National Association of Chevra Kadisha

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Does Judaism allow cremation?

By Yekusiel
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There are actually two Torah commandments that refer to burial – a positive commandment (to bury) and a negative commandment (not to leave a body without burial), both given in Deuteronomy 21:23. Cremating a body violates both.

The question is why burial is so important. 

Before we delve into this question, it must be noted that we can never understand the “reason” for a mitzvah. Mitzvos are Divine, and by definition beyond our comprehension. That said, it is possible to have insight into the meaning of a mitzvah in the context of the Torah worldview.

With that caveat, we can answer the question on a variety of levels: on a simple and rational level, on a symbolic level, and on a level that relates to the most mystical understandings of the purpose of Creation.

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