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

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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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1answer
205 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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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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90 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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104 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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267 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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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 ...
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84 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 ...
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483 views

Are there burial requirements for pets?

Halacha requires certain burial practices for people, because people are special. Are there any requirements or, especially, prohibitions regarding pets who have died? Is it acceptable to cremate ...
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109 views

Speaking to a deceased person

Is it permissible when visiting the grave of a deceased family member to "speak" to them as if they are there. To tell them how much they miss them, they love them. In general to express feelings, ...
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113 views

Can one person say Kaddish for two different deceased people?

Can one person say Kaddish for two different deceased people?
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231 views

Kaddish for an unborn child

Does one need to recite Kaddish for an unborn child? A google search produced only references to an unrelated book.
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94 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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219 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 ...
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232 views

sheidim, servant of satan, death on sight, duck feet?

Are sheidim servants of satan? Will you really die if you see it's true form? And do they really have chicken feet?
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75 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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77 views

Who killed Shaul?

Ⅰ Sh'muel 31:3–5: וַתִּכְבַּד הַמִּלְחָמָה אֶל שָׁאוּל…. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל לְנֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו שְׁלֹף חַרְבְּךָ וְדָקְרֵנִי בָהּ… וְלֹא אָבָה נֹשֵׂא כֵלָיו כִּי יָרֵא מְאֹד וַיִּקַּח שָׁאוּל אֶת ...
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153 views

Burial on Yom Tov Sheni

If someone passes away on the first day of Yom Tov - should the burial be done on Yom Tov Sheni? How is it done?
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530 views

Tzar Balay Chaim- Killing Pests?

Are you allowed to kill flies and other pests (mice, mosquitoes, etc.) or would that go under the prohibition of Tzar Balay Chaim?
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89 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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26 views

Is a deceased obligated to pay financial debts

Say someone becomes niftar and owes a petty sum (under 100 currency units) is his next-of-kin chayav to pay his debts under halachah?
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169 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 ...
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161 views

Learning near a dead body

May a person learn torah near a dead body? Does it matter if the corpse is Jewish or not? Please cite sources.
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50 views

Aaron Hakohen and his children

Why did Aaron get praised when he was silent upon hearing of the death of his children - wouldn't that seem to be very cold and unfeeling?
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Is honey extracted from a dead bee kosher?

Bees themselves are not kosher, but their honey is. The honey is taken from the hive. If I found a bunch of dead bees and I cut them open and extracted the honey from the body, can I eat this?
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146 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 ...
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193 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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Why does Samuel turn to leave and then kill agag?

In Samuel I 15:27 Samuel turns to leave then Saul admits guilt, asks for forgiveness, and prostrates, and then Samuel summons Agag and kills him. It seems that had Saul not stopped Samuel, he would ...
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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 ...
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52 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 ...
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61 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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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174 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 ...
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214 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 ...
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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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290 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., ...
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276 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
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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?
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1answer
112 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 ...
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1answer
112 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?
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1answer
133 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 ...
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149 views

Geihinom and Gan Eden

What are Gohenom and Gan Eden? Is it common to go to Gohenom before Gan Eden?
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153 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 ...
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1answer
141 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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27 views

Source for dying upon reaching a set number of words spoken [duplicate]

If I recall correctly, it says somewhere that we each have a predefined number of words to speak, after which we die. (The idea being that one should be careful not to speak unnecessarily.) Assuming ...
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53 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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64 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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Is it a good thing to sing “ יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר” in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker?

It has become customary to sing יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker at a function. An explanation is given here. The Pashut ...