Chapter 4: The Mitzvah to bury & Laws relating to the burial plot

This article is an excerpt from our Sefer

Chapter 4: The Mitzvah to bury & Laws relating to the burial plot

1. The Mitzvah to bury the dead, and the prohibition against desecration and benefit:

A. Burying the dead:[1]

It is a Biblical obligation to bury a Jew that has deceased. One who does not bury the deceased transgress the positive command of “Kavor Tikbireny/You shall bury him” and the negative command of “Baal Salin.” [This applies even if the Jew was a Rasha his entire life.[2] The Mitzvah of Kevura applies so long as the bones of the body are still intact. Thus, if the body was unearthed, the Mitzvah of reburying the body applies.[3]]

One who instructs not to be buried:[4] One who instructed not to be buried after he passes away is not to be listened to, even if he is poor and cannot pay for the burial with the leftovers of his estate.[5] Likewise, if he instructed not to use his assets to pay for his burial, he is not to be listened to as explained in Halacha 3.

Who is obligated to bury the deceased? The obligation of burial is upon the mourning relatives of the deceased[6], as well as the inhabitants of the city of the deceased, or their appointed messengers known as the Chevra Kadisha.[7] A husband is obligated to bury his wife.[8]

Limb of the dead:[9] Some Poskim[10] rule the Mitzvah of burial only applies to the head and majority of the body. Other Poskim[11] rule the Mitzvah applies even to a Kezayis of the deceased. Other Poskim[12] rule the Mitzvah applies to any part of the body, irrelevant of size.

Burying a stillborn or Nefel: Some Poskim[13] rule that a stillborn and Nefel[14] is not obligated to be buried, and from the letter of the law may be discarded. Other Poskim[15], however, rule it is an obligation to bury a stillborn or Nefel. Practically, the custom is to bury the Nefel/stillborn.[16] [The custom is to bury Nefalim in a designated area of the cemetery.[17] The above only applies if the birth or miscarriage occurred after 90 days from conception, however within 90 days of conception, all agree that burial is not required.[18]]

Burying gentiles:[19] One is to [give assistance to[20]] bury a gentile who has passed away, for the sake of peace [even though the Biblical obligation of burial does not apply to them[21]].

Unsure if person is gentile or Jew:[22] If the identity of a deceased is unknown, then we follow majority of the population in that area, if the law of Kevius does not apply. If the majority of those who pass the area are Jewish, or if there is a Kevius of Jews in the area, then he is to be buried. If the majority of people in the area are not Jewish, and there is no Kevius of Jews in the area, then he is not required to be buried.

Q&A

Burying the amputated limb of a living person:[23]

An amputated limb of a living person’s body is not obligated to be buried. Nevertheless, it is to be placed in an area that is segregated from Kohanim.

 

Cremation:[24]

Cremating the dead is a severe prohibition according to Jewish law, due to it transgressing the positive command to bury the dead[25], and due to the transgression of desecrating the honor of the deceased.[26] One who does so shows that he denies the resurrection of the dead.[27] If a Jew instructed to be cremated after he passes away, his wishes are not to be honored.[28] If a person’s relative was intentionally cremated, then one does not mourn over his passing, and there is no Aninus, Shiva, Kaddish, or Yahrzeit held in his memory.[29] [Practically, a Rav is to be contacted in such a case.] The cremated ashes of a Jew do not require burial. If they are buried, they are not to be buried in the regular part of the cemetery [not even in the non-Shomer Shabbos section] and rather they are to be buried outside the cemetery fence.[30]

 

Mummification/preservation:[31]

The process of preserving a body entails various actions that may be forbidden under the prohibition of desecrating the dead [i.e. removal of internal organs, such as the intestines], delaying the decomposition of the body which is of benefit to the soul, and other prohibitions similar to that of an autopsy. Practically, it is debated amongst Poskim[32] as to whether it is permitted to mummify a body, and under what circumstances and details. The custom in those cases that the body will be transported for burial over the course for a couple of days in an unrefrigerated compartment, is to enter ant-decaying chemicals and spices into the body, and if necessary, to pump out the moisture and blood from the innards, and place it in a container for burial.[33]

The burial brings peace onto the soul:[34]

Burying the dead brings peace onto the soul of the deceased, as so long as the body does not rest, neither does its soul. The soul does not enter the spiritual worlds above until after the burial. See Halacha 2 in sparks of Kabalah!

B. The prohibition against desecrating the body of the deceased:[35]

It is Biblically forbidden to desecrate the body of the dead.

Hastening the decomposition process:[36] It is permitted to place lime [or other chemicals] in the grave together with the body in order to hasten the decomposition.[37] [Nevertheless, it is improper to do so.[38]]

Autopsies: It is Biblically forbidden to for an autopsy to be performed onto a Jewish body, due to the desecration prohibition, and the prohibition to delay burial. This is with exception to extreme mitigating circumstances. See Chapter 1 Halacha 10H for the full details of this matter!

C. The prohibition against benefiting from the body and clothing of the deceased:[39]

Benefiting from the body of a Jew:[40] It is a [Biblical[41]] prohibition to benefit from the dead body of a Jew.[42] It is forbidden to benefit from even the hair of the deceased.[43] [Likewise, the skin of man is forbidden in benefit.[44] This applies even against receiving irregular benefit, and even against benefiting for the sake of an ill person.[45] It is forbidden to benefit from any part of his body, even if it does not require burial, such as less than a Kezayis.[46]] This prohibition applies even if the person instructed prior to his death that benefit may be received from his body.[47]

Benefiting from the body of a gentile:[48] Some Poskim[49]  rule it is [Biblically[50] or Rabbinically[51]] forbidden to benefit from the dead body of a gentile. [This applies even against receiving irregular benefit, and even against benefiting for the sake of an ill person.[52]] However, many other Poskim[53] rule it is permitted to benefit from the corpse of a gentile.[54] [Practically, one is to be stringent like the former ruling.[55] Some Poskim[56] however are lenient to allow benefiting from a gentile’s body for the sake of medical science.]

Benefiting from burial garments:[57] It is [Biblically[58]] forbidden to benefit from burial garments whether of a Jew or gentile.[59] This, however, only applies if the garments were designated for burial, and the body has been dressed in those garments. If the garments were designated, or even specially manufactured, for the burial of the deceased, but were not yet worn by him, it is permitted to use it for a different purpose. Likewise, if garments were worn by the deceased, but not originally designated for the burial, they are permitted in benefit. [Some Poskim[60], however, rule it is permitted to benefit from the burial garments of a gentile, as explained above regarding benefiting from the body of a gentile.]

