One makes tahara on a dead man or woman which includes washing him or her and for some being 'dipped' in a mikva. May one do this on someone who is considered a 'rosho' e.g., for not keeping the Torah or other reasons?

The Masechet Semachot (2:10, but cited as 2:8 in this article) says one must not do 'anything' for someone who 'separates from the ways of the community'. Does this include taharah?

  • 3
    Why would one think otherwise?
    – Isaac Moses
    Jun 5, 2015 at 13:36
  • This is following on from a comment I made. I am of this opinion but I would like proof either way. A reason could be since he is not clean spiritually no need need to be clean 'bodily'.
    – cham
    Jun 5, 2015 at 13:42
  • סור להתאבל על חילוני שמת - פרק ב הלכה ח: "כל הפורש מדרכי ציבור אין מתעסקין עמו לכל דבר. אחיהם וקרוביהם לובשים לבנים ומתעטפין לבנים ואוכלין ושותין ושמחין שאבדו שונאיו של מקום, שנאמר 'הלוא משנאיך ה' אשנא ובתקוממיך אתקוטט, תכלית שנאה שנאתים לאויבים היו לי" (תהילים קלט,כב). וכך פסק רמב"ם הלכות אבל פרק א הלכה י: "כל הפורשין מדרכי צבור והם האנשים שפרקו עול המצוות מעל צוארן כל אלו אין מתאבלין עליהן, אלא אחיהם ושאר קרוביהם לובשין לבנים ומתעטפים לבנים ואוכלים ושותים ושמחים שהרי אבדו שונאיו של הקב"ה, ועליהם הכתוב אומר הלא משנאיך ה' אשנא" daatemet.org.il/articles/article.cfm?article_id=121
    – cham
    Jun 5, 2015 at 13:53
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    Is tahara conditional on not keeping torah? I know that kaddish, etc. is not recited for a rasha, but (a) a rasha is not simply someone who did not keep torah; and (b) the rituals of mourning are not the same as the respect we pay to the body of the deceased afaik. Do you have some statement that connects tahara to a person's adherence to mitzwot?
    – RonP
    Jun 5, 2015 at 13:54
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    I understood that when it comes to tahara the deceased is treated as though he performed teshuvah before he departed from this world. The only one who can know this is He who knows the thoughts of man. Since there is no proof that the so-called rasha remained a rasha until his last seconds, he is treated as all others.
    – Epicentre
    Jun 7, 2015 at 4:43

1 Answer 1


This is also true for kriah (rending the garment), SA YD 340:5 writes one should perform kriah when being present when a Jew dies. The Rema adds

one who was in the habit of committing sins, is not mourned for; and so much the more for one who is an apostate in respect of idolatry [...] and some say that we observe no mourning rites [for him], and this is the [accepted] fundamental principle.

However nowadays the definition of one who one doesn't mourn for is much more restricted.

R Chaim Binyamin Goldberg (Mourning in Halacha, p. 84) writes

In recent generations, many authorities have ruled that most non-observant Jews do not fall under the category of mumar (a person who denies the existence of God or the validity of a mitzva), even though their beliefs and practices would seem to be those of a mumar. In this view, non-observant Jews who were raised in secular society and not taught traditional Jewish practices have the halachic status of anusim (people who were coerced to transgress), or tinokos shenishbu (children who were taken captive and raised in a non-Jewish atmosphere), who are not considered mumarim.

Since this is a complex issue for which there is no general rule, a competent halachic authority should be consulted.

I have heard the same from R Binyamin Tabady when I asked him the question (before seeing the book).

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