National Association of Chevra Kadisha

FAQ’s

What is a chevra kadisha?

The chevra kadisha, literally “Sacred Society,” is the name for the group of people in each community who have dedicated themselves to caring for the deceased, preparing them both physically and spiritually for burial.

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What are tachrichim?

The Torah does not specify what clothing a person should be buried in, and for generations, people were buried in their own clothing.

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What makes a funeral “Jewish”?

The most crucial feature of a Jewish funeral is also its last: the body is buried in the ground. Cremation is prohibited by Torah.

However, Jewish burial practice — every detail of which is dictated by Jewish belief about the afterlife and about the sanctity of both body and soul — begins at the very moment of death.

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Why does Judaism require burial as quickly as possible?

At death, the body and the soul part ways, and each returns to its source. For the soul, the source is G-d Himself, but the body’s source is the earth: G-d formed the man from the earth. (Genesis 2:7)

Until burial, however, the soul remains tethered to the body. It yearns to return to G-d, and is in distress until it is able to do so. In order to free the soul to return to G-d as quickly as possible, Jewish tradition encourages swift burial.

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What is a tahara?

Tahara is the traditional Jewish ritual of cleansing, dressing, and casketing a body in preparation for burial. (The Hebrew word tahara refers to the state of being pure.)

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