Benefiting from external items that are attached to the body:[61] All ornaments and apparatuses that are attached to the body of the deceased are forbidden in benefit just like the body itself. Thus, a wig or toupee [that was worn by the deceased at the time of death and is permanently left on the body[62]] is forbidden in benefit if it was tied [or braided[63]] to his hair.[64] If, however, the wig or toupee was not attached to the hair [at all, and was rather simply resting on it, or attached using hair clips[65]], then it is permitted in benefit. The same applies for all items that are not actually attached to the body [but are simply resting on it], that they are permitted in benefit. Therefore, it is permitted to remove the rings [and other jewelry[66]] from the fingers of the deceased and make use of it [even if they are attached very tight to the body[67]].[68] [Likewise, the clothing that the person wore upon death is not forbidden in benefit.[69]] Furthermore, even if the item was attached to the body of the deceased, if he instructed prior to his death that the item be given to a son or daughter, or be removed for any other purpose, then it is permitted in benefit.[70]

Benefiting from items thrown onto the deceased:[71] All items thrown onto the deceased during the burial, with intent to be buried with the deceased, are forbidden in benefit if they made contact with the bed of the deceased [which refers to the bed on which he is carried during the funeral procession[72]]. Thus, if the parents [or other relatives] throw items into the grave, the items are forbidden in benefit if they have touched the bed of the deceased. It is therefore a Mitzvah to try to save the items that are being thrown, prior to them touching the bed.[73] Whoever increases in the throwing of items on the dead, transgresses the prohibition of Bal Tashchis.[74]

Benefiting from items used on behalf of the deceased:[75] It is permitted to benefit from the items used on behalf of the deceased during the Taharah, and funeral/burial, as they were never intended to be buried with the body, and hence do not become forbidden in benefit. Thus, the Taharah board on which the deceased rested during the Taharah process, remains permitted in benefit.[76] Likewise, all the vessels used to sew [the Tachrichin] and bury the deceased [i.e. shovels] are permitted in benefit, although if they belong to the Chevra Kadisha, then they may not be used unless one receives permission from the Gabaiy.[77]

Is the casket permitted in benefit?[78] It is forbidden to benefit from the casket in which the body was buried in. If the body was removed from the casket, then the casket must be destroyed or burnt. [If, however, one planned to bury the body without the casket, as is done in Eretz Yisrael, then it remains permitted in benefit.[79]]

Q&A

May a gold/silver tooth be removed from the deceased and benefited from?[80]

No. A gold or silver tooth may not be removed from the mouth of the deceased and requires burial, as is the law regarding all matters that are attached to him.

Dentures:[81] It is permitted to remove dentures from the deceased if they were not permanently placed in the mouth, and were hence removed and inserted by the person as needed.

May a pacemaker and other medical items be removed from the deceased and reused?[82]

It is permitted to remove implanted medical devices from the body, such as a pacemaker, for the sake of future use for other patients.[83]

 

May an artificial limb be removed from the deceased and reused?[84]

This follows the same law as stated above regarding a pacemaker, if the limb was initially attached with the intent of its removal upon death.

 

2. When to bury the dead-The prohibition to delay burial:[85]

It is [Biblically[86]] forbidden [for the sons, and those responsible for the burial[87]] to delay the burial of the dead, unless the delay is for the sake and honor of the deceased.[88] [One who does an unjustifiable delay, transgresses a Biblical negative command.[89] Likewise, one who does an unjustifiable delay also transgresses a positive command.[90] This prohibition applies even if the Jew was a Rasha his entire life.[91] Some Poskim[92] rule it applies even to a stillborn or Nefel[93] [and Lechatchila one is to suspect for this opinion[94]]. It does not apply to a gentile.[95] Regarding the length of the delay that is forbidden, and when one transgresses the Biblical command-see next! One should be aware that the soul is in turmoil and does not find rest until the body is properly buried.]

How soon must the body be buried? If the person passed away during the day, then the burial must take place prior to sunset.[96] If he passed away at night, then the burial must take place before daybreak.[97] If the burial is unjustifiably delayed past daybreak, or sunset, in the above said cases, one transgresses the Biblical command [every day of delay[98]].[99] However, there is no prohibition at all to delay the burial until close to sunset or close to daybreak, although, as stated below, it is praiseworthy to hurry the burial.[100] [Once the person has stopped breathing, he is considered dead according to Halacha, and the obligation of burial, and prohibition to delay it unjustifiably, begin to apply. There is no room in Judaism to delay burial until corrosion of the body begins, under the claim that perhaps he is still alive.[101]]

Cases in which delay is permitted:[102] The following matters are considered done in honor and for the sake of the deceased, and justify a delay of the burial in order for them to be accomplished:

  1. To bring him a casket.
  2. To bring him Tachrichin.
  3. To bring someone to eulogize him.[103]
  4. For the relatives to arrive.[104]
  5. To publicize the funeral amongst other cities.
  6. [To bring the body to the designated cemetery and have the Taharah performed.]

Hurrying the funeral:[105] Whoever rushes the funeral of the dead [and diminishes the wailing and eulogies[106]] is praised.[107] [Meaning, that although one does not transgress the delay prohibition unless he delays past sunset of daybreak, it is nonetheless praiseworthy to bury as soon as possible.] This, however, is with exception to one’s father or mother, in which case one who rushes their funeral [and diminishes in wailing and eulogies[108]] is despised[109], unless there is some necessity to do so, such as on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov, or if it began raining during the funeral and the rain is hitting the body. [Practically, the custom today is to hurry the burial of even a parent.[110]]

 Summary:

It is Biblically forbidden to delay the burial of the dead unless one of the above listed justifications apply. If the passing occurred during the daytime with enough time for the burial to take place prior to sunset, then the burial must take place before sunset of that same day. If this is not possible, the burial should take place at night. If the person passed away at night, the burial is to take place before daybreak, unless one of the above listed justifications apply. Even if a valid justification applies, it is proper to bury the deceased within 24-hours from the moment of passing, as explained in the Q&A.

Custom of Jerusalem:[111]

The custom in Jerusalem is not to delay the burial of the deceased even for the sake of his honor, and justifiable cause. From the letter of the law, however, this only applies in the old city of Jerusalem.[112]

Burying at night:

As stated above, it is a Biblical prohibition to delay the burial until the morning. Nevertheless, in previous times it was common not to bury at night and to delay the burial until daytime, out of respect for the dead.[113] So is the custom of some communities even today. However, many communities today are particular to bury the dead right away, even at night, as is required from the letter of the law.[114]

 

Q&A

Does one transgress Lo Salin for delaying the burial of a limb?[115]

No. The prohibition only applies to the head and majority of the body and not to bones of an individual limb.

Q&A on delaying the burial

For how long may one delay the burial due to the justifiable reasons mentioned above?

