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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

14
votes
4answers
836 views

Why do we say “You should live till 120”?

Prior to the Mabul people lived for hundreds of years. After the Mabul lifespans shortened although we see that the Avos lived in the 180 year range. In the Pasuk in Tehilim we say Yemei Shenoseinu ...
8
votes
2answers
75 views

Origin of Unveiling

Often, the family of the deceased will have an unveiling service for the presentation of the matzevah.* What is the origin of this custom? *Source: Goldin, Hyman. Hamadrikh. Hebrew Publishing ...
1
vote
1answer
73 views

When a tzaddik dies, does he leave his positive traits in this world?

I heard it said once that, when a righteous person (tzaddik) passes away, they somehow leave their positive character traits in this world to be used by others. Does anyone know the source for this ...
2
votes
0answers
20 views

How did Saul Die- The Amalekite claims to have killed him [duplicate]

In Book 2 of Shmuel chapter 1 The Amalekite that tells David of Sauls death. Did the Amalekite that claimed to have killed Saul tell that to David for his prestige? Why did he claim to have killed ...
6
votes
1answer
45 views

Do lost items belong to someone's heirs?

Let's say you found a dog on the street. You house and feed it, and place posters on the street. Two weeks later, the owner calls and identifies the dog, and plans to come to get it. On the way to ...
10
votes
1answer
270 views

Can Mamzeirim live?

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 than 12 months] so not to proliferate mamzeirim). On the other hand: ...
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Can one say Kaddish for a deceased family member even if their parents are still alive? [duplicate]

If a family member dies without leaving any children to say Kaddish for them, can another family member take on the job of saying Kaddish? Is it permissible even if the parents of the one saying it ...
4
votes
0answers
46 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Why didn't Joshua take Prisoners When conquering Israel?

Why didn't Joshua take prisoners when conquering Israel? In Joshua chapter 10 it lists a number of nations that they conquer and kill. In verse 35 it states: [they] destroyed every soul that was ...
1
vote
4answers
88 views

What prayer may be said upon the death of a beloved pet, specifically, a dog?

Our beloved Yorkshire Terrier has died, due to complications of old age. What prayer(s) may be said, and, is there any one prayer, in particular, that stands out as the most commonly cited prayer upon ...
16
votes
2answers
344 views

What's the leading medical explanation for the “woman whose husbands keep dying” (“katlanit”) phenomenon?

The Gemara says that if a woman gets married, then her husband dies; then marries another guy and is widowed from him; then once more; we then assume something about her is causing her husbands to die ...
7
votes
2answers
210 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
26 views

Book of Joshua verse 1 & 2

The Book of Joshua begins: 1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ...
-3
votes
1answer
90 views

If you don't give up your life, are you liable?

The Gemarah in Sanhedrin says that there are three things a person should give up his life for rather than violate. They are idolatry, murder and sexual immorality. But suppose, if a guy has a gun to ...
3
votes
0answers
41 views

Location for medrash cited by the Chizkuni

The Chizkuni in Parshas Achrei Mos 16:22 writes that the ish iti (the person who would take the goat to har azazel) would not live through the year. He cites from a medrash that the person knew he was ...
3
votes
1answer
55 views

If I'll tell you I'll have to kill you, maybe even then not

Can one tell Lashon Hara to someone about to die? It won't spread any further. Do poskim discuss this?
9
votes
2answers
380 views

Do Jews pray to deceased forefathers?

Shalom, I would like to know if Jews consider it acceptable to pray to deceased ancestors, forefathers, or "saints" like some Christians in the Catholic tradition do. Deuteronomy 18:11 would seem to ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

Questions surrounding Bilam's death

In Parshas Matos (Bamidbar 31:8) it says וְאֵת בִּלְעָם בֶּן-בְּעוֹר הָרְגוּ בֶּחָרֶב. Did Bilam do anything to avoid getting killed? What did he do? And who actually killed him?
2
votes
2answers
81 views

The משלח is dead, long live the משלח!

Tosfos (Gittin 13a, s.v. לא יתנו) write that דאע"ג שמינה המגרש בחייו השליח לא חשיב להיות כמותו אחר מותו כאילו הוא עצמו קיים אלא חשיב גט לאחר מיתה Even though the husband appointed his ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

Chevra Kaddisha string locations

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was we tied strings around various locations of the ...
5
votes
1answer
68 views

Chevra Kadisha knots

I recently did a tahara and I was curious about where a lot of the practices came from and what the meaning behind them is. One thing we did was that when we tied any knots, we twist-wrapped the two ...
6
votes
1answer
254 views

How to be prepared for participation in the Chevra Kaddisha

What are some things that I (or anyone) should take into consideration before participating in a tahara, the ritual preparation of a body for burial?
10
votes
1answer
81 views

Why didn't Joshua appoint a leader after him?

