21 votes
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(Why) May a Beit Din refuse to bury a body in order to coerce a man into giving a divorce?

In this particular case R. Lau was upholding the UOR’s ruling. The latter’s ruling (viewable here) was based on Rema (EH 154:21), citing earlier authorities, who permits to withhold any aid to a “...
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  • 11.8k
15 votes
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Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

You asked: Is this a Jewish minhag? If so, what is the source for it? Yes. it is mentioned in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 199:10 - סימן קצט - דין הקבורה ובית הקברות "The custom - when leaving a ...
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15 votes

Ripping out a blade of grass by a funeral?

On chabad.org it says the following: On the way out of the cemetery, it is customary to pull out some grass, throw it back over the shoulder, and recite the passage below. This symbolizes the ...
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  • 381
14 votes
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Can a Jew who dies on Mars be buried there?

Although rabbinic literature has yet to discuss death on Mars, the issue of being wholly buried underground, and the various complications to that happening (e.g., state requirements for burial in a ...
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14 votes
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What is the black pin called that mourners wear?

There is a Jewish practice to tear one's clothes when in mourning. In recent times, it has become common for non-Orthodox Jews to tear a black ribbon pinned to their clothes rather than the clothes ...
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13 votes

Why doesn’t mes mitzvah push aside shabbos?

This question is raised in the Talmud: Yevamot 7a הדר אמר קבורת מת מצוה תדחה שבת מק"ו ומה עבודה שהיא דוחה שבת קבורת מת מצוה דוחה אותה מולאחותו שבת שנדחה מפני עבודה אינו דין שתהא קבורת מת מצוה דוחה ...
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  • 48k
11 votes

Just how overpriced was Efron's burial cave anyway?

Based on a shiur by Rav Amnon Bazak at Yeshivat Har Etzion quoting the Arugas Habosem the amount paid by Avraham was enough to buy 2.4 million square Amos. In an extraordinary piece of arithmetic ...
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10 votes

How to be prepared for participation in the Chevra Kaddisha

This is a huge mitzvah, so yashar koach for participating! Certain people are not supposed to participate in this mitzvah. Ask your Rabbi to make sure you aren't one of them. Some things to ...
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10 votes
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Does Judaism require burial of the dead?

The basic source is Deuteronomy 21:23, "You shall bury him on that day." (Whether it also applies to non-Jews is not so simple. The Ramban there mentions that Joshua took care to bury the bodies of ...
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  • 1,657
10 votes
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Why don't they use a coffin for Israeli burials, but do elsewhere?

Shulchan Oruch Yorei Deyoh 362 (1) says הנותן מתו בארון ולא קברו בקרקע עובר משום מלין את המת. ואם נתנו בארון וקברו בקרקע אינו עובר עליו, ומכל מקום יפה לקברו בקרקע ממש אפילו בחוצה לארץ. ...
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10 votes

Above ground burial

Yes above-ground burial is halachically acceptable if done properly. For instance Israel suffers a lack of enough burial space and has developed a number of high-capacity above-ground "burial ...
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9 votes
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Closed caskets for Jewish burials

Out of respect for the deceased, we do not put bodies on display. Even the mourners (the immediate family) only look long enough to confirm identity. As Dr. Ron Wolfson writes at My Jewish Learning: ...
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9 votes

Can Jews be buried in the fetal position?

The Yerushalmi (Nazir 9:3) records that the standard way of burying people is with their legs extended and their hands over their hearts. Elsewhere (Kilayim 9:3) it records how R Yirmeya asked to be ...
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9 votes
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Burial of a convert out of Judaism

According to this article describing the burial of a Jewish police informer in Luban, Russia (who had presumably caused much suffering on the part of his fellow Jews), Rav Moshe Feinstein was of the ...
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9 votes

Miriam's Death in the Midbar

The Meshech Chochmo here answers your question. He writes: ויתכן שמה שהזכיר במרים ותמת שם מרים ותקבר שם, להורות כי השבטים היו נשואים לקוברן בארץ, ומרים לא נשאו לקוברה בארץ, אעפ"י שהיא מתה בחו&...
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  • 20.6k
9 votes