Some Poskim[116] rule one is not to delay the burial more than 24 hours from the death even for the sake and honor of the deceased. Practically, one may certainly be lenient to delay more than 24 hours for the sake of a child of the deceased to arrive to the funeral and burial.[117]

 

If the relatives refuse to pay the Chevra Kadisha, may the Chevra Kadisha delay the burial?[118]

It is forbidden for the relatives to delay payment to the Chevra Kadisha if doing so will cause the burial to be delayed. If they do so, they transgress the above commands of “Lo Salin.” If, however, the delay is due to unjustifiable demands of the Chevra Kadisha, then the Chevra Kadisha transgresses the command, if they delay the burial. Accordingly, if the death/burial falls on a legal secular holiday, and the price of burial is more, it is forbidden to delay the burial simply to save costs.[119] 

 

Must a congregation pay money for the sake of retrieving a Jewish body for the sake of burial?[120]

A congregation is not obligated to spend a large sum of money for the sake of redeeming the body of a Jew for burial. Furthermore, even those who are obligated to bury this deceased individual [i.e. his sons] are not obligated to spend more than 1/5th of their assets for the sake of fulfilling it.[121]

May one delay the burial for the sake of burying the deceased on Erev Shabbos near sunset?[122]

One who is buried on Erev Shabbos near sunset [or past the fifth hour[123]] is saved from Chibut Hakever [purgatory of the grave]. Nonetheless, it is forbidden for one to delay the burial past daybreak or sunset for this purpose. Thus, if one passed away on Thursday [or Thursday night], it is forbidden to delay the burial until Friday afternoon for this purpose. If one does so, not only does he transgress the command, but the body is not saved from Chibut Hakever.

May one delay the burial until after Shabbos due to fear that it will cause Shabbos desecration?[124]

Yes. However, if it will not cause Shabbos desecration, then one is obligated to bury him on Erev Shabbos, and may not delay it until Motzei Shabbos, unless one of the justifiable reasons apply.

May one delay the burial for identification purposes?

Some Poskim[125] suggest that perhaps it is permitted to delay the burial of the deceased for the sake of identifying the body, and allowing his sons to say Kaddish, and his wife to remarry.

May one delay the burial of the deceased if prior to his passing he instructed for it to be delayed?[126]

Some Poskim[127] rule that one may do so. Other Poskim[128] rule it is forbidden to delay the burial even in such a case.

 Sparks of Kabbalah:

The Zohar[129] states as follows: The soul cannot continue with its journey, either in Gan Eden, or as a Gilgul back in this world, until the body is buried. This is because a new body cannot be given to the soul until his old body is buried. It is possible that G-d predestined this soul to be reincarnated in a body that very day of his death, and the delay of the burial can cause a delay in this reincarnation. It is similar to a man who lost his wife and cannot marry a new wife until his late wife is buried. For this reason, the soul also cannot be elevated to Gan Eden until the body is buried, as to enter Gan Eden one needs to receive a spiritual body, and this body cannot be given until the original body is buried. It is therefore a Mitzvah to bury the deceased right away. [Possibly, it is also due to this reason that the Chabad custom is to diminish as much as possible in the eulogies, in order not to delay the burial.[130]]

3. Burying on Shabbos and Holidays:[131]

A. Shabbos and Yom Kippur:[132]

It is forbidden to bury on Shabbos or Yom Kippur even through the help of a gentile. Thus, one who passed away on Shabbos, or on Erev Shabbos without enough time to perform a burial, is to be buried after Shabbos. The same applies regarding Yom Kippur

Moving the corpse: The dead body of a person is Muktzah on Shabbos and is thus forbidden to be moved[133] with exception to the following cases [See Chapter 2 Halacha 8 for the full details of this subject]:

  1. Irregularity:[134] It is permitted in all cases to move a corpse using a Shinuiy/irregularity, such as moving the bed using one’s leg and the like.
  2. Save from fire: One may move a body on Shabbos to prevent it from getting burned through placing a non-Muktzah item on it or next to it, and then moving both the body and the item.[135] If necessary, it may be moved even into a Karmalis.[136] It may not be moved into a Reshus Harabim[137] even through a gentile.[138]
  3. Moving the body to prevent erosion: One may move a body on Shabbos to prevent it from eroding, such as if it is in the heat or sun, through placing a non-Muktzah item on it or next to it and then moving both the body together with the item that is on it.[139] If it is impossible to prevent erosion otherwise, then the body may be moved into a Karmalis together with the permitted item.[140] It may not be moved into a Reshus Harabim[141] even through a gentile.[142]
  4. Moving the body in order to remove its odor from the house:[143] If the body is giving off a bad odor and there are people in the home, then if the people have no other house/room to move to, one may move the body even through a Karmalis, together with a permitted item, into another house.
  5. Moving the body out of respect for the dead:[144] If the body is lying in disgrace in front of other people, then if the people have no other house/room to move to, one may move the body even through a Karmalis, together with a permitted item, into another house.

 Being buried on Erev Shabbos saves from Chibut Hakever:[145]

The Arizal states that one who is buried on Erev Shabbos after the fifth hour into the day will not have to go through the Chibut Hakever purgatory.

B. Yom Tov:[146]

First day Yom Tov: It is forbidden for a Jew to perform [Biblically] forbidden Melacha for the sake of burial [i.e. digging, filling the grave] on the Biblical day of Yom Tov, which is the first day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora.[147] It is, however, permitted for one to have a gentile do these Melachos on one’s behalf. Thus, if a Jew passes away on Yom Tov, or before Yom Tov without enough time to bury him, he is to be buried on Yom Tov through the work of a gentile, and it is forbidden to delay his burial until the nighttime.[148] The gentile is only required to perform the Biblical Melachos, such as digging and filling the grave[149], however, the Rabbinical prohibitions [i.e. moving the Muktzah body] may be performed by the Jew.[150]

Second day Yom Tov:[151] It is permitted to bury a Jew on the second day of Yom Tov, including even the second day of Rosh Hashanah[152], just as one does during the week, and it is considered like Chol Hamoed in all regards. One may thus dig the grave, fill it, cut a myrtle branch in his honor, make the casket, and do any matter for his honor, even directly, without the use of a gentile.[153] This may be done by any Jew, even if they are not officially part of the Chevra Kadisha.[154] One may not, however, do prohibited actions which are not readily apparent to the public that they are being done for the sake of the deceased, such as to walk outside the Techum, due to Maras Ayin.[155] From the letter of the law, all the above actions of burial may be done by a Jew even if a gentile is available to do so on one’s behalf, and it is even preferred for a Jew to do so rather than a gentile.[156] Nonetheless, the widespread custom in amongst Ashkenazi Jewry is to have a gentile do all the Biblically forbidden actions, if he is available. If a gentile is not readily available, then a Jew is to perform all the actions, as stated above from the letter of the law. Even if a gentile is available, all the Rabbinical actions may be done by a Jew, such as warming up the water, and placing the body into the grave.[157] The above allowances to break Yom Tov for the sake of burial of a Jew, only applies if one plans to bury the Jew that day, on Yom Tov, otherwise, it is forbidden to perform any actions on his behalf, even through a gentile.[158] However, it remains permitted to move the body even in such a case, if there is a need to do so, and one places a non-Muktzah item on the body.[159] It is permitted to desecrate the second day of Yom Tov for the sake of retrieving the body of a Meis Mitzvah, a body which is lying in the field, even if the burial will not take place that day.[160]

Funeral on Yom Tov:[161] It is permitted [and a Mitzvah] to participate in a funeral on Yom Tov, whether the first day or second day. On the first day of Yom Tov, this is only permitted if it is taking place within the Techum. However, on the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora, it is permitted to participate in a funeral even if it is taking place outside of the Techum. In such a case, the participants are allowed to return to their homes after the funeral.[162] The participants, however, may not break Yom Tov for the sake of participating in the funeral, and hence they may not [drive there in a vehicle, or] ride on an animal.[163] This applies even on the second day of Yom Tov in the Diaspora.[164]

Burying in another city:[165] If a deceased had requested to be buried in a cemetery which is in another city, and the current city contains a cemetery, then Yom Tov may not be desecrated on behalf of this burial, and all the preparations are to wait until Motzei Yom Tov.

