Questions tagged [death]

Questions relating to the nature, function, or process of Death in Jewish thought.

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Does coming to God near death count less than coming to God when times are good?

Growing old and dying are a normal part of life. For some people though, the realization time is running out can result in them pursuing God in a last minute act of desperation. Hypothetically ...
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What is the purpose of all the candles around the dead body of a Rabbi before the levaya?

I saw the pictures of R' Shalom Cohen and the Gaavid and I am wondering.
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Book about death for goyim

Does anyone have a recommendation for a book about losing a loved one which is for Goyim but from a Jewish perspective? Back story; when my father sat shiva, a family friend gifted him 'The Jewish Way ...
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Why did not Balaam's ass live to embarrass that evil man?

In Bamidbar 22 (33) Rashi explains that Hashem killed Balaam's ass in order that people should not be able to say: This is the animal that silenced Balaam by its rebuke, so that he could not reply. ...
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What prayers and psalms are read during shmira near the body of the deceased?

Of particular interest are the prayers and the order of reading the psalms in Nusach Ashkenaz.
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At what point does a corpse become so decomposed as to no longer defile?

As we all know, contact with a dead animal or person brings ritual impurity. But we also know that "dust we are and to dust we shall return." Most of the soil around us is organic matter ...
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If man has been created for olam haba, why shouldn’t man desire death?

If man’s existence in olam haba is man’s goal, shouldn’t he wish to die? If you say that olam hatze is a preparation for olam haba, and that dying would prevent him from preparing himself, then ...
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Death on the battlefield

Last Shabbat, I was reading a book called היהודים בערב (The Jews in Arabia) by Dr. Yisrael Ben Ze'ev. In the book, a section was dedicated to a pre-Islamic Arabian Jewish poet named Shmuel ben Adiyah. ...
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According to 1st century Jewish interpretations of Ecclesiastes, what part of man goes to Sheol?

Note: this is an adaptation of the question According to Ecclesiastes, what part of man goes to Sheol? which I previously asked on Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. On that site the question ...
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How would Pharisees of the 1st century AD have interpreted Ecclesiastes 9:5-10?

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 (ESV): 5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Their love and their hate and ...
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Is it appropriate to say Baruch Dayan Ha'emes for someone who commits suicide?

Baruch Dayan Ha'emes is the brachah associated with bad news. More specifically, it has become known as the brachah to say when hearing of the news of someone's passing. Is it appropriate to say ...
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What's the story behind the Sages killing Rav Acha Bar Yaakov?

Bava Kamma 40a: Rav Acha Bar Yaakov is a great man. Bava Basra 14a: "רַב הוּנָא כְּתַב שִׁבְעִין סִפְרֵי דְּאוֹרָיְיתָא וְלָא אִיתְרְמִי לֵיהּ אֶלָּא חַד רַב אַחָא בַּר יַעֲקֹב כְּתַב חַד ...
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Acceptable Burial places

Hope you all are doing well! Does anyone know of a source that says that a dead body needs to be buried in the ground on this planet only and burying it on another planet or stellar body like the moon ...
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Torah verse on headstone?

Is there any prohibition or reason not to include a Torah verse on a headstone in a Jewish cemetery. I was told its better not to include the whole psuk but just part of it but even that person that ...
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Posthumous sacrifices in Maccabees II

In Maccabees 2:12:39-45 (Sefaria Hebrew source. NRSV - if anyone is aware of a better, more Jewishy English translation, please edit it in) it says: "On the next day, as had now become necessary,...
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Why lying with fathers means death (not burial)?

וְשָׁכַבְתִּי עִם־אֲבֹתַי וּנְשָׂאתַנִי מִמִּצְרַיִם וּקְבַרְתַּנִי בִּקְבֻרָתָם...׃ When I lie down with my fathers, take me up from Egypt and bury me in their burial-place.” Gen.47.30 (also in ...
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Is there a prayer "for an easy death"?

When someone is sick, we say a mi'she'beirach for healing and we add a personal request in the refa'einu part of the amidah. After a person passes, we say the Tziduk hadin and then prayers for the ...
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What's the point of visiting one's parents gravesite

I am looking for Torah sources on the benefits of visiting parents' gravesite for the deceased or for the visitors.
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Where do I find compassionate references to the Angel of Death

The references that I find to the malach hamoves, Angel of Death, in our folklore and tale are largely filled with images of fear and trepidation . Where do I find stories depicting compassion?
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Question on Moshiach times

When Moshiach comes (may it be speedily in our days) the posuk says: there will be no more death, does that mean that people are not going to die? Meaning everyone is going to live forever?
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After death, does one experience the company of his loved ones in heaven?

Please provide sources, preferably kabbalistic.
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Would cryogenic freezing while still alive be permissible?

As answered here and here, halachic death is defined as an irreversible heart [and/or respiration, and/or brain] cessation. If so, would cryogenically freezing someone while they're still alive1 be ...
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How can a person promise to be מליץ יושר for a person after their death?

I have seen several references where certain gedolei yisroel of yesteryear, promise that if a person learns their works, these Rabbonim will be מליץ יושר (advocate) for them in the olam haemes. ...
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What is the mechanism of death by poisoning?

The four deaths mentioned in the Jewish law have a very straightforward physical impact on the body. All of them cause inability to breathe which is linked to "maintenance" of the soul, and ...
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Good qualities of deceased now available for others to practise. Is there a source?

I have heard several times at Hespedim (funeral orations) that the good qualities of the person who passed away are now available to be picked up by those of us still alive. In the sense that the dead ...
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Do we circumcise a corpse?

