There is a custom to bury a dead person with a kittel. It is also customary for men to wear a kittel in shul during the High Holidays.

Let's say a dead body is exhumed. In Israel, it is common to bury the body without a casket. When they remove the body, they discover that the kittel is torn to the point where a significant part of the body is uncovered. They remove the old kittel, and cover the body with a new one prior to revurial.

Does this old kittel maintain some type of holiness, or can a family member repair it and reuse it?

Note I am assuming that a torn kittel may or need to be removed out of respect to the dead person. If it cannot be removed, please inform.

1 Answer 1


It is forbidden to benefit from used burial shrouds (אסור בהנאה). Shulchan Arukh YD 349:1

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    יד,יט [כא] המת אסור בהניה כולו, חוץ משיערו--שהוא מותר בהניה, מפני שאינו גופו. וכן ארונו, וכל תכריכיו--אסורין בהניה. אבל כלים המוכנים לתכריך, לא נאסרו בהניה; אפילו ארג בגד למת--לא נאסר עד שיגיע במיטה הנקברת עימו, שאין ההזמנה אוסרת. (Rambam Laws of the Mourner). Same idea. It's a Gemara.
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:56
  • Excellent - thanks. Sidebar - would you know if the torn kittel MUST be replaced?
    – DanF
    Sep 21, 2016 at 18:59
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    Your citation distinguishes between "tachrichin" which are burial shrouds without buttons, zippers or fasteners. But a 'kittle' has ornamentation usually and buttons or snaps. The Shulchan Aruch citation says such a garment, called an "arag beged", is not included in the prohibition of benefit until the body is actually placed on the bier for burial. In regard to the parameters of the question, it would still be prohibited once buried. Sep 21, 2016 at 19:17

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