Jerusalem Sand at a Burial

The Rema in Yoreh Deah 363:1 writes: יש נוהגין לתת מעפר א"י בקבר (א"ז) (ויש למנהג זה על מה שיסמוכו) (מדרש תנחומא פ' ויחי) Some have the custom to place some earth from the Land of Israel in ...
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  • 20.6k
8 votes

Could a Cohen burn a body to escape the impurity?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. Recall that a Cohen -- even a Cohen Gadol -- is obligated to contact a dead body if that's the only way it will receive a proper burial -- this is known as meis mitzva. So in your ...
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  • 127k
7 votes

Just how overpriced was Efron's burial cave anyway?

Rabbi Sorotzkin compares it to the 100 kesitah that Yaakov paid for the land in Shechem on which to settle himself, his family and his flocks. IIRC, Rabbi Sorotzkin says that a kesitah was a quarter ...
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7 votes

Why did Esav care about burial in machpelah?

According to Rabbi Munk in his commentary on Vay'chi, it is because Esav was attempting to deny that he had sold his "birthright" completely. That is, he claimed that he had sold the "first born" ...
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7 votes
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Rosh hashana: is it really two days?

The reason that we keep 2 days on all festivals outside of Israel is because originally it was a doubt whether the new month had been declared, and word did not reach far enough for them to know by ...
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7 votes

Chevra Kadisha knots

One does not tie a "permanent" knot on the tachrichim (burial clothes) in order to show that the death is not permanent. That is, the person will get up at techiyas hameisim (resurrection of the dead) ...
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7 votes

Why are Mordechai and Esther buried in Hamedan, considering it is distant from Shushan?

Encyclopedia Judaica's entry for "Hamadan, Iran" says: The Persian Jews identify Hamadan with "Shushan ha-Bira," which obviously is a mistake. An essay entitled "Esther’s Tomb Iran's Jewish queen ...
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  • 46.9k
7 votes

Attending Non-Jewish funerals

Rav Elchanan Lewis answers your question saying, A Jew can enter a non Jewish cemetery and attend a non Jewish funeral. (see Bava Metziah 114a) The only prohibition is to enter a church if the ...
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  • 12.6k
7 votes

R' Mordochai Benet's re-interment

R. Benet's son, R. Naftali, wrote in a letter (Misped Gadol Ve'kaved Meod, here) to the Nikolsburg community that his father died in Carlsbad while there for therapeutic reasons (ibid, note). He then ...
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  • 11.8k
7 votes
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Is it permitted to call the police on Shabbos if you come across a dead person?

The question is not about the body - the police do not resurrect (as of now), but about its condition and the consequences of the discovery: First, if the body looks fresh and recent - you must call ...
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  • 24.7k
7 votes
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Source for Cremation Specifically Not Jewish

I’d suggest the quote, albeit not exact, is from Tosafot (Chulin 125b s.v. Yachol): בהא דאמרינן בביצה (י.)... דהתם במת שלם דאין דרך לשורפו ולנתחו פחות מכזית
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  • 11.8k
7 votes

Which names are given at burial?

R Jason Weiner (senior rabbi at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles), in his article Jewish Guidance on the Loss of a Baby or Fetus (Hakirah vol. 23) writes It is customary to give the baby or ...
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  • 43.7k
7 votes
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What became of Hevel's body?

There are a few Midrashic sources that tell us that the animal kingdom seemed to take care of things: In Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 21 it notes that firstly his sheepdog did 'shmira' over the body, and ...
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  • 20.6k
6 votes

Burial in Space

From http://www.dinonline.org/2011/05/25/burial-at-sea/ A number of sources indicate that burial in the sea is not considered burial. See Pirkei De-Rabbi Eliezer (Chap. 39) concerning the Egyptians ...
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6 votes

Source for story of rabbi's claiming land said "you're both mine"

Rabbi A. Leib Scheinbaum of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland brings the story in his dvar torah on Parshas Behar: There is a famous anecdote, related by Horav Yeruchem Levovitz, zl, which ...
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