Keriah:[166] Even when a funeral and burial is taking place on Yom Tov, the relatives do not perform Keriah until Motzei Yom Tov. [If the burial took place on the first days of Pesach or Sukkos, then the Keriah is not to be done on Chol Hamoed, and is rather done on Motzei Achron Shel Pesach or Motzei Simchas Torah.[167]]

Seudas Havraah:[168] The Seudas Havraah is not served on Yom Tov even if the burial took place that day.

Calculating Shiva: In the event that the burial took place on Yom Tov, see Volume 2 Chapter 27 Halacha 5 for the full details of when and how to count the Shiva and mourning period in such a case!

C. Chol Hamoed:[169]

It is permitted to bury regularly on Chol Hamoed, just as is done during the week. See Volume 2 Chapter 27 Halacha 4 for the full details of this matter!

4. Who is obligated to pay for the burial expenses of a relative who died?[170]

Wife passed away:[171] If one’s wife passes away, it is the husband’s obligation to pay for the burial expenses.

Father passes away, or unmarried mother: The children are obligated to purchase a burial plot for their father or mother, if the parent did not do so prior to passing away, and left an inheritance for their children.[172] If however they did not leave any inheritance for their children, then the children are not obligated to pay for the burial expenses, and the expense rather falls onto the community.[173] Other Poskim[174] however rule that this only applies if the deceased pronounced prior to death that he does not want to be buried from his assets. However, if he did not make any statement, then even if the children did not receive any inheritance from the parents, nevertheless they are obligated and enforced to pay for the expenses if they can afford to do so.

No husband or children:[175] If a person passed away without leaving any money, and does not have a husband or children, then the father is to cover the expenses.

What expenses are included in the above obligation?[176] The above obligation includes all the expenses involved in the commonly done burial of that family. It includes even the tombstone/Matzeiva that is later erected on the grave.

What is done if the deceased has no money, or relatives who can afford to pay for the burial?[177] In the event that a pauper passes away without any known relatives who can cover the expenses of the funeral, then it is the responsibility of the Chevra Kadisha [or community] to cover the expenses, and they reimburse costs through payments and donations from the wealthy. If a certain sum of money was collected on behalf of the burial of the deceased, and some of the money remained after the burial, then the leftover money is to be given to the heirs of the deceased, or [if there are no known heirs] it is to be used for other burials.[178] The same applies for any item which was collected on behalf of the deceased, and in the end was not needed to be used.[179]

Q&A

May children use Maaser money for the burial expenses of a parent?[180]

Children may not use Maaser money to purchase a plot, or Matzeiva, for their father or mother.[181]

 

May a husband use Maaser money for the burial expenses of his wife?

No, as stated above regarding children.

Paying for the plot prior to the burial:[182]

One is to be very careful to pay for the burial plot prior to the burial in order so the person is buried in a plot that is considered his. At the very least, one is to pay some of the money beforehand. [After the Rebbetzin passed away, the Rebbe was very careful to pay for all the expenses of the funeral and burial prior to the start of the procession.[183]] Payment for the plot should come from the personal money of the deceased and not from a friend or relative who is paying on his behalf.[184]

 

Tikkun for children who did not properly, or honorably, bury their parents:[185]

On one occasion, the Rebbe instructed the following to be done as a Tikkun for a child who did not perform the burial as required:

1.      The sons should donate charity on behalf of two Kosher Jews who are deceased and then visit them by their grave and ask them to tell their parents that they ask for forgiveness.

2.      To learn extra Torah on the day of their Yartzite, especially Miseches Mikvaos and Chassidus.

3.      To be careful in the honor of those who have taught them Torah.

 

Dream of deceased parent:[186]

On one occasion, the Rebbe instructed a child who had a dream of their deceased mother, to make sure that the burial was done properly, and to check their Mezuzos.

5. Eating and doing Melacha prior to the burial:

Melacha:[187] Upon a person within the city passing away, all those who are not learning Torah must stop their work and deal with the funeral and burial of the deceased. The above only applies if the city does not contain a Chevra Kadisha, if however the city contains a Chevra Kadisha that deals with the needs of the deceased, then they may continue working until the funeral procession takes place, as explained in Chapter 8 Halacha 1C.

Eating bread-Having a set meal:[188] [On the day of burial[189]] it is forbidden for [the relatives and people of the city[190]] to eat a set meal until after the burial takes place [unless there are people who have taken charge of the burial, such as the Chevra Kadisha[191]].[192] [Nevertheless, those relatives who are coordinating the funeral/burial together with the Chevra Kadisha, are not to eat a set meal on that day. It goes without saying that the Chevra Kadisha cannot eat a set meal until after the burial.[193]]

6. The cemetery and burial plot:

A. A Jewish cemetery [Not to bury Jews and gentiles together]:[194]

Although the Poskim[195] make no specific mention against burying a Jew in a gentile cemetery, or against burying a gentile in a Jewish cemetery, nevertheless, it is included in the law that one may not bury a Rasha near a Tzaddik, as will be explained in Halacha C.[196] Thus, the old age Jewish custom dating back to the beginning of our history testifies to the establishment of Jewish cemeteries and the adherence of not burying a gentile in a Jewish cemetery, or vice versa. We are thus very particular not to bury a Jew in a gentile cemetery, or vice versa, not to bury a gentile in a Jewish cemetery.

 

Q&A

What is a Shomer Shabbos cemetery, or burial plot, and must one bury there?[197]

Shomer Shabbos cemeteries or burial plots refer to a cemetery, or section of a cemetery, that is designated only for burial of those people who were Shabbos observant. While the earlier Poskim do not record such a concept of making a Shomer Shabbos cemetery, or section within a cemetery, nevertheless, it has become widespread in the last hundred years, based on the law[198] that one may not bury a Rasha near a Tzaddik. Although defining who is a Rasha and who is a Tzaddik is not in the parameters of general people, nevertheless, certain basic guidelines have become accepted, thus creating the Shomer Shabbos section in the cemetery. Accordingly, it is forbidden to bury one who is Shomer Shabbos in the non-Shomer Shabbos cemetery, if the surrounding graves are also not Shomer Shabbos.[199] The same applies vice versa, that it is forbidden to bury one who was not Shomer Shabbos in the Shomer Shabbos section, or near one who was Shomer Shabbos. This law created the Shomer Shabbos section of many cemeteries today. It is worthy however to note that some Poskim[200] are completely lenient in this regard, and are not particular to bury a person near one who was Shomer Shabbos. In the event that the deceased requested to be buried near his family which were not Shomer Shabbos, one may do so.[201]

Gentiles buried in Jewish cemeteries: Another issue to bear in mind is that unfortunately, some Jewish cemeteries are not particular to prevent people who are not Halachically defined as Jewish from being buried there. This is especially pertinent to reform and conservative cemeteries, who accept conservative and reform conversion. Thus, burying in a Shomer Shabbos section guarantees that one will not accidently be buried near a gentile.

