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

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Does Judaism require burial of the dead?

Does Judaism require burial of the dead? What Biblical passages mandate that? Can grave sites be reused after some time (e.g. 200 years) ? I am asking this because the practice of burying the dead in ...
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267 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 ...
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668 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?
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200 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 ...
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466 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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119 views

Near Death Experience and Judaism

How does Judaism view Near Death experiences? do we believe they are a figment of the imagination, or do we accept them? and if we do accept them, how do we believe stories of people who claim that ...
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726 views

Does death in immediate family require a delay in child's wedding?

I need some misconceptions straightened out about Jewish mourning. I've heard some say the death of someone in the immediate family of a betrothed must delay the wedding for anywhere between 30 days ...
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128 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 ...
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618 views

What is the kaf hakelah

A punishment for souls that do not immediately merit to enter gan eden (olam haba?) is to be flung about in the "kaf hakelah". What exactly is that? What is its purpose? Why specifically is that form ...
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214 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 ...
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210 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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267 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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172 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 ...
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169 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 ...
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314 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?
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94 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 ...
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119 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 ...
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79 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 ...
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235 views

Kohen following a Mes into a tunnel

We know a Kohen can not be in the same ohel as a dead person. From what I learned, a moving vehicle does not block the tumah from coming into the car/van/plane etc. So, if one is traveling in a ...
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95 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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183 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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408 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 ...
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124 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 ...
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238 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?
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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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233 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 ...
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113 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 ...
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203 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 ...
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420 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?
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147 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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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 ...
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238 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 ...
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80 views

Can an Onen receive an Aliyah?

By onen I mean someone who as lost their sibling, and they haven't been buried yet. Can an onen be called to the Torah as an Oleh? Can an onen read from the Torah?
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32 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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112 views

Who says the Mourner's Kaddish for a synagogue member who had no family?

If a synagogue member dies with no living family members remaining, who says the Mourner's Kaddish for them? Can anyone volunteer to say Kaddish for them?
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208 views

Is a convert allowed to say Yizkor for their non-Jewish parents? [duplicate]

Is a convert allowed to say Yizkor for their deceased parents if they are non-Jewish?
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115 views

Kriyah at time of death when it occurs on Shabbos

When somone is there at Yitzias Neshomah (time of death) there is a requirement to rip Kriyah what happens if this situation occurs on Shabbos? Do you rip Kriyah or do the laws of Shabbos prevent you ...
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120 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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1answer
182 views

Is taxidermy kosher?

Is the art of taxidermy kosher? What about keeping animals that are stuffed in your house? My family has recently become more observant and my brother wanted to get several stuffed animals, fish, ...
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168 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?
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393 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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1answer
498 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?
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99 views

Is there a halachic objection to human composting?

I just had a discussion with a friend about this organization, which proposes to inter human bodies in a giant composter (from which the family can retrieve the compost later) instead of burying them ...
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145 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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102 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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What do Jews believe happens to Christians when they die? [duplicate]

I've been reading a lot about Judaism and Christianity lately, and how people say they're completely incompatible, so my question is, given the differences between them, what do Jews think happen to ...
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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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167 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?
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326 views

Is a Cohen Allowed to Perform CPR?

CPR is performed when the heart has stopped but the brain is still alive. We have a general rule that a Cohen is not allowed to come in contact with a dead body. If so, does this mean that a Kohen ...
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140 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 ...