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The Tabernacle Times
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October 2018 ......................... Tishrei - Cheshvan 5779 ......................... Volume 13 Issue 10

Death, Burial, and Mourning

Angela Kunkel
by
Angela Renee Kunkel

 


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  In Jewish thought, both life and death are part of the divine plan for the world. Life is deemed the highest good, and human beings are obliged to cherish it and preserve it. One should be concerned as much with the preservation of the lives of others, based on the mitzvah (commandment) to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). In view of the high value attached to life, the most perplexing event is death, which puts an end to a human being and his or her achievements.

Tradition emphasizes respect for the dying and the dead as well as favor and honor to the last wishes of one who is dying. Jacob (Genesis 49:29) and Joseph (Genesis 50:25) both made final requests to have their remains taken out of Egypt so they could be buried in the land of their fathers. Solomon also heeded the death bed advice of his father David (1Kings 2:1-9) to take revenge on his enemies.
  The “herva kadisha” (“Holy Society”) is the group that is charged with the responsibility of preparing a body for burial in accordance with Jewish customs. “Taharah” (cleansing or purification) is the ceremony of washing the dead before burial.

Sounding the Shofar

This is done by thoroughly pouring lukewarm water over the entire body. The basis for this ritual cleansing of the body is, “As he came out of his mother’s womb, so must he depart at last, naked as he came” (Ecclesiastes 5:14). Just as a newborn baby is washed immediately after birth and enters the world clean and pure, so must the body be washed for burial. In addition, the hair is combed and the fingernails and toenails are cut.
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Inside This Month's Issue:

Death, Burial & Mourning Torah Overview Tabernacle TV
• Home/Most Recent Videos |
• Teachings for Jew & Gentile|
• Shabbat Praise & Worship

• Torah Portions/Studies |
• Music Selections |
• Beit Midrash
• Ariel Yahudah Dancers |
• Plays and Drama
Kosher Korner Coming Events
Torah Portions Be One in a Million
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