National Association of Chevra Kadisha

Linen Shrouds

Linen Shrouds

Simple, Mystical Beauty When possible, burial shrouds are to be made of linen.1 The Talmud records2 an enactment by Rabbi Gamliel the Elder. In order to maintain the balance between “respectful” burial clothes without being too costly and ostentatious, he...
Casket Controversy

Casket Controversy

For you are dust and you shall return to dust. (Beraishis 3:19)  ‘For the holy ones who are in the earth’ (Tehilim 16) – When are they holy? When they are in the earth. (Midrash Tehilim) ‘Aron’… only occurs elsewhere as the container for the tablets…both are...
The Concept of Shmirah

The Concept of Shmirah

The Concept of Shmira: Many of the traditions and laws that pertain to the care and preparation of the Jewish dead are founded on two basic principles: 1. The body as the container of the soul is to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. 2. Although at death...
Questions of Disinterment

Questions of Disinterment

“Why have you agitated me to raise me?” [departed soul of the Prophet Shmuel, to King Shaul, who had him raised by a necromancer. (Shmuel I, 28:15)] In times of old, any attempt to have a body interred or reinterred in a distant location involved great difficulties1...
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