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

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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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96 views

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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1answer
100 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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3answers
110 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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0answers
56 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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1answer
246 views

How to handle cadavers

My fiancée is going to university, working towards a degree in dentistry. For about a year, she will be required to handle cadavers in the classes. First of all, is this forbidden in Torah? Secondly, ...
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1answer
66 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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1answer
73 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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1k views

Does halakhah forbid Jews from eating pets that die naturally?

Suppose you keep a goldfish in your house. One day, it dies. Assuming that it has died a natural death (that is, you didn't intentionally kill it), is it kosher to eat this goldfish?
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88 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
93 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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130 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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94 views

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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1answer
107 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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41 views

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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95 views

Kill a no-longer-profitable horse?

My understanding is that a horse is killed when its profit no longer matches its expense. Is this something Jews should/may do? I can think of some pros and cons, but wonder what authorities have ...
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1answer
182 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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1answer
76 views

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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77 views

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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1answer
202 views

How does the tree of life work?

There were two special trees in Gan Eden. In the case of the tree of knowledge of good and bad, we know that eating from it once produced a permanent effect. Was this true for the tree of life too, ...
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1answer
32 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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1answer
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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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159 views

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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320 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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1answer
91 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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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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48 views

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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1answer
149 views

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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134 views

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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1answer
362 views

Why is a bris performed after death?

Why does an infant baby boy who dies before he can be circumcised have a circumcision performed after death? If, as the article states it is to prepare the body for the next world why is this ritual ...
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2answers
460 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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89 views

Do you have to judge dead people favorably?

In Avot we learn that one should judge all people favorably ("והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות"). I would like to know if that includes the deceased. Meaning, can I look back on the life of a person who is ...
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98 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 ...
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201 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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2answers
222 views

Why should the patriarchs have lived to 180?

Rashi to B'reshis 25:30 says that Avraham should have lived to the age of 180 had his life not been cut short. Yitzchak lived to 180. The Daas Z'kenim to B'reshis 47:8 quotes a midrash as saying ...
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112 views

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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1answer
148 views

Innocent babies killed in flood

In Parasha Noach, why were presumably innocent babies killed in the Flood? I would appreciate if someone could provide some elucidation.
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80 views

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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1answer
77 views

The reason Aaron's two sons died

Why did Aaron's two elder sons die? I've heard that there are many reasons offered, and would appreciate knowing as many as possible.
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60 views

Can one accomplish Tzedaka through a will?

If one gives Tzedaka through a will -- so it is meant to be given after death -- does that person get the Mitzvah of Tzedaka? The reason I would think "no" is because it is difficult to understand ...
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1answer
121 views

May one publish or read the private diary of a deceased person?

Recently the private diary of Rav Kook was published; diaries of other Rabbis have also been published posthumously. Is there any halachic problem with publishing these documents, and, if there is, is ...
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123 views

Leather and vegetarianism according to Rav Kook?

According to Rav Kook, it is ideal to be a vegetarian. This is because he assumes G-d would not create a world in which creatures could not exist in harmony (see linked article) and therefore 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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145 views

Why did the Jews complain that the mon would kill them after they spent 39 years eating it?

In Bamidbar 21:5, the Jews complained about the mon. Rashi explains that this was because it was entirely absorbed into their bodies, and they had no need to relieve themselves after eating it, so ...
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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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206 views

Issues of Tumah vis a vis non-Jewish human remains

I was once told that there's a crypt in the Old City of Jerusalem near one of the gates (I forget which one), which houses the remains of a well-regarded non-Jew (once again, I forget the exact ...
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1answer
52 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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52 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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70 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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827 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?