Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah) 345:5 states: Those who deviate from the ways of the community, i.e. people who have thrown off the responsibility of mitzvoth from their shoulders, and are not included in the Jewish people concerning rituals.

As I understand this applies not to mourn the person for 11/12 months. But my question is the family who as well consented to the cremation are they allowed to have a memorial plaque in the Shul, Commemorating the anniversary of the death?

1 Answer 1


R. Ovadiah Yosef (Chazon Ovadiah, Aveilut vol. 1 pg. 539) quotes a plethora of sources, which indicates the consensus of the rabbinic orthodoxy’s position, ruling that it is absolutely forbidden to cremate a body. Earlier (p. 399), he quotes a number of authorities who go further and bar the burial of a cremated person’s ashes in a Jewish cemetery in order not to imply that such practice is acceptable (Ta’alumot Lev 4:33; Achiezer 3:72 n. 4, among others).

Following this reasoning, such opinions would possibly object to other memorializing -as a display in a synagogue, no less- of such “outcasts” and “renegades” which may personify a token of acceptance.

  • Your second paragraph only makes sense if the deceased wanted to be cremated. The cemetery part might apply even if it was done against the person's will, because the reason of discouraging others still applies (although Ta'alumot Lev talks in terms of פושעי ישראל בגופן so maybe he would say it doesn't).
    – Heshy
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 19:25
  • @Heshy OP says “...the family who as well consented to the cremation”; I understood that the deceased wanted to be.
    – Oliver
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 19:33
  • @mbloch “I hear” but, within the purview of rabbinic orthodoxy, which is the framework of this answer since within other liberal/progressive Jewish factions cremation isn’t that unacceptable, one might argue that we would not want to honor his life since the conscious decision to reject such a fundamental tradition is a demonstration that he was “poresh min ha’tzibbur”, far from honorable conduct.
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 4:35
  • To be candid with you, I might entertain such an argument, but that’s my personal two cents which is of no value on the internet. My answer is, IMO, reflective of the orthodox sources which don’t seem to entertain this argument. (Come to think of it, I might have seen one orthodox posek, R. YL Grubart (resp. Chavalim Bane’imim), who -as I vaguely recall- came across more receptive to such an argument. I’ll try to check when I have a chance.)
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 4:49
  • @mbloch Re. my previous comment see R. Grubart here, second column, s.v. ומ״ש (I was correct). Re. the quote from RYJ, I don’t think I intimated that halachah dictates anything about plaques, merely what [contemporary] orthodoxy might arbitrarily implement. Furthermore, I find his view highly objectionable as I don’t know of any halachah for his reasoning (and also skeptical about his premise that “a cemetery [h]as a certain kdusha”.)
    – Oliver
    Commented Feb 1, 2019 at 14:58

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