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

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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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Issues of Tumah vis a vis non-Jewish human remains

I was once told that there's a crypt in the Old City of Jerusalem near one of the gates (I forget which one), which houses the remains of a well-regarded non-Jew (once again, I forget the exact ...
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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 ...
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238 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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34 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 ...
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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 ...
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89 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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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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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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108 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 ...
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172 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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213 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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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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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 ...
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118 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?
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543 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 ...
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History of Chevra Kadisha's in New York City

I am interested in knowing about the Chevra Kadisha's in NYC, Brooklyn, etc. When they were started and by who? Under whose auspices? Any other information.
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The reason Aaron's two sons died

Why did Aaron's two elder sons die? I've heard that there are many reasons offered, and would appreciate knowing as many as possible.
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247 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 ...