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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Non-Jews (Gentiles) in Olam Haba (Jewish Afterlife)?

Are there non-Jews in Olam Haba (the world to come), either in Gehenom (Hell) or Gan Eden (Heaven)?
6
votes
4answers
178 views

Commemorating Death

What are some sources about when it is appropriate - if ever - to celebrate the death of an enemy? My question is inspired by last night's news of the death of Osama Bin Laden, naturally, as well as ...
6
votes
3answers
196 views

Cities of Refuge when Moshiach comes?

Why do we need Cities of Refuge when Moshiach comes if at that time there will be no more death?
6
votes
2answers
169 views

Double portion for firstborn

I need to designate beneficiaries for a life insurance plan. I've designated my wife as the primary beneficiary and my children as contingent beneficiaries. My son is a firstborn and he has two ...
6
votes
1answer
104 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?
6
votes
1answer
72 views

Reciting Boruch Dayan HaEmes on Shabbos

If someone's parent dies, one must recite Boruch Dayan HaEmes. What happens if this occurs on Shabbos? Is the customary Boruch Dayan HaEmes recited or not?
6
votes
1answer
154 views

Answering Amen to kaddish for a dog

I once attended a synagogue regularly where a particular congregant was infatuated with his dog. Upon the passing of the dog the congregant began to say kaddish. He was unclear of his reasons for ...
6
votes
1answer
773 views

Why do mourning practices surrounding suicide differ from Shulchan Aruch?

It used to be that a person who committed suicide was buried in a separate part of the cemetery and the relatives did not sit shiva (see Shulchan Aruch YD 345). We no longer do these things and we ...
6
votes
1answer
489 views

How to Tear Kriyah

What is the proper procedure for tearing Kriyah (e.g. for Aveilus* or visiting the Kosel)? * May we never have to do so
6
votes
1answer
55 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
298 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
113 views

Can Yizkor obligations be paid from Maaser money?

When a person goes to Shul to say Yizkor they obligate themselves to give Tzedaka in memory of the deceased. Can this obligation be paid from Maaser or does it have to be paid from the persons ...
6
votes
2answers
323 views

Help with Tosfot “v'HaAmar R. Yochanan” on Brachot 5b

The Gmara on Brachot 5b quotes R. Yochanon: R. Yochanan says: Leprosy and children are not chastisements of love. The Gmara later questions this statement: But is children not a ...
6
votes
2answers
155 views

In Modeh Ani we thank Hashem for our neshama's return. Where do neshamas go?

In Modeh Ani we thank Hashem for returning our Neshomos when we arise. Where do they go during our sleep? Do they go to the same place as the neshomos of the deceased?
6
votes
1answer
131 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
54 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
193 views

Mamzer Question on Kiddushin 72b

The gemarah in Yevamos (78b) says "mamzer eino chai" (A mamzer [who is not known, look later in the daf] doesn't live [for more that 12 months] so not to proliferate mamzeirim). However, the Gemarah ...
6
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
46 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
60 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
192 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
211 views

Have not gone to parents grave in seven years

A friend recently mentioned that she has not gone to her parents grave in over ten years due to its distance and when she wanted to go she was told by a Rabbi that if she has not been there for over ...
5
votes
1answer
307 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
259 views

Do Animals Have an Afterlife

What does Torah say about an afterlife for animals? Is there somewhere animals go after they die? Please include the sources of your answers.
5
votes
2answers
203 views

Killing insects on Yom Tov

Is one allowed to kill an insect on Yom Tov that is "bothering" them (causing some sort of tzar)? (I'm inclined to think, based on the Halachic concept of "m'toch", that since we are allowed to shecht ...
5
votes
1answer
94 views

התראה by phone?

Can warning for a capital crime be accomplished by telephone? Hello? Are you aware that it is currently שבת where you are? Yes. I am aware of the punishment and prepared to do it anyway. Are ...
5
votes
2answers
195 views

Life support for a dead pregnant woman for the sake of a pre-viable baby

Suppose a pregnant woman dies*, and it's too early in the pregnancy for the baby inside her to have any chance of viability if delivered now, but if the woman's body is kept connected to life-support ...
5
votes
1answer
341 views

Whence is the idea that the deceased is a meilitz yosher?

At funerals I have often heard it said that the deceased should be a meilitz yosher (one who relates rectitude). Where does this idea come from?
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Travel on same plane as body to Israel?

After a recent death here in South Africa it arose in conversation that there is a problem for mourners to fly on the same plane as the body to its burial in Israel. Aside from Kehuna issues (which ...
5
votes
2answers
425 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
203 views

When is a Yartziet Observed?

When is a Yartzeit observed, the day of death or the day of burial? I ask this question in response to the news of the terrible death of the three boys in Eretz Yisrael who died weeks before their ...
5
votes
2answers
105 views

Why is Yosef's age at death given twice?

At the end of Genesis, Yosef dies at the age of 110 years. 50:22–26: וַיֵּשֶׁב יוֹסֵף בְּמִצְרַיִם הוּא וּבֵית אָבִיו וַיְחִי יוֹסֵף מֵאָה וָעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים. וַיַּרְא יוֹסֵף לְאֶפְרַיִם ...
5
votes
2answers
288 views

Is there a source that the Messiah can die and return?

Is there a source in Judaism that indicates that Moshiach (Ben David, not Ben Yosef) will die before having fulfilled his role and then return to posthumously achieve it?
5
votes
1answer
153 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Death of two of Aharon's sons

On Yom Kippur we read Parshas Acharei Mos, which discusses the death of two of Aharon's sons. Medrash Vayikra Rabba 20:6 says that they died as they were drunk on wine (Shetuyei Yayin). How were they ...
5
votes
1answer
51 views

How did Moshe know that Nadav and Avihu were greater than either himself or Aharon?

In Vayikra 10:3 after the two sons of Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, were killed, Moshe said to Aharon “This is what the Hashem said, saying: I will be sanctified through those near to Me, and before all ...
5
votes
0answers
45 views

What is the timeline of the connection of the soul to the body after death?

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 ...
5
votes
0answers
275 views

Why ad meah v'esrim?

Why do we bless people with "ad meah v'esrim"? Aren't we supposed to believe moshiach will come by then, and there will be eternal life (according to some opinions)? Thus by giving a blessing for a ...
4
votes
2answers
141 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?
4
votes
2answers
195 views

Lighting candles for People

Is there a source for lighting a candle in memory of a person or a Tzadik? And if there is, what would be the reason to do so?
4
votes
1answer
2k views

How long does one say Kaddish for a parent?

For example, if one's parent died on 1 Nissan, and was buried on 2 Nissan, what is the last day on which kaddish would be said for them?
4
votes
2answers
59 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
163 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
89 views

Burial in Space

Assume that we have a space-colony, or ch"ch, a member of an interplanetary mission dies in space. We know that cremation is forbidden, so what would the process for burial be? Would it be similar to ...
4
votes
1answer
222 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?
4
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
117 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
102 views

Why didn't God kill Adam and Eve?

וּמֵעֵץ, הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע--לֹא תֹאכַל, מִמֶּנּוּ: כִּי, בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ--מוֹת תָּמוּת. - Bereshis 2:17 Why did not not kill Adam and Eve the very day they ate from the tree of ...
4
votes
2answers
58 views

Why were Yisrael allowed to mourn for the death of the two sons of Aharon, but not Aharon and his two remaining sons?

After the two sons of Aharon were killed by Hashem, it says in Vayikra 10:6 “ And Moses said to Aaron and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons: Do not leave your heads unshorn and do not rend your ...