When Joshua dies, he doesn't (at least not explicitly in Joshua 24 or Judges 1) appoint a spiritual or military leader after him. Joshua was appointed by Moses (Numbers 27:15-23) and that appears to ...
0
votes
0answers
43 views

Jews and makkas choshech

I heard someone say that the Jews who didn't want to leave Egypt died during makkos choshech. 1) Does anyone know where the source for this can be found? 2) Did four-fifths our people die during ...
0
votes
0answers
57 views

Ramban's perception on death

I read Rav Gifter's biography, where he states the following: The Ramban, in his introduction to Iyov, asks a question: “Why do we cry at a moment of death? “Why do we shed tears? This is the natural ...
2
votes
0answers
31 views

Understanding Megillah 3a

The gemarah megillah 3a expalians that were it not for the targum we would not understand the verse in Zecharya 12:11 which says there on that day the mourning in Jerusalem was like the mourning of ...
-1
votes
1answer
79 views

How did the sons of Haman die? (Chronology of Esther chapter 9)

The 10 sons of Haman were hanged as we read in the Megillah. (Esther 9:14) But it appears they were killed by the sword. Is this a correct chronology of the story / facts? Haman was hanged on or ...
4
votes
1answer
28 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?
5
votes
1answer
443 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

According to Jewish law, if my only witness in a trial is deceased, what happens?

In the case that someone makes a certain claim before a court but requires a witness(es), however, the witnesses are deceased. Does that mean the person's claim has no bearing?
8
votes
2answers
89 views

Would they have died anyway?

I preface my question by noting that this question can be uncomfortable to some people, but hope that this great community can answer it Take any tragic event where people died, be it 9/11 or the ...
4
votes
1answer
75 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
84 views

What is the importance of the human body after death?

On one hand, we are told that the body is a simply container holding our soul. We have to take care of it while alive because we are borrowing it for our time on Earth. It is widely believed that our ...
3
votes
0answers
50 views

How to handle cadavers which are highly likely to be Jewish

This question How to handle cadavers asked what should be done where a student had to handle cadavers in their medical (dentistry) classes. A comment took the view that outside of Israel, the ...
5
votes
1answer
210 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, ...
8
votes
1answer
63 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

What to do to fill the void when a Torah giant dies

I want to do something to fill the void left in the world from the passing of a Torah Giant. All the Torah that he learnt, all the Mitzvos that he did, all the merit that this world had because of him ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

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?
2
votes
2answers
81 views

Did Pharaoh himself drown at Yam Suf

It would appear from the text that he did. Firstly the fact he was there, and leading the army himself: (Exodus 14 verse 10) with Rashi Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted up ...
3
votes
2answers
84 views

Why should God punish the firstborn of another nation that was in Egypt?

The Pasuk describes the victims of the plague of the firstborn as follows: It came to pass at midnight, and the Lord smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who ...
4
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
163 views
5
votes
0answers
86 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
92 views

Why is sleeping with shoes on a taste of death?

The gemarah in Yoma 78b teaches that sleeping with shoes is a taste of death. This is also codified in halacha. I would like to understand why this is the case. What is it about sleeping with shoes ...
6
votes
0answers
36 views

How do you avoid 'al tiftah peh l'satan'?

There is a principle of al tiftach peh l'satan (Ketubot 8b) - literally "don't open your mouth to the Satan". How can concern for this principle be avoided when discussing possible bad future ...
6
votes
2answers
95 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
124 views

Can a person (or cat) be both alive and dead at the same time? (Schrödinger's paradox)

Related: Schrödinger's cat and yibbum That question assumes that Schrödinger's paradox is possible, and that someone can be both dead and alive at the same time. So, is that actually true ...
3
votes
1answer
57 views

How many years before Yakov did Rochel die?

The torah teaches us that when Binyomin was born to Yakov, his wife Rochel died. How old was Yakov Avinu when Rochel died and how many years was that before his petira?
3
votes
1answer
56 views

Adam and the tree of life?

I have been considering Adam and what G-d said about Adam pertaining to the tree of life directly after the fall. After Adam had transgressed, G-d commanded that the tree of life be withheld from him ...
5
votes
1answer
185 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, ...