Burying in a non-Shomer Shabbos cemetery: Despite the above, many cemeteries do not contain a Shomer Shabbos section. In such a case, one is to try to find a plot that is surrounded by graves of those who were Shomer Shabbos. If necessary, one may be buried in the cemetery even if he will be near non-Shomer Shabbos graves, although in such a case there should be a distance of eight Amos between his grave and the surrounding graves.[202] Alternatively, if one cannot make such a distance, a Mechitza of ten Tefachim [80 cm] that separates his grave from the other graves is to be set up.[203] One can surround the grave with Hadassim that reach such a height, or place a bench or Ohel surrounding it.[204] If one is unable to do the above, he should bury the deceased in a different cemetery, even if he is required to be buried in a different city.[205] However, as stated above, some Poskim are completely lenient in this regard and in a case of doubt one is to ask his Rav.

May one with a tattoo be buried in a Jewish cemetery?

A Jew that has a tattoo must be buried in a Jewish cemetery just like any other Jew.[206] Despite the common misconception, there is no Halachic source that bares a Jew with a tattoo, or a Jew who has committed any sin, from being buried in a Jewish cemetery and this is also not the common practice. 

 

May one who married a gentile be buried in a Jewish cemetery?[207]

Yes, even a Jew who married a gentile is required to be buried in a Jewish cemetery. There is no source for preventing an assimilated Jew from being buried in a Jewish cemetery.

 

May a Mumar/Heretic, Jew who converted to other religion, be buried in a Jewish cemetery?[208]

Yes. However, they are to be buried an eight Ama distance from the other graves in the cemetery.

B. The ideal location of a cemetery:

Where to zone a cemetery: A cemetery or grave is to be distanced 50 Amos from the city.[209] [The above is the ideal location. However, if proper permits cannot be received from the government or municipality, to build the cemetery outside the city, then it may be zoned even within the city, and hence we find many Jewish cities that contain cemeteries inside.[210]]

C. Burying in Eretz Yisrael:[211]

It is a great Mitzvah and merit to be buried in Eretz Yisrael.[212] It is even permitted to unbury the remains of a person in the Diaspora for the sake of reburying him in Eretz Yisrael[213], and certainly one may initially bring the deceased from the Diaspora into Eretz Yisrael for burial.[214] This applies even if they did not request to be buried there.[215] This is because the earth of Eretz Yisrael atones for the person, as the verse states “Vichiper Admaso Amo.”[216] One who is buried in Eretz Yisrael is considered as if he was buried under the altar.[217] Other merits received for being buried in Eretz Yisrael include: 1) Resurrection without needing to be rolled in tunnels towards Eretz Yisrael. 2) Being saved from Chibut Hakever. 3) Being saved from infestation. 4) The soul goes straight up to heaven, as Chazal state[218] that all the souls are elevated through Yerushalayim.[219]

Taking deceased out of Israel:[220] A person who passed away in Eretz Yisrael, or whose body was brought to Eretz Yisrael, may not be buried in the Diaspora.[221]

Taking deceased out of Jerusalem, and other holy cities: See Halacha D!

 

D. Choosing a cemetery and burial plot-Local cemetery/Family plots/Friends/Tzadikim:

Burying in the cemetery within one’s city versus a different city:[222] If there is a cemetery within one’s city, it is improper to bury the deceased in another area.[223] This, however, is with exception to if one desires to bury the deceased in Eretz Yisrael[224], or in a family plot that is in a different city.[225] Likewise, if the person instructed prior to his death as to where he desires to be buried [or already purchased a plot], then his wishes are to be respected even if he desired to be buried in a different city.[226] [In the above mitigating circumstances, it is permitted to bury him elsewhere even if doing so is belittling to the deceased, such as that it will delay the burial.[227] This is permitted even in Eretz Yisrael, and hence one who passed away in one city to be buried in another city, in the above mitigating circumstances. This is with exception to Yerushalayim, in which the age old custom, based on the directives of Geonei Eretz Yisrael, is not to bury one who passed away inside Yerushalayim, outside of Yerushalayim.[228] The same tradition applies regarding Chevron, that one who passed away inside Chevron, is not to be buried outside of Chevron, even within Yerushalayim.[229] This applies even if one’s family plot is in Jerusalem. Furthermore, many were accustomed to beware not to bury one who passed away in Tzefat or Tiberius, in a different city.[230] The above is only with regards to burying in a cemetery outside the city. However, if a city contains two cemeteries, one may be buried in the new and modern cemetery within the same city, and doing so does not contain a belittlement to the old cemetery.[231]]

Family plots:[232] Throughout history, people would have family designated burial spots, in which family members were buried, and doing so held extreme significance.[233] It was forbidden to sell such a burial plot to an outsider, and such a sale would be null and void and his money would be returned.[234] It is even permitted to unbury the remains of a person for the sake of reburying him in his family plot, as a person desires to be buried near his ancestors.[235] A woman who inherited a burial spot amongst her family’s plot may be buried within it, and have her children buried there. However, all descendants that she had not seen in her lifetime may not be buried there.[236] [Practically, it is better for children to be buried near the graves of their father as opposed to the grave of their mother, if the two are buried in different areas.[237]]

Where to bury a wife: If a woman chooses to be buried near her children, then her request is to be honored even though it is outside her family’s plot. If she did not give instructions, and the father desires to bury her near him, while the husband desires to bury her near him, then she is to be buried near her husband, although some understand that she is to be buried near her father.[238] If both the father and the husband state that they do not want her buried near them, she is to be buried near the husband.[239] [In all cases that she did not voice an opinion, she is buried near her husband. A divorcee, however, is to be buried by her family plot, and not by her husband.[240]]

Burying near a Tzadik, and near a Rasha and near a non-Frum Jew:[241] One may not bury a Rasha near a Tzaddik [and certainly may not bury a Tzadik near a Rasha]. Furthermore, one may not even bury a small Rasha near a great Rasha. Likewise, one may not bury a Tzadik and Kosher Jew, and certainly not a Beinoni,[242] near an exceptional Chassid. [The soul of Tzaddik is pained if it is buried near a Rasha.[243] Following this law, one is not to bury an observant Jew near a non-observant Jew, and based on this, many cemeteries today contain a Shomer Shabbos section, as explained in Halacha A, in the Q&A.[244]]

Baal Teshuvah:[245] It is permitted to bury a Baal Teshuvah [who is now a Tzadik] even near a Tzadik Gamur. [However, a Baal Teshuvah may not be buried near a Chassid.[246]]

Burying men next to women:[247] It is permitted to bury men and women near each other in a cemetery.[248] There is thus no requirement to have a men’s section or women’s section of burial. It was, and remains common, for husband and wife to purchase plots near each other and be buried side by side.[249] Nonetheless, some cemeteries are particular to designate separate areas or rows for burial of men and women. [This was the custom of Polish and Russian Jewry, and is the custom followed in Chabad sections of the cemeteries.] Other cemeteries are not particular in this matter. Practically, one is to follow the practice of his community and chosen cemetery. [Famously, the Maharal was buried near his wife, and so was Rebbe Akiva Eiger.]