We circumcise stillborn babies for many reasons (see e.g., here). Would the same apply for one who it was unhealthy for him to receive a brit milah? For example, let's say person A's two brothers both ...
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When one is diagnosed with a terminal disease, is refusing treatment a form of suicide or acceptable considering the circumstances?

People are diagnosed with terminal illnesses on a regular basis. Many times a person refuses to undergo treatment because they don't wish to experience the pain and exhaustion that would entail. While ...
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Jerusalem Sand at a Burial

I just observed an on-line remote funeral service for my cousin. As part of the service, the Rabbi took out a bag of sand which he said was specially flown in from Jerusalem. He spread the sand in the ...
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An uncertain end for an uncircumcised baby?

According to this article, a circumcised person cannot enter Gehinnom. It is for this reason that a stillborn baby is circumcised. So what happens to a stillborn baby that is buried without ...
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Were the Talmudic Sages fools according to R. Saadia Gaon?

In Emunot V’Deiot (7:5) R. Saadia Gaon writes the following, with regard to some verses in Chapter Nine of Ecclesiastes: [An example,] again, of the third type [of verses presenting difficulty so far ...
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Why did the 10 Brothers tell Yaakov that Yosef had died if doing so would cause him such intense pain & grief?

Is there any Torah commentary that addresses how Yaakov’s ten sons could have been so cold, heartless and cruel, to cause Yaakov’s intense, 22-year, unconsolable grief over Yosef’s death? What child ...
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When (day, month, year) did Avshalom son of king David die?

When (day, month, year) did Avshalom son of king David die? Please cite a source as to exactly when this happened. II Samuel 18:15 And there circled about ten young men who were Joab's armor bearers, ...
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What did Jews really believe about the soul and life after death?

As a Christian, I am very interested in learning what did Jews and Judaism teach about the soul, particularity, what happens to the soul when one dies? Biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman, is of the ...
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Why do sefardim have the minchag of using the mothers name on the tombstone and when praying for the deceased?

I was told that the sefardi custom, based on the Chida, is to use the mother's name of the deceased when praying for the deceased and on the tombstone. For example: Moshe was born to Sarah and Yaakov; ...
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In a life or death situation is breaking the Torah permissible?

In a situation where you could die (or other Jews could), would you be allowed to break the rules in order to survive?
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How long should my non-Jewish friends burn in hell for?

I've always been told that no matter how evil I was, at worst I would burn in hell for 11 months. Well, 12 months if I was really bad. Today I was looked this up on Wikipedia, and it confirmed the ...
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Why were Chanaya, Mishael and Azarya consigned to a furnace specifically?

To the best of my knowledge burning as a punishment is not associated with a furnace anywhere in Tanach. I am not aware of any parallels in ancient near eastern religions either. I would like to know ...
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Is there any source that claims a person who dies on Rosh haShanah is a Tzaddik?

I've seen multiple people tonight share a post claiming in Jewish tradition, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah, which began tonight, is a tzaddik, a person of great righteousness. I was surprised ...
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Are you allowed to pray for your own death?

No suicide or euthanasia is allowed in Judaism. But are you allowed to pray for your own death? You can pray for the death of someone who is incurably sick, in pain and dying. This is based on ...
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How Could David Kill the Ger Amaleki Based on Halacha?

In Shmuel Bet, David Hamelech kills the Ger Haamaleki for killing Shaul. However, the only reason he knew this was because of his own admission. How does this relate to אין אדם משים עצמו רשע, the fact ...
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When is the Yahrzeit for Leah Imeinu

I know the yahrzeits for Sara Imeinu, Rochel Imeinu, Miryam Hanevia. But what is the yahrzeit for Leah Imeinu?
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Eggplants at a Jewish Cemetery?

This was taken outside the gates of the Mikveh Israel Cemetery. There are bunch of Eggplants tied tighter with red yarn . A bevy of American coins were under each one. Typically eggplants at a ...
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Grace after meals - mentioning one parents/spouse if no longer alive

In the bensching (grace after meals/birkat hamazon) we have the following verse among the הרחמן's: הרחמן הוא יברך את אבי מורי בעל הבית הזה ואת אמי מורתי בעלת הבית הזה אותם ואת ביתם ואת זרעם ואת כל ...
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Did the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva die by joining the rebellion with Bar Kochva? [duplicate]

I have heard from an Israeli friend of mine that some maintain that the Talmidim of Rebbi Akiva zs'l didn't all die in a plague, but rather they were killed by Roman soldiers because they had ...
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Is self-sacrifice acceptable to save one's child? [duplicate]

Generally speaking, Judaism doesn't take the same mindset for self-sacrifice as modern society. While we can have great respect for individuals who have given up their lives to save others, Jewish ...
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Mashiach in physical form? [duplicate]

I have just watched a "Stump the Rabbi" video about whether mashiach is actually a physical person. Rabbi Shloma Majeski states that mashiach can even be someone that has passed away, and especially ...
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Maamarei Chazal on matzeivos?

It is common practise to include relevant pesukim from throughout tanach on a matzeivo that successfully summarises the niftar. Additionally, we know that one should be careful not to embellish the ...
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Hesped after the burial?

Is there anything wrong with giving a public hesped for an "average" person on their sheloshim. I saw in halachapedia that " Generally the eulogy is always before the burial. However, for a ...
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How do you halachically preserve a body if the ground is frozen?

Typically, traditional Jewish burial law calls for a speedy burial in the ground, with no embalming or other unnatural preservation of the body. But what about if the ground is too frozen? Nowadays, ...
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How does one Choose Life when Death has been decreed?

I’ve been thinking about Moshe up on Mt. Nebo and a question came to mind. If Death has been decreed, how does one continue to choose Life? Surely if one wishes to be obedient to G-d then one must in ...
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