A Jewish man converts to Christianity and becomes estranged from his family. When he dies, his next-of-kin is his brother. Is the brother obligated to bury the deceased as a Christian, or can he bury him as a Jew (which he never ceased to be)? Does it make a difference whether the deceased left instructions to be buried as a Christian?

  • Is this a theoretical question or connected to an actual individual? It’s a complex question with a lot of practical considerations that would relate to the particular circumstance. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 12:58
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    Pardon my ignorance, but "buried as a Christian" means the cemetery location, or the service, or something about the method of burial itself? Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 13:52
  • Beats me. Probably all. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:01
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    related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/26760/…
    – Loewian
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:43
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    @rosends as I understand it, you're not even obligated to obey your parents if they instruct you to violate halacha, and a sibling wouldn't have higher standing than parents. Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


According to this article describing the burial of a Jewish police informer in Luban, Russia (who had presumably caused much suffering on the part of his fellow Jews), Rav Moshe Feinstein was of the opinion that "after death according to Jewish law a person doesn’t own his body and cannot leave orders about his body for after death. Therefore I say you need to listen to Jewish law and bury this man in the way permitted by Jewish law.”

When the burial society which made the shayla objected to this, he continued, “It’s our job to follow the law and my job as rabbi is to make sure that the law is indeed kept. He must be buried according to Jewish law. As for his sins, he will be judged in heaven and he will get forgiveness according to his judgment. It is none of our concern.”

This would seem to indicate that we are obligated to provide even a person who "converted" to another religion with a proper, halachic Jewish burial

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    He may have to be buried outside the cemetery though, like a classic perpetrator of suicide, as an evil doer.
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 29, 2019 at 15:26

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