Enemies:[250] Two people who hated each other during their lifetime are not to buried together [i.e. near each other].[251]

A grave dug for one’s parent:[252] If one dug a grave[253], or built a mausoleum for his father [or mother], and in the end buried his father elsewhere, it is forbidden for the child to ever be buried in that grave out of respect for his father. However, it is permitted for another individual to be buried there.

 Q&A

May a widow who remarried be buried near her first husband?[254]

Yes.

 

May a divorcee be buried near her ex-husband or vice versa?

A divorcee is not to be buried near her ex-husband.[255] Nonetheless, some are lenient in this matter if the divorce did not occur due to marital strife.[256]

Purchasing a burial plot while one is alive:

It is proper to purchase a burial plot during one’s lifetime.[257] It is said that purchasing a grave during one’s lifetime is a Segula for a long life.[258] In previous times, it was customary in Jerusalem for the parents of a groom and bride to purchase them burial spots in Har Hazeisim. In some cemeteries, it is customary to already dig the grave that was purchased by the living and cover it, thus already forming its hollow area for burial.[259]  

 

Paying for the plot prior to the burial:[260]

One is to be very careful to pay for the burial plot prior to the burial in order so the person is buried in a plot that is considered his. At the very least, one is to pay some of the money beforehand. [After the Rebbetzin passed away, the Rebbe was very careful to pay for all the expenses of the funeral and burial prior to the start of the procession.[261]] Payment for the plot should come from the personal money of the deceased and not from a friend or relative who is paying on his behalf.[262]

E. The distance between graves:

The minimal distance between two graves is 6 Tefachim [i.e. 48 centimeters].[263] [Thus] one may not bury two bodies side by side unless the board of the grave is separating between them [and the board is 6 Tefachim thick[264]]. The body is not to be buried side by side with other bones, and bones are not to be buried side by side with another body.[265] Likewise, one may not bury one casket on top of another casket, and if one did so, we force the upper casket to be removed. However, if there is 6 Tefachim of earth between them then it is allowed.[266] [The above regulation only applies if it is possible to bury the bodies at a distance. If, however, there is no other viable burial option, such as there is no other cemetery available, and there is space in the cemetery, then certainly one may bury them next to each other even though there isn’t a six Tefach distance between them.[267] Accordingly, it was accustomed in many cemeteries to bury the dead without a six Tefach distance, as there was simply not enough burial space.[268] Nevertheless, one should keep a distance of 6 finger worth’s, 12 centimeters, between the graves.[269]]

Burying parent with child or grandchild:[270] It is permitted to bury a father together with his small daughter [or granddaughter[271], and certainly his small son or grandson[272]], and a mother with her small son or small grandson [and certainly with her small daughter or granddaughter[273]]. The rule is that so long as the child is small enough to still sleep with the parent, they may be buried together. [This refers to the age in which a child of the opposite gender is still Halachically allowed to sleep with the parent. However, once the child is old enough to not be allowed to sleep with the parent of opposite gender, then they may not be buried together with a parent even of the same gender.[274] All the above refers to burying the two individuals simultaneously, however when burying one after the other, the custom is to have a 6 fingers, 12 centimeters, distance between the graves.[275]]

 Burying a Nefel together with others in the same plot:[276]

One may not bury a Nefel together with another Meis, and those who do so are to be protested.

F. Where to bury Kohanim:[277]

A Kohen whose relative passed away, is to be careful to bury him in the outskirts of the cemetery, in order so the Kohen relatives can attend the burial, and visit him, without passing through other graves in the cemetery. [Thus, it is customary to bury all Kohanim at the edge of the cemetery for this reason.] See Chapter 9 Halacha 3 for the full details of this matter!

7. How to bury:

*For the details of the burial ceremony, see Chapter 8 Halacha 4-6

 A. Burying within the ground and using a casket:[278]

The body must be buried within the earth [or within rock of the earth[279]]. [Regarding the depth within the earth, there are different customs ranging from 10 Tefachim to 2 meters. The width of the grave depends on the size of the body.[280]]

Burying in a casket:[281] One who places the body in a casket and does not bury it in the ground, transgresses the prohibition of “Lo Salin.” If, however, the body was placed in a casket and then buried in the earth while inside the casket, then one does not transgress. Nonetheless, it is proper to bury him within the actual ground even in the Diaspora. [This does not mean that a casket should not be used at all, but rather that it should not be closed from all sides, and is to allow earth to enter into it.[282] It is to be open from the bottom, hence allowing the body to lie on the actual earth.[283] Accordingly, the custom is to make the casket in a way that the bottom board can be removed prior to being placed in the ground.[284] If this is not possible, then at the very least the bottom board is to be made with holes.[285] Nonetheless, some are initially accustomed to bury male Kohanim [and firstborns[286]] in completely closed caskets, and those who do so have upon whom to rely if they are accustomed to enter earth into the casket, or it is not hermetically sealed shut and contains holes.[287] Others, however, bury even Kohanim without a bottom board.[288] One who is carrying a deadly illness which is contagious, is to be buried in a completely closed casket.[289] If the local law requires burial within a closed vault, then one should shovel earth into the vault before placing the casket into it. Also, the lid of the casket (and vault) should be kept slightly ajar with a pebble or twig.]

Burying without a casket:[290] Those who bury without a casket, are not to throw the earth directly onto the body, and are to first place a wooden board over it, and only then begin the burial.[291] See Chapter 8 Halacha 6F for how this is done in Eretz Yisrael.

The prohibition to benefit from a casket: See Halacha 1C!

 The Aron/casket:[292]

The custom amongst [Diaspora] Jewry is to bury the body within a casket, known as an Aron. The custom is to use a wooden casket.[293] The custom is not to have any metal in the casket. The attachment of the boards is hence done using wooden nails.[294] A simple casket is used and not one with decorations and beauty.

Using the wood of the learning or eating table for casket:[295] Some Gedolei Yisrael are accustomed to have their casket made from the table which they learned Torah on or fulfilled the Mitzvah of Hachansas Orchim on, and so was the custom by the Rebbe Rayatz and Rebbe.[296]

Custom in Eretz Yisrael:[297] In Eretz Yisrael, the custom is to bury without a casket. The body is placed directly into the ground. See Chapter 8 Halacha 6F for the exact way the body is buried in Eretz Yisrael.

Covering the Aron:[298] The custom is to cover the Aron with a black sheet while it is carried during the funeral.

Flowers:[299] It is forbidden to place flowers on the casket, as doing so is considered Chukos Hagoyim.

 

Is gravel or stone valid for burial or must actual earth be used?[300]

It is valid to bury within stone, or pebbles, and one is not required to bury within actual earth.

 

May one place a frame/vault into the grave and burry within the frame [i.e. lawn crypt burial]?

