I have heard that it has become customary for some people to bury shaimos (holy items such as unusable mezuzah parchments) in a grave together with the coffin as a person is being buried.

I am curious if there are any halachot or other customs / rules regarding where the shamos should be placed. I.e. -

  • Should they be placed directly on top of the coffin before dirt is shoveled? How about beneath the coffin (i.e. shaimos before the coffin)? Should it be placed on the side of the coffin, also before dirt is shoveled? Any particular side?
  • Should it be placed after the dirt is shoveled? When? Near the end of shoveling; in the middle; No preference?
  • Is there any prayer or verse commonly recited upon burying shaimos?
  • I, too, had thought that when sheimot were buried with a person, they were placed in the coffin in advance. People take them loose to the cemetery? (I've never seen it either way.) Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 19:32
  • @MonicaCellio I'm not sure about burying them in the coffin. But, as you prob. lnow, shaimos are often buried in a grave designated for shaimos only. At my grandfather's burial, shaimos were thrown into the grave at the time that he was buried. I was at a burial this past Monday, and the rabbi there said, that if anyone had shaimos, they should bury them, now. Though he had said that after dirt was shoveled, I'm still curious if there is a halacha or recommended procedure. Shanah Tovah.
    – DanF
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 19:37
  • Right, I know that sheimot are (usually?) buried on their own but can accompany another burial. I haven't seen that practice myself; I don't know where I got the impression I have. So I share your curiosity. Shana tova. Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:07
  • @MonicaCellio The 1st time I saw that practice was at my grandfather's burial, and I was somewhat surprised. But, it makes sense, I guess. It certainly is cheaper this way, which why I think this is becoming a more common custom. Though, I also know of one shul that I believe has a genizah "chute". I.e. - they built a box with a small slot above a shaimos "pit" located on the "lawn" in front of the shul. Clever idea, no?
    – DanF
    Commented Sep 9, 2015 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


The Sefer Ginzei Kodesh perek 15:7 writes that from the plain reading of the Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh Deah 282:10 it is written etzel Talmid Chacham but not buried with. It seems that shaimos should be buried next to, not with.Then he writes that the Minhag today is to bury it next to the cemetery.

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