Questions tagged [death]

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

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103 views

Deceased individuals appearing after death

Inspired by this answer: Are there any documented stories of deceased people appearing after death to live people? [I am not looking for stories where someone dead appeared in a dream] The Gemara in ...
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Source for stoning a grave

Although there are sources (Be'er Heitev OC 224:8) which discuss placing stones on a grave, that seems to be more of an honor for the deceased. Apparently Rebbi Akiva Eiger asked his family to stone ...
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What is the commentary on Leviticus 21:2-4 - why is wife not included on the list

Leviticus 21:1-4 The LORD said to Moses: Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them: None shall defile himself for any [dead] person among his kin, except for the relatives that ...
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Sending letters to the deceased

Some Chassidim have the custom to leave letters at the graves of deceased Rebbes. Is it mutar to send a letter to any deceased Rebbe (specifically the Lubavitcher Rebbe), or is this similar to Avodah ...
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Why must a convicted Jew be executed immediately?

Here are some speculations why I would think Judaism would never execute [rightfully] convicted Jews right away: We don't like killing people (even those who deserve it) and try everything within our ...
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Is there a need to to know the deceased's name when studying in his merit?

I have been asked many times by friends to study (usually Mishanyos) as a merit for their recently deceased relative. In most such occasions, I was given the deceased's name, in order to have them in ...
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949 views

What is the kiss of death?

Chazal tell us (need help with the source) that at least 3 people died "b'neshika" with a 'kiss' from God, Moshe, Aron and Miriam. (Rashi on Bamidbar 20:1, 33:38; Devarim 34:5) What is exactly does ...
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440 views

Covering the face of a dead person

It appears to me that many Jews are careful to cover the face of a dead person as soon as the person dies. What is the reason for this? Is there a halacha that requires this? Or is it just a minhag? ...
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Human Composting - Implications for Kohanim

In recent news, Washington State, has becomes the first state ever to allow human composting. The question has already been raised in this forum: "Is there a halachic objection to human composting?" ...
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Source for parable about two twins in the womb

I once heard/read a parable about two babies in their mother's womb. It goes something like this. Two twins in the womb are speaking of the world to come, one believes it exists, the other not. ...
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Is there a halachic objection to human composting?

I just had a discussion with a friend about this organization, which proposes to inter human bodies in a giant composter (from which the family can retrieve the compost later) instead of burying them ...
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What are we celebrating on Lag B'Omer?

To the best of my knowledge we celebrate on Lag B'Omer as this is the day the students of Rabbi Akiva stopped dying. This reason seems incomprehensible. The reason they stopped dying was because there ...
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What causes a person to remain in this world as a ghost?

A baraita on Berakhot 18b relates a story where a pious man sleeps in a cemetery and hears two spirits talking. One of them suggests they wander the world, and the other says she can't because she ...
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What happens the second you die?

What do our sources say about what happens the second you die. I’m pretty sure I heard somewhere that one’s soul comes out of their body and they float around the room. Are there any fascinating ...
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Why Kaddish starts after burial and not death?

As far as I know, all Avelus starts with the burial, not with the actual death. Particularly, why saying Kaddish does not start with the moment of death? And is it just a general Minhag or there are ...
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Did courts ever execute?

The laws of capital crimes elucidated in Sanhedrin and elsewhere make conviction very unlikely. Makkot 1:10 famously tells us that a court that executes once in seven years is considered "destructive",...
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Should Kaddish for a parent be said for eleven or twelve months?

Should Kaddish for a parent be said for eleven or twelve months? When I said Kaddish for my father fifty years ago I read in the prayer book at the Chevra Kaddisha Bnai Jacob in Montreal that it ...
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Can a grandson visit his grandfather grave during the Shiva?

And put a tombal decoration (like flowers, candles) on the grave? Or should he wait after the Shiva?
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Can non jews give death penalty for something other then the 7 laws of noah

Can non jews give death penalty for something other then the 7 laws of noah? Source and clarification (in what cases) please
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May a non-Jew have an abortion?

Are non-Jews permitted to have abortions? (Consider the gemara in Sanhedrin 57b where "a baraita brings in the name of Rabbi Yishmael that a Ben Noach gets capital punishment if he intentionally ...
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Why were מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן chosen to remove Nadav and Avihu?

There were many other people who could have been chosen to remove the dead bodies of Nadav and Avihu from the Mishkan (Vayikra 10:4). Why were מִישָׁאֵל and אֶלְצָפָן chosen for this task as opposed ...
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List of people who lose a child in תנ"ך

Any other cases of people who lose a child in תנ"ך? I have a few ideas but am looking for a fuller list, though let's keep it to Pshat reading of the text, not Midrashim.
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How can Nefesh mean a dead person?

In Vayikra 21:1 it's stated that one should not defile himself for any (dead) nefesh (person). How can a word like nefesh which seems to be the force that animated the body and gave it it's life, ...
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Is hastening death of a Jew allowed for a non-Jew?

A Jew may not do anything which will hasten the death of another Jew. This is a selection from here, by Rabbi J. David Bleich (I added the bolding) The practice of euthanasia-whether active or ...
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If a husband or wife medically die but are resuscitated, is a new kiddushin required? [duplicate]

If a husband or wife is on an operating table and is pronounced clinically dead, but then a couple minutes later is miraculously resuscitated (example): Would this couple require a new kiddushin? ...
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Why didn't Joshua appoint a leader after him?

When Joshua dies, he doesn't (at least not explicitly in Joshua 24 or Judges 1) appoint a spiritual or military leader after him. Joshua was appointed by Moses (Numbers 27:15-23) and that appears to ...
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Source for Higher Infant Mortality Rates in the Winter of a Leap Year?