Some Poskim[301] rule it is permitted to do so if the frame is made of material that is Kosher for burial. Thus, the material must be made of cement or concrete or other stone for this to be valid. Likewise, the frame/vault is to be inserted into the grave prior to the burial, in contrast to placing the coffin in it and lowering it into the grave together. [Typically, lawn crypt vaults are made of concrete.]

May a body be buried within the wall of a cave?[302]

Yes. It is permitted to bury a body within the wall of a cave, and doing so is considered a Halachically valid form of ground burial. This is done as follows: Stone is excavated from the wall of the cave, making just enough room for the body to enter. The body is then inserted into the cave shelf and is considered buried. In the times of the Sanhedrin it was customary to bury within caves in this form of burial. This burial form was known as Kuchin. These forms of cave burial dating to the Tananaic period can be seen today in various areas, especially the old cemetery of Tzefat and in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sanhedria.

 

May a body be buried in an over ground structure [i.e. Mausoleums; Kevurat “Komot”; Rama, Sanhedrin cave burials]?[303]

Background: In today’s times, various Chevra Kadisha’s and municipalities in search of space have introduced alternative burial methods which differ from the accustomed ground burial within a field. These methods include building a platform of several stories, similar to a multi deck parking lot, and burying the dead in these platforms. This allows the ground space to be utilized as much as possible. This form of burial is known as Kevurat Rama. Others build a structure on the ground which includes several decks of shelves which house the bodies. This form of burial is known as mausoleums, or Kevurat Komot, or Sanhedrin. The question that rises regarding the above forms of burial is as to whether they are valid according to Halacha. The question is whether they fulfill the requirement for the body to buried within earth, and not simply be left in a casket. In truth, these new forms of burial do have a precedent. In the times of the Sanhedrin it was customary to bury within caves. Shelves were carved out within the cave and bodies were entered inside of these shelves. This burial form was known as Kuchin. These forms of cave burial dating to the Tananaic period can be seen today in various areas, especially the old cemetery of Tzefat and in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sanhedria. Thus, seemingly, the newly introduced forms of burial have the precedent of Halacha to be relied upon. However, in truth, a careful analysis shows that despite the good will to compare the modern burials to the alternative burial method used by the Sanhedrin, there is a major difference between the original Komot burial of the Sanhedrin and that which is used today. The Sanhedrin burial was done in an underground cave, and hence fully fulfilled the requirement of being buried within the earth of the ground. The new burial structures, however, are built above ground and are then filled with earth, hence attempting to give it the status of underground. Can such a structure which is in truth over ground be considered underground and within the earth just because it is covered with earth? Practically, this matter is debated amongst the Poskim of today as will be explained next.

The ruling:[304] Many Poskim[305] rule that above-ground structures used for burial in some cemeteries and Chevra Kadisha’s, is invalid, and it is considered as if the body was never buried.[306] Some Poskim[307], however, defend the use of this form of burial, claiming that it has Halachic basis. Practically, one is required to be stringent and do all in his power that his deceased relative receives a traditional ground burial and not a burial within a built structure.

The position of the Israeli Rabbanut: The position of the Israeli Rabbanut for many years was to invalidate above-ground structure burials. Nonetheless, the current ruling of the Israeli Rabbanut, and its directive to the Chevra Kadisha’s, does permit certain forms of over ground burial, under various Halachic arguments that they deem acceptable. This has created a major obstacle for those who desire to follow the majority of Poskim who invalidate such a burial, as the national insurance [Bituach Leumi] does not provide free ground burials in overly urbanized cities [i.e. Tel Aviv, Jerusalem], and paying for a ground burial privately can cost thousands, and up to tens of thousands of dollars. Practically, one is to do all in his power that his deceased relative receives a ground burial and is not to suffice with a burial of Komot or Rama. One is to do so even if the cost of the ground burial is exorbitant. There are various cities and villages which sell ground burial plots and the full range of prices and locations are to be weighed. 

B. Face up, on its back:[308]

The body is placed into the ground on its back, facing up, like a person who is sleeping.[309]

C. The direction:[310]

From the letter of the law, the body may be buried in any direction, whether north to south or east to west or vice versa, and there is no set direction that must be conformed to in a cemetery.[311] Nonetheless, there exist several customs regarding this matter: Some are accustomed to bury from north [i.e. the head] to south [i.e. the feet].[312] Others are accustomed to bury facing Jerusalem.[313] Others are accustomed to burying with the feet facing the opening of the cemetery.[314] Practically, initially one is to bury facing the opening of the cemetery, which faces Jerusalem, and if necessary, to make another opening in the cemetery for this purpose. However, if this is not possible, we follow the letter of the law and one may bury in any direction.

8. The Matzeiva:

See Volume 2 Chapter 30 for the full details of this subject!

9. Unearthing a corpse and reburying in a different plot:[315]

A. The prohibition to unearth a corpse and the exceptions:

It is forbidden to unbury a body for burial in a different area with exception to the cases to be listed.[316] This applies even if the body has already decomposed and only the bones remain. This applies even if one desires to make room for another Kever, or to make space [for the city].[317] This applies even if his current burial ground is repugnant and one desires to rebury him in a more pleasant burial ground.[318] This applies even if one desires to bury the person elsewhere for reasons relating to his honor.[319]

The following, however, are the mitigating circumstances in which unearthing, and reburial are permitted:[320]

  1. Family plot: If he is not currently buried in his families plot and will be reburied near his ancestors [or family[321], or spouse[322]] then he may be unearthed and reburied.[323] [Some Poskim[324] rule that this allowance only applies if he will be buried in the family plot in which the members of the family are all buried. If, however, there is no set family plot and every family member is buried elsewhere, then the allowance to bury one near the other does not apply. This allowance does not apply if the person is buried in Eretz Yisrael and they desire to rebury him in a family plot in the Diaspora.[325]]
  2. Eretz Yisrael:[326] If he is currently buried in the diaspora and will be reburied in Eretz Yisrael, then he may be unearthed and reburied there. [This applies even if a Tnaiy was not made. Nonetheless, the widespread custom is to initially make a Tnaiy even when one intends to rebury the deceased in Eretz Yisrael.[327] In all cases, a Rav is to be contacted prior to making any decision.[328]]
  3. Tnaiy:[329] If he was originally buried [by the Chevra Kadisha, or children[330]] on condition to be unearthed and reburied elsewhere, then he may be unearthed and reburied. [This applies even after many years.[331] Practically, the custom is to delay the unearthing and reburial in such a case for 12 months, as explained in B.]
  4. Worry of gentiles: If there is worry that gentiles will remove the body from its current burial grounds, then he may be unearthed and reburied.
  5. Jewish burial:[332] If he was buried amongst gentiles and will be reburied in a Jewish cemetery then he may be unearthed and reburied.
  6. Damage to grave:[333] If there is worry that the grave will be [plowed over[334] or] destroyed by flood, then he may be unearthed and reburied.
  7. Illegal burial:[335] If the person was buried in the area without permission, and was not a Meis Mitzvah, then he may be unearthed and buried elsewhere.
  8. Public damage:[336] If the grave is causing damage to the public, such as if it is near a road, it may be unearthed and buried elsewhere, even if it was legally buried in its current location.

