Funeral

There are several main priorities after the death of a loved one.

Ripping Kriah – Please see our Shiva Section

Keep the body in stellar condition – Our Holy Torah relates the necessity to keep the body intact. Why? The human body was initially formed from elements of the earth, and so too, when there is a resurrection of dead, as indicated by our holy torah, the resuscitation will also take place from the ground. In order to facilitate this process on behalf of a loved one, it is imperative that their body is fully intact, and in stellar condition. As such, cremation or any other activity that would compromise the body, is prohibited (Bi’ur Halachah 311:1 DH v’Chol, Pischei Teshuvah 363:5, Igros Moshe YD 4:56), as it would surely interfere with the resurrection process.

Contact the Chevra Kaddisha “Holy Peopleâ€/Arrange for the Tahara – A Tahara, spiritual cleansing, is the process in which the body is cleansed so that we can ascribe proper honor to the deceased. Water is poured all over the body (Rema 352:4, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 197:2), and prepare it for its transition in the next world. Within the Jewish community, or nearby, there should be a Chevra Kaddisha, this is a special group of people who are keenly focused on insuring that the body is properly cleansed, fit in burial clothes, and buried properly, all of which are within the context of our Holy Torah.

Plan to have the burial as soon as possible – it is imperative that the funeral is conducted immediately after the death. The Lav (Devarim 21:23)×œÖ¹× ×ªÖ¸×œÖ´×™×Ÿ נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ ×›Ö¼Ö´×™ קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ ×‘Ö¼Ö·×™Ö¼×•Ö¹× ×”Ö·×”×•Ö¼× ×›Ö¼Ö´×™ קִלְלַת ×Ö±×œÖ¹×”Ö´×™× ×ªÖ¼Ö¸×œ×•Ö¼×™ ×•Ö°×œÖ¹× ×ªÖ°×˜Ö·×žÖ¼Öµ× ×ֶת ×ַדְמָתְךָ ×ֲש×ֶר יְקֹוָק ×ֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה: ס

Applies to leaving any dead person overnight for no reason (YD 357:1) This is because that as soon as the body dies, the soul, so to speak, lacks a vessel with which it can dwell in, and prior to the burial, the soul hasn’t quite reached the next world. Thus, the soul is in a very uncomfortable state, thus, it is a tremendous kindness to bury the deceased immediately.

Preparing for the Funeral:

It is advisable to contact the local Local Orthodox Rabbi (LOR), or the Chevra Kaddisha society in order to insure that the Funeral will be in accordance with our Holy Torah, and that our beloved, deceased will be properly honored. In addition please see our section on Basic Laws of Funeral and Burial.

Specifically, one should avoid initially contacting a funeral home prior to receiving “the go ahead†from the LOR or the Chevra Kaddisha society. The reason for this is that, some, not all, commercial funeral homes, titled “Jewish Funeral Homes†do not operate in accordance with Jewish Law. Moreover, these businesses could be more interested in exploiting your pocketbook, than elevating the soul of your loved one.

Disclaimer

Neither the articles nor videos are meant to be halachic rulings, so please contact a posek regarding your situation. Our website is intended to be a helpful guide, but for everything contained in the articles or videos, or to the extent that we inadvertantly made a mistake on one of the articles or videos, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding it.