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

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14
votes
3answers
323 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
88 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
votes
0answers
127 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
300 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
105 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
155 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
160 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
241 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
148 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
61 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
votes
0answers
63 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?
-1
votes
6answers
472 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
votes
2answers
284 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
155 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
votes
0answers
35 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
258 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
79 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
168 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
81 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
145 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
150 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
134 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
86 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
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
225 views

Why does the Torah not record the passing of Leah?

The Torah records the passing of all the patriarchs and matriarchs: Sarah - Bereishis 23:1-2 Avraham - Bereishis 25:8-9 Rochel - Bereishis 35:19 Yitzchak - Bereishis 35:29 Then Rivkah is not ...
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 ...
10
votes
4answers
314 views

Why is giluey arayos one of the big 3?

I get why murder and idol worship are things you have to give your life up for. But why is giluy arayos - sexual sin so fundamental as to require a person to give up one's life? I'm looking for a ...
1
vote
0answers
324 views

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative?

Why do we wish someone “long life” on the occasion of the anniversary of the death of relative? I can understand this wish directly after the death when I have heard that a person should consider ...
3
votes
0answers
112 views

Should I rend k'riyah if I witness the death of a non-relative? If so, what's the procedure?

In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 40:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down as ...
7
votes
2answers
210 views

When did Leah die?

Leah died some time before Jacob (according to Genesis 49:31) but we are not told exactly when. Please cite a source as to exactly when Leah died.
8
votes
2answers
271 views

Does one make a blessing if preparing to die al kiddush Hashem?

If one is reasonably sure that he is about to die al kiddush Hashem does he make a blessing before fulfilling this mitzvah? What would the nusach (text) of this blessing be? Note: I realize that even ...
5
votes
1answer
345 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?
4
votes
1answer
346 views

When is Avraham Avinu's Yahrzeit?

I have no sources to provide to this question. Rather I am asking simply. On what day was Avraham Avinu nifter? (pass away.) Do we know at all?
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

How did they use to count years in the time of Abraham? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Rationalist Position on Bible Ancients' Long Lives The bible states that Abraham has lived for 175 years, Yishmael lived for 137 years, and so on and so forth. Now, ...
1
vote
1answer
113 views

What are the halachos following a miscarriage? [closed]

I was told that if the miscarried fetus was a boy it is given a bris milah. Why is this so? What are the other halachos related to a miscarriage? Do we differentiate between a baby that dies within 30 ...
4
votes
2answers
429 views

Wearing a deceased's shoes

A friend of mine asked me if a deceased's shoes should be disposed of, and if so - why.
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
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
57 views

Was Tevi a slave at death or not?

The gemarah (bava kama 74b) indicates that Rebbi Gamliel's slave, Tevi was given his freedom after his master blinded him in one eye. However, the gemarah elsewhere (Brachos 16b) indicates that Rebbi ...
0
votes
1answer
49 views

Why did those on the ship ignore what Yona told them?

If those on the ship asked (Yonah 1:11) and Yonah answered (1:12) as far as how to save them, why did they ignore his suggestion (1:13)?
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
193 views

Kaddish for non-blood relatives

Does one say kaddish for a non-blood relative such as (chas v'shalom) a daughter-in-law? I know that a husband says kaddish when the parent of his wife passes away, but my understanding is that this ...
2
votes
0answers
693 views

How long does one say Kaddish for a sibling?

There is discussion here about saying Kaddish for parents and also some discussion on Kaddish for a sister. One place on the Chabad website states that Kaddish should be said for 30 days for a sibling ...
9
votes
2answers
231 views

Cryonics in Judaism

I was recently reading an article about cryogenics, there are around 200 bodies frozen in cryogenics labs around the world, and in the article they said that in the near future they may be able to ...
4
votes
1answer
109 views

Is “You Shall Choose Life” ever interpreted literally?

Inspired by Did people ever place actual physical stumbling blocks before the blind? In Devarim 30:19, we are told by G-d to "choose life": This day, I call upon the heaven and the earth as ...
3
votes
0answers
245 views

Does Kiddushin 81b imply that one opinion allows for suicide if that is the only way to keep from sinning?

The Gemoro in Kiddushin 81b brings down the following (shortened version of the) story: Rabbi Chiya Bar Ashi used to say 'May God save me from the Yetzer Hora'! When his wife overheard him she ...
4
votes
2answers
157 views

How to reconcile conflicting statements on martyrs feeling pain

According to the Maharam M'Rotenberg (explained in this answer) martyrs don't feel the pain of death. How then can we understand these following medrashim? When R' Chanina ben Tradyoin was being ...
2
votes
2answers
312 views

Source that martyrs don't feel pain?

A lot of people have told me (and I seem to remember seeing so myself) there is a view in the Rishonim that someone who is killed Al Kiddush Hashem (for the sanctification of G-d's name, ie., ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

Why was Shimshon viewed positively?

There is no indication in the text that the Jews were aware that Shimshon was secretly waging a one-man war against the Plishtim. From outward appearances it would seem that a former shofet of the ...
5
votes
0answers
277 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 ...