?
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Would they have died anyway?

I preface my question by noting that this question can be uncomfortable to some people, but hope that this great community can answer it Take any tragic event where people died, be it 9/11 or the ...
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61 views

Can an autopsy be performed on a Jewish body?

Halachically can one perform an autopsy on a Jewish body? One one hand, the Talmud Sanhedrin 47a explains that the verses in Deuteronomy 21:22-23 we can learn that one must not delay a burial and ...
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42 views

How to handle cadavers which are highly likely to be Jewish

This question How to handle cadavers asked what should be done where a student had to handle cadavers in their medical (dentistry) classes. A comment took the view that outside of Israel, the ...
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2answers
78 views

Did Pharaoh himself drown at Yam Suf

It would appear from the text that he did. Firstly the fact he was there, and leading the army himself: (Exodus 14 verse 10) with Rashi Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted up ...
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2answers
80 views

Why should God punish the firstborn of another nation that was in Egypt?

The Pasuk describes the victims of the plague of the firstborn as follows: It came to pass at midnight, and the Lord smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who ...
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2answers
68 views

Questions on David's order to kill Yoav

When David was dying, he gave a final speech to Shlomo Melachim I 2 . There he tells Shlomo to kill Yoav and Shimi ben Gera. Why are these his final instructions in the first place? I expect a ...
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1answer
53 views

What to do to fill the void when a Torah giant dies

I want to do something to fill the void left in the world from the passing of a Torah Giant. All the Torah that he learnt, all the Mitzvos that he did, all the merit that this world had because of him ...
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The משלח is dead, long live the משלח!

Tosfos (Gittin 13a, s.v. לא יתנו) write that דאע"ג שמינה המגרש בחייו השליח לא חשיב להיות כמותו אחר מותו כאילו הוא עצמו קיים אלא חשיב גט לאחר מיתה Even though the husband appointed his ...
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Is the mourning for a late relative dependent on the state of their relationship before death?

Are the halochos (laws) about observing mourning rituals for a relative (e.g., shiva, shloshim, etc.), affected in any way by the state of the relationship between the mourner and deceased before his ...
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79 views

Why is sleeping with shoes on a taste of death?

The gemarah in Yoma 78b teaches that sleeping with shoes is a taste of death. This is also codified in halacha. I would like to understand why this is the case. What is it about sleeping with shoes ...
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How do you avoid 'al tiftah peh l'satan'?

There is a principle of al tiftach peh l'satan (Ketubot 8b) - literally "don't open your mouth to the Satan". How can concern for this principle be avoided when discussing possible bad future ...
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86 views

Can a person (or cat) be both alive and dead at the same time? (Schrödinger's paradox)

Related: Schrödinger's cat and yibbum That question assumes that Schrödinger's paradox is possible, and that someone can be both dead and alive at the same time. So, is that actually true ...
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How many years before Yakov did Rochel die?

The torah teaches us that when Binyomin was born to Yakov, his wife Rochel died. How old was Yakov Avinu when Rochel died and how many years was that before his petira?
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Adam and the tree of life?

I have been considering Adam and what G-d said about Adam pertaining to the tree of life directly after the fall. After Adam had transgressed, G-d commanded that the tree of life be withheld from him ...
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30 views

Age range of meisei midbar

The dor hamidbar was cursed to die before entering the land. Children under 20 were not included in the curse. Was there an upper limit to the age of those who died in the desert?
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G-d and the serpent, what happened?

G-d said: "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.'" And the serpent said: "Ye shall not surely die; 5 for G-d doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall ...
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312 views

Source for eulogy of lost bookcases

I recall learning a gemarah (Bavli) where a certain scholar passed away and when another scholar was asked to eulogize him he responded with something akin to, "What should I say? We lost our ...
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60 views

How to express thanks for G-d's salvation when others weren't as fortunate

It is customary that one who was miraculously saved from death acknowledge G-d's kindness by making a celebratory meal (Seudat Hoda'ah). See here, here, and the Chayei Adam 154:41 Does anyone discuss ...
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66 views

Does killing a pest make a person unclean?

I know there were previous questions asking whether it is OK to kill a pest, say a fly, but the consequences are unclear. So I'm asking if killing a pest makes a person unclean.
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3answers
129 views

Why is it called parshas Chayei Sarah

2 Weeks ago was Parshas Chayei Sarah, and in the beginning for the first Alia (portion) it spoke about how Abraham buried Sarah.And then for the next 6 Alia's it speaks about Yitzchok and the whole ...
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Where can I find Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid's will online?

Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid wrote a famous will. The only place I was able to find it was on Hebrewbooks.org. However, it's an old print and an incomplete one at that. Is there somewhere the complete ...
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Is a ban on government workers wearing religious symbols a gezeirat hamalchut for which one would be obligated to give up his life?

So, i haven't heard that anyone today is making this punishable by death, but still... France has a law that prohibits government workers from wearing religious symbols on their job. This naturally ...
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3answers
65 views

What is the importance of the human body after death?

On one hand, we are told that the body is a simply container holding our soul. We have to take care of it while alive because we are borrowing it for our time on Earth. It is widely believed that our ...
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435 views

Killing animals for tefillin — how?

Are there halachas for how an animal for tefillin must be killed? Or can it, for example, be shot, assuming it was shot by a non Jew. If there are no restrictions, why not? (one would think that we ...
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Why did Yaakov only mention sheep dying?

In Bereshis 33:13 it says יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו, אֲדֹנִי יֹדֵעַ כִּי-הַיְלָדִים רַכִּים, וְהַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר, עָלוֹת עָלָי; וּדְפָקוּם יוֹם אֶחָד, וָמֵתוּ כָּל-הַצֹּאן. Yaakov initially ...
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181 views

Proliferation of species after the flood

I am curious as to how many species didn't go extinct immediately after the flood. There were 2 of each non-kosher animal that came off of the ark. I assume that the foxes and lions got hungry ...
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A theological problem with the Miriam “Magdalene” story in Chagiga 4b

There is an interesting story at the bottom of Chagiga 4b, top of 5a. The Angel of Death is telling a Rabbi of an incident that happened. The AoD has an assistant. The AoD tells him to reap Miriam ...
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Why did the dor hamabul earn a painless death?

There are, apparently, 903 levels of death, and the term vayigva is one of them. According to some, it refers to the simple act of expiration -- the creation of a corpse. Others, like the Rashi ...
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Origin of Unveiling

Often, the family of the deceased will have an unveiling service for the presentation of the matzevah.* What is the origin of this custom? *Source: Goldin, Hyman. Hamadrikh. Hebrew Publishing ...
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Tahara procedure for a body with an infectious disease

I've heard that one vector for the spread of Ebola is ceremonial contact that family members have with the body of their deceased relative. That led me to think about how Judaism deals with this ...
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Can Moshe die at will?

Devarim 32:49-50 עֲלֵה אֶל-הַר הָעֲבָרִים הַזֶּה הַר-נְבוֹ, אֲשֶׁר בְּאֶרֶץ מוֹאָב, אֲשֶׁר, עַל-פְּנֵי יְרֵחוֹ; וּרְאֵה אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן, אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי נֹתֵן לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַאֲחֻזָּה. נ ...
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Did the ancient Rabbanim believe that the spirits of the dead walked the Earth?

In the Midrashim I noticed that Rabbanim keep mentioning events in which the Rabbi would be walking along and come across a man doing some task and it would turn out to be the spirit of a dead man who ...
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51 views

Is עליו השלום inappropriate to say about a living person?

The phrase "olov hashalom" is often appended to names of the deceased. I don't know very much about it's history or any deeper implications, but at face value it just means "peace be upon him." I ...
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42 views

When may a body be removed from its resting place and buried elsewhere?

In what instances may a body be removed from its resting place and be interred elsewhere?
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738 views

(Why) do we close the eyes of the deceased?

I heard someone say that when one passes away we have to close their eyes. Where in halacha does it say this? Why do we do this?
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64 views

What class of entity are Wisdom and Death?

Most Jews and Christians will only recognize the angels as being the only other spirits made by G0d, but angels are not omnipresent nor omnipotent and it seems to me that the Spirit of Wisdom in ...
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What does Mot Yumat mean?

In the chumash, any sources. What is the literal translation and does it mean, mot = this world, yumat = the next world?
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268 views

Do Jews pray to deceased forefathers?

Shalom, I would like to know if Jews consider it acceptable to pray to deceased ancestors, forefathers, or "saints" like some Christians in the Catholic tradition do. Deuteronomy 18:11 would seem to ...
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87 views

Life after death? [duplicate]

Can anyone direct me to a book or commentary on Jewish thoughts on what happens after death, and the evolution of those ideas. I understand that Judaism is centered on how to live life, but from I can ...