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

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2
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2answers
155 views

Are there any early mentions of the concept of “l'iluy nishmas”?

On his Rationalist Judaism blog, R' Natan Slifkin posed this question: I am very interested to know if there are any early mentions of the phrase "l'iluy nishmas" or the concept thereof. (I am not ...
4
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1answer
106 views

Washing hands after touching a gentile corpse

Does one need to wash hands after touching a gentile corpse just as after a Jewish one?
3
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2answers
102 views

Does “die” in Bereishit 2:17 imply the *beginning* of a process death, or simply *death*?

It is true that Adam and Eve didn’t die the exact day they ate, as some seem to think Genesis 2:17 implies. The Hebrew is die-die (muwth-muwth), which is often translated as “surely die” or ...
4
votes
2answers
160 views

Is a person obligated to purchase life insurance?

I have, unfortunately, heard about quite a few stories of fathers/husbands who were in kolel full time and then suddenly passed away leaving the family at best with very little savings and at worst ...
4
votes
1answer
195 views

Not sitting shiva when the baby passes away after 30 days

Recently, a 2-month-old baby passed away ל"ע, and the family indicated that there would be no shiva. Under what circumstances is there no shiva for a baby that lives passed 30 days?
3
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0answers
71 views

Death penalty convict status

If a Jewish woman is married to a Jewish man, and she has been sentenced to death or declared a resident of a Rebellious City, but not yet been executed, is she considered technically "dead" to the ...
3
votes
1answer
149 views

What is the Tuma status of food which touched a corpse?

In general (DeOraisa), when Tumah spreads it lowers itself by a level. Moreover, a Keli can't make a Keli Tamei, nor can a food item make another food item Tamei (at least by Chullin). So a ...
3
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0answers
53 views

Can one be liable for death by delivering upsetting news?

In Parshas Chayei Sarah (23:2), Rashi quotes Bereishis Rabbah (58:5) that the reason the Parsha of Sarah's death is juxtaposed to Akeidas Yitzchak is: לספוד לשרה ולבכתה: ונסמכה מיתת שרה לעקידת ...
4
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2answers
140 views

Specific things to do when a Gadol passes away

Are there are any Segulot, Tefilot, Limudim brought down in the Sefarim for the passing of the Sadik HaDor?
6
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1answer
121 views

Does anyone know where this prayer comes from?

I've always been struck by the beauty of the following Hebrew prayer for the dead (translated into early modern English): O Lord and King, who art full of compassion, God of the spirits of all ...
8
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
2
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1answer
115 views

Adom eating from tree of knowledge

Why didn't Adom eat from the tree of life first and then eat from the tree of knowledge so he can live forever? Do any Medorshim discuss this?
3
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2answers
171 views

Sadducee kohanim gedolim dying on yom kippur

There were a few hundred kohanim gedolim in the second bais hamikdosh many of whom died on 'the job' on yom kippur in the holy of holies. Knowing this, what induced them to become a kohen godol which ...
7
votes
1answer
68 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 ...
2
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1answer
79 views

Is a Jewish med student allowed to use body parts donated to science?

Would you be required to refuse to work on bodies donated to science for educational purposes?
2
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2answers
304 views

If a widow married the brother of her deceased husband

If a widow married the brother of her deceased husband so the deceased husband can have children in the deceased husband's name, then how does the brother have any children in his own name?
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1answer
47 views

About whom exactly did R Chiya ask his nephew Rav about and about whom did rav reply

We see in psochim 4a Rav went from (a city in) Babylon (why does rashi have to go to such lengths to say it was a city there?) to visit his 'double' uncle R Chiya. When he got there R Chiya asked him ...
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2answers
149 views

Does the rule of “zealots may strike him” also apply to a Kohen zealot?

If a Jewish man and non Jewish woman have relations they are not chayav misa, but if caught while in the act, a 'zealot' (kanoi) may kill them. A kohen is not allowed to become tomai, so since this ...
4
votes
1answer
141 views

Why did Miriam die in the desert?

We are told why Moshe and Aharon passed away in the desert (Bamidbar 20:12), but we are not told why Miriam died. According to Rashi (Bamidbar 1:49, 26:64), only the men who were counted in the ...
-3
votes
2answers
144 views

Could I became a Jew in the next cosmic reborn/reboot?

Hindu people believe that the Cosmos is dying and emerging in a never ending circle. How is this seen by Jews and could I be born in the new Cosmos instance as a Jew, even if I am not?
9
votes
2answers
188 views

Can one write one's own Hespid?

Tragically, I have an incurable disease and have little time left. I have told a number of friends about this and said good-bye to them in an email. In return, I have received a number of emails ...
4
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0answers
93 views

After-death care of a non-Jewish relative

If a Jew has been entrusted with the after-death care of a non-Jewish relative, what should be done? Specifically, if the non-Jewish relative requested to be cremated after death, can or should a Jew ...
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3answers
195 views

Why did Korach have to be buried alive?

Korach had to die an unnatural death; otherwise his death wouldn't prove Moshe right, because a natural death could be because his time had come. But why did he have to still stay alive after being ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Is it necessary to buy a burial plot while still alive?

Must someone buy a burial plot while still alive? Moreover, is doing so a segula to stay alive or the opposite? The segula can be because he shows he believes in life after death and does not want to ...
13
votes
3answers
390 views

Can you ask God to kill you?