At the shiva for my infant son, someone said that the reason we say kaparat pesha in mussaf rosh chodesh, is that to atone for the sins that cause higher rates of stillbirth, miscarriages, and infant ...
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Meaning of Zekher Livracha (ז"ל - Of blessed memory)

The literal translation of ז"ל is "of blessed memory" What does it mean to bless memory? How does it help the soul?
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Do Jews pray to deceased forefathers?

Shalom, I would like to know if Jews consider it acceptable to pray to deceased ancestors, forefathers, or "saints" like some Christians in the Catholic tradition do. Deuteronomy 18:11 would seem to ...
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Is everyone who dies in his 50s Chayav Kares?

I've come across a bunch of great Rabbanim: Poskim, Mekubalim and Tzadikim who passed away within their 50s. The Gemara in Moed Katan 28a says: אמר רבה: [מיתה] מחמשים ועד ששים שנה זו היא מיתת כרת....
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Can a gentile pronounce a blessing for a Jew? Are there songs I can sing that will bring peace?

As a chaplain I sing Christian hymns for those who are dying and for the family after death, while still present with the one who died. There is also a final blessing. It brings a deep peace for the ...
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How can I pray for Jewish people as they approach death? I am a hospice chaplain

I am a chaplain in a hospice, serving those who are terminally ill. As a chaplain, I do not promote my faith, rather, I help those walk in their faith as death approaches. One of the sad issues I ...
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Source for Cremation Specifically Not Jewish

A respected Rabbinic figure recently mentioned that one of the Rishonim - maybe Tosfos - writes that אין דרך בני ישראל לשרוף מתיהם: burning a Jew's lifeless body is not the Jewish way. Where is this ...
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In what aspects is sleep considered 1/60th of death?

אש אחד מששים לגיהנם... דבש אחד מששים למן שבת אחד מששים לעולם הבא שינה אחד מששים למיתה חלום אחד מששים לנבואה ...sleep is one-sixtieth of death (Brochos 57b) In what aspects is sleep ...
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Do cremated animal remains contaminate with Tumas Mes, Nevela or Sherets?

If I keep an urn at home containing the ashes of my deceased and cremated favourite pet, if I touch/carry the ashes does this make me tamei ?
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Is it a good sign or a bad sign to face downwards upon one’s death?

Kesuvos 103b says: תניא מת מתוך השחוק סימן יפה לו מתוך הבכי סימן רע לו פניו למעלה סימן יפה לו פניו למטה סימן רע לו פניו [...] It was taught in a Braisa: One who dies amidst laughter, it’s a ...
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Adom eating from tree of knowledge

Why didn't Adom eat from the tree of life first and then eat from the tree of knowledge so he can live forever? Do any Medroshim discuss this?
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Is it acceptable to disturb a body so it may be reburied in Israel?

This question slightly merges into politics as there has been a push by some to reclaim Jewish remains and bring them back to Israel. This has actually already been done a few times, a famous example ...
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What is the Orthodox Jewish position regarding a criminal ban on abortion?

I know that many Orthodox Jews oppose abortion - presumably because they see this as a religious requirement - but does Orthodox Judaism see it as required or preferable to support a secular law ...
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Does Judaism teach that the soul cannot rest until the body turns to dust?

In the movie "To Dust" they claim that "Judaism teaches that the soul cannot rest until the body turns to dust." Is there any basis for this claim?
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Do the stringencies for someone who is cremated apply if they didn’t specify/want to be cremated?

There are many halachos regarding one who is deceased that do not apply if the deceased was cremated, rather than buried (some examples here at Halachipedia). Do these halachos apply if the person ...
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Can a donation request be added to a death notice?

When a member or loved one dies, a congregation sends its members a death notice. Without asking the survivors, they add at the end: "Click here to make a donation to the congregation in memory of the ...
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Death of all Jews at Har Sinai

According to the Midrash (quoted in Rashi on the Parsha), when Hashem spoke at Sinai, the effect was so powerful that פרחו נשמתם - the souls of the Jewish nation left their bodies. Hashem resurrected ...
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(Why) do we close the eyes of the deceased?

I heard someone say that when one passes away we have to close their eyes. Where in halacha does it say this? Why do we do this?
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Promise on a death bed

I once read that if a person makes a promise on their death bed to another person that they would come back to them in a dream and tell them whatever they wanted to know, then this is considered a ...
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Can a soul be redeemed, based on Psalm 49?

Psalm 49:8: "אָח לֹא־פָדֹה יִפְדֶּה אִישׁ לֹא־יִתֵּן לֵאלֹהִים כָּפְרוֹ׃ וְיֵקַר פִּדְיוֹן נַפְשָׁם וְחָדַל לְעוֹלָם׃ וִיחִי־עוֹד לָנֶצַח לֹא יִרְאֶה הַשָּׁחַת׃ " teaches that (all the) wealth ...
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Should I rend k'riyah if I witness the death of a non-relative? If so, what's the procedure?

In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 340:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down ...
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Must EMTs and others rend Kriyah each time they see a patient die?

I was looking at Yoreh De'ah 340:5 (יו"ד סימן ש"מ ס"ק ה) and Moed Katan 25b (כה עמוד ב), which require Kriyah (garment-rending) for all who are there at the time of death. It would seem to me that an ...
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How do Jews handle when a baby dies due to circumcision?

This is a real question. I personally know of two cases. One is a friend of mine in USA. The other is in UK via my wife on a professional basis, where I was able to read the coroner's report. This is ...
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Does Chinese ancestor worship have the full status of idolotry?

In the front of a Chinese restaurant they have a small shrine - a succah less than a foot tall. Placed before it is a bowl of rice with vertical chopsticks and a plate of oranges. There is no idol ...