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What fabric may be used for tachrichim (burial shrouds)?

This is purely not practical halacha, just discussing this question with a friend.

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  • Generally speaking, the custom is plain, white linen without embroidery. Some even avoid buttons from other material. In Hebrew these type of garments are called Bigdei Bad. (בגדי בד) – Yaacov Deane Jun 14 at 13:37
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Traditionally, white linen clothes are used, because it is related in Ketuvot 8b that in the old days people were expected to bury their dead relatives in expensive clothes, so they would rather leave corpses unburied and escape. Therefore, Rabban Gamliel instructed his family to bury him in the cheapest linen burial shroud, and his example is still followed nowadays (see Tur Yoreh Deah 352, Mishneh Torah Avel 4:1). Besides linen, I've also seen other people using (cotton) muslin, because it has become cheaper than linen (see the parallel account of R' Gamliel's will in Moed Katan 27b with Rashi, a story about poor parents burying their daughter in Berakhot 18b, Yerushalmi Kilayim 9:3 about the preferences of various rabbanim regarding burial shrouds (רבי חזקיה מוסיף וכו', רבי יוחנן מפקד וכו'‏), and also Nitei Gavriel Aveilut I. 46:19 citing Gesher haChayim 10:1:1 and Darkhei Chesed 12:2).

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