I know that out of desperation Moshe asks God to kill him and I don't necessarily see any reason it would be forbidden but I was curious if there was any discussion, halachic or otherwise, as to ...
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0answers
57 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.
14
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3answers
314 views

May a Jewish cemetery refuse a body?

Based on a recent news item wherein cemeteries have been refusing to inter the body of one of the (alleged) Boston bombers, I am curious whether a Jewish cemetery's operators are allowed to refuse to ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

A reference to the soul of a Tzaddik like an eyelash in milk

I know that somewhere in something I have read there is a comment that someone (Yaakov avinu?) was so spiritually pure/holy that his soul did not cling to the earthly shell that was his body but came ...
2
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0answers
119 views

Is a Jew able to go hunting?

What is the Halacha in regard to whether or not a person can go hunting? What have Poskim said on this issue?
6
votes
2answers
271 views

May one say kaddish for a non-Jew?

I have read that Jews recited kaddish on behalf of Abraham Lincoln after he was assassinated. What is the halachic basis for this and has kaddish ever been said en-masse on behalf of other non-Jews?
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Do cremated remains contaminate with tumas mes?

If a body is cremated, do the ashes transmit tumah as do other human remains, or does cremation render the body no longer tamei?
5
votes
1answer
135 views

How to handle cadavers

My fiance 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, ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

What is the significance of the skull of Araunah the Yevusi?

Araunah the Yevusi sells the land upon which the beis hamikdash will eventually be built to Dovid HaMelech (II Shemuel 24:18). Subsequently his skull is found underneath the mizbeach at least twice ...
9
votes
3answers
228 views

Why was there a distinction made for women captives?

In Numbers 31, God tells the Israelites to wipe out the Midianites (and incidentally, Balaam) by killing every male. But they spared certain women (v17-18): Now therefore kill every male among the ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

Saying Baruch Dayan HaEmeth when you don't know the person

Is it appropriate to say "Baruch Dayan HaEmeth" when you hear of sad news about a person you don't know, or a person you have corresponded with but haven't met? Does it make a difference if you've ...
5
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0answers
56 views

Why were מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן chosen to remove Nadav and Avihu?

There were many other people who could have been chosen to remove the dead bodies of Nadav and Avihu from the Mishkan (Vayikra 10:4). Why were מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן chosen for this task as opposed ...
3
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0answers
62 views

Can people in heaven see our world? [duplicate]

Do people who have died and are in heaven have the possibility to see our world? E.g. can my grandmother who passed away last year see me?
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6answers
462 views

Can God destroy Himself?

I was thinking about it lately. If God can do everything, can He destroy Himself? Is there something about this possibility in any of the holy books?
3
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2answers
237 views

Do modern Jewish cemeteries separate the “righteous” from the “wicked”?

Do modern Jewish cemeteries separate the "righteous" from the "wicked"? I have read in various sources that "we don't bury rashim near tzadikim"--that people must be buried near others of similar ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Resuscitation of Aged Nursing Home Patients

Recently, there was a story about an 87-year-old woman who suffered a heart attack in a nursing home. The nursing home called 911 and the dispatcher begged the nurse to do CPR on the patient until the ...
0
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0answers
34 views

brit-milah for dead infant [duplicate]

Recent tragedy in NY, young haredi couple killed in auto accident. Wife pregnant with baby boy. Doctors delivered the baby but, tragically, he also didn't survive. Before burial, a brit milah was ...
3
votes
2answers
216 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
73 views

How can saying vidui for a dying person substitute for his own confession?

The Mishna at Sanhedrin 6:2 says that anyone who confesses his sins before dying has a share in the World to Come. The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch at 193:13 says that when visiting a sick person who is ...
2
votes
1answer
144 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, ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Could the destroyer in Egypt discriminate?

In Rashi's comment to Shemos 12:22 we read ואתם לא תצאו וגו': מגיד שמאחר שנתנה רשות למשחית לחבל אינו מבחין בין צדיק לרשע …once permission has been given to the משחית (destroyer) to ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

If Sarah's Death is a “Merit” for Cheshvan, Why Isn't Moshe's Death a “Merit” for Adar?

When I was young(er) I used to listen to to Toravision's Purim Story tape. (Yeah, I know, I'm dating myself.) It's a great tape, and the older I've gotten, the more it's amazed me how close the tape ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

Postmortem organ donation in halacha

I know we generally accord respect to our dead, which includes not mangling their bodies. On the other hand, obviously saving lives is more important than, well, almost anything, including respect for ...
10
votes
1answer
128 views

What does a tahara accomplish for a dead person?

What does a tahara, the process of washing and dressing a dead person, accomplish spiritually for the meis?
1
vote
1answer
83 views

Onain saying Kadish for parent's Yahrzheit

An Onain is not obligated to do Mitzvos Asei. An Onain does not Daven, nor make Brachos. Suppose a person is an Onain, and that day is his father's or mother's Yahrzheit, does he say Kaddish for them? ...
5
votes
3answers
182 views

What sages were known to have revived the dead?

The Talmud speaks of several rabbis who successfully appealed to G-d to revive a deceased colleague or some other individual. As I recall, one revived rabbi asked to be return to the world of the ...