I'd like to understand the concept of meis mitzvah a bit better. Specifically: there is a decree that a meis mitzvah acquires the place he or she is on to be buried there, even if it is private property. Does this apply equally if the property belonged to the Beit Hamikdash? Meaning if, for instance, a meis mitzvah is found in the kodesh hakedashim if he buried there?


1 Answer 1


As DoubleAA pointed out in his comment, your question is very-highly theoretical.

The Halacha is (יורה דעה - -סימן שעד):

ג: אֵיזֶהוּ מֵת מִצְוָה, שֶׁמְּצָאוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ אוֹ בְּעִיר שֶׁל עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים, וְאֵין לוֹ קוֹבְרִים, וּמִמָּקוֹם שֶׁמְּצָאוֹ אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לִקְרוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיַּעֲנֵהוּ וְיָבֹא לְטַפֵּל בּוֹ וּלְקָבְרוֹ ‏

By definition, a Meis Mitzva has no know next of kin and is in a location that if nobody can hear you shouting for help.

אֲבָל אִם הָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל קְרוֹבִים לִמְקוֹם הַמֵּת, שֶׁהַמּוֹצֵא אֶת הַמֵּת קוֹרֵא אוֹתָם וְהֵם עוֹנִים לוֹ וּבָאִים לְקָבְרוֹ, אֵין זֶה מֵת מִצְוָה שֶׁיִּטָּמֵא עָלָיו הַכֹּהֵן, אֶלָּא קוֹרֵא אוֹתָם וְהֵם קוֹבְרִים ‏

But if you could call for help and others come, then he get s a regular burial.

The Beit Hamikdash area hardly qualifies. It was guarded by Cohanim and Leviyim - and had people there all day long.

The Kodesh haKedashim had limited access; only the Cohen Gadol was allowed in on Yom Kippour - when there was a huge crowd in the Beit Hamikdash.

The Rambam in הלכות טומאת מת - פרק שמיני goes even further, based on the Yerushalmi (פרק כה''ג ונזיר הלכה א') and he says: ‏

ז: הַפּוֹגֵעַ בְּמֵת מִצְוָה אִם מְצָאוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הַתְּחוּם מְבִיאוֹ לְבֵית הַקְּבָרוֹת. ‏

If a Meis Mitzva is found within the Techum (2,000 Amoth beyond the city limit) he is buried in the [local] cemetery.

Based on the Rambam, you cannot have a Meis Mitzva in the Beit haMikdash.

  • But you can have hekdesh land far away from the temple Dec 24, 2014 at 12:27
  • Agree with @ClintEastwood furthermore, there were clearly plenty of times during the second temple where there were not any Jews around
    – user6641
    Dec 24, 2014 at 14:21
  • @user6641 - then you may want to add that to your question, which was rather specific. I simply used your examples. Dec 24, 2014 at 16:15

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