*In all cases that it is permitted to unearth a grave-see Chapter 31 Halacha 11 regarding if the grave is later permitted in benefit.

Temporarily unearthing without intent to rebury elsewhere:[337] It is forbidden to dig open a grave once it is closed even if one plans to re-bury it right away. This applies even if the heirs desire to open the grave for monetary related purposes. [It is disputed amongst Poskim[338] as to whether the body may be unearthed for identification purposes for the sake of releasing his wife from Aguna status, or for the sake of having the children say Kaddish. It is likewise disputed amongst Poskim[339] as to whether one may unearth the body if one of the Tachrichin garments were not placed on him. If a child was buried without a circumcision, it is permitted for the child to be unearthed and circumcised.[340]]

B. Likkut Atzamos-The process of unearthing and reburying the body:[341]

Throughout the process of unearthing the remains, utmost respect must be kept to the remains and the process.[342]

When: The body is to only be unearthed after the flesh has decomposed and the skeleton remains without it being identifiable.[343] [This, however, only refers to if the son is unearthing his father’s remains, while by other people, it is not necessary to wait until decomposition of the body.[344] Nonetheless, usually, the Chevra Kadisha will wait 12 months to transfer the body after it is buried.[345]]

Caring for the remains: The skeletal remains of the unearthed body must be kept intact, without breaking them, or tearing any of their sinews that attach them together.[346] The bones may be removed using one’s hands.[347] When unearthing more than one body simultaneously, they are to be placed in different caskets, and are not to be mixed up.[348]

Who: A son should avoid collecting his father’s bones, although from the letter of the law, it is permitted for him to do so.[349] A Kohen may not unearth the remains of his father.[350] Those unearthing, transporting, and reburying the body, are exempt from all Mitzvos.[351] One is not allowed to be stringent and perform the commands.[352]

C. Mourning customs followed on the day of unearthing and reburial:[353]

The act of unearthing a body and reburying it elsewhere, carries various laws of mourning for the relatives. [This applies even if the unearthed body still contains flesh, such as it did not decompose.[354] If, however, the body is unearthed with the casket and is reburied with the casket, it is disputed if the mourning laws apply.[355]] On the day of the unearthing[356] the seven relatives are to follow all the laws of Shiva [with exception to a wife who remarried[357]]. The mourning lasts until the nighttime of that day of the unearthing, even if the remains were yet to be reburied.[358] The Aninus laws are not followed at all in this process [and hence they may eat meat and drink wine[359]].[360] [However, the relatives are exempt from all Mitzvos until the remains are reburied.[361]] Keriah must be reperformed by the relatives on the day of the unearthing.[362] A limited form of comforting and Seudas Havraah takes place on the day of reburial.[363] If a relative heard about the unearthing on a later date, even the next day, he does not follow any mourning laws.[364] If, however, he heard about it on that same day, then the mourning laws apply even if he did not witness it.[365] [Nonetheless, there is no requirement to inform relatives of the unearthing, and on the contrary, one is to avoid doing so.[366]]

10. Laws relating to grave-digging:

Jewish gravediggers:[367] It is proper to endeavor that the digging of the grave is done by a Jew. [Many Chevra Kadisha’s own a tractor which they use to perform the digging. In light of the above, the operator of the tractor is to be Jewish.[368]]

Exempt from Shema, prayer and positive commands:[369] Gravediggers are exempt from Kerias Shema, Tefila, Tefillin, and all the [positive] Mitzvos written in the Torah [while they are assigned to a digging job].[370] [Furthermore, this applies even when the diggers take a break from their work for the sake of rest.[371]] If there are two [or more[372]] gravediggers and the time of Shema has arrived, then they are to take turns Davening while the other person digs. This, however, only applies by a small grave, in which only one digger is needed. If, however, both diggers are needed to do the work, then they are both exempt from the Mitzvah. [The same applies if more than two people are involved in the digging, that all those who are needed to work simultaneously are exempt, while those who are not currently needed are to go pray, and then switch with the others until everyone has prayed. All in all, the digging, and its related tasks, may not cease (for even a moment) for the sake of reading Shema or prayer or other Mitzvos, and only if it can be accomplished by another may someone take a break to say it.[373]]

When to dig the grave:[374] Some Poskim[375] rule one may not dig a grave for a [sick] person until he dies.[376] [However, from the letter of the law, it is permitted to do so, so long as the person is unaware.[377] Even according to this approach, one is not to dig it on Erev Shabbos, close to Shabbos, unless one expects the burial to take place before Shabbos.[378] Likewise, one is not to dig it before Yom Tov, even if he expects the person to die on Yom Tov.[379] Practically, we avoid digging a grave for a sick person even if he is unaware, in order not to diminish his Mazal.[380] However, it is permitted and accustomed even initially for graves to be dug and prepared in the cemetery so they are ready for future purchase and burial.[381] The graves, however, are to be filled up with earth after they are dug, as stated next. Once the grave has been purchased, it is no longer to be prepared or dug until the burial.[382] However, some are accustomed that those who purchase a grave in their lifetime, have it dug up and then covered by a board, thus already forming the hallow space inside.[383]]

Leaving a grave open:[384] It is forbidden to ever dig a grave and leave it open until the next day, for a corpse who will not be buried that day, and if one does so there is danger involved. [Thus, if the grave was already dug and the burial will not take place that day, the grave is to be refilled with earth.[385] Alternatively, it is to be covered over with a board.[386] This adherence to cover the grave that day applies even if the grave was dug by the Chevra Kadisha for future use, and has not yet been purchased for burial.[387] Nonetheless, some burial societies are accustomed to dig the grave only partially, and leave it open, as the adherence to cover it that day only applies if the grave has been dug to its required depth.[388]]

 Q&A

May a grave be dug during the day and left open for a burial that will take place that night?

Some Poskim[389] rule this prohibition applies even from day to night, and hence one may not dig a grave before sunset if the burial will take place after sunset. However, other Poskim[390] are lenient in such a case.

May a grave be dug during the night for the sake of burial the next day?[391]

Yes.

 

If a grave was dug before Shabbos and the burial could not take place that day, can a gentile be asked to refill the grave on Shabbos?

Some Poskim[392] rule it is permitted to do so.[393]

11. Meis Mitzvah:[394]

Whoever finds a Meis Mitzvah [a Jewish body] is obligated to bring him/her to burial. A body is defined as a Meis Mitzvah even it is missing a limb[395], so long as his head, and majority of the deceased body is found for burial.[396]

Where to bury: Whoever finds a Meis Mitzvah in an open field[397] that is outside the Techum of the city [i.e. Halachic city zone, which is a 2000 Amos circumference around the last house of the city] is obligated to bury him/her in the area that the body was found. This applies even if the body is found in private property, as a Meis Mitzvah acquires the area that he is found in. In such a case, the owners cannot protest against the burial, and it is forbidden to unearth him from there. However, if the body was found within the Techum of the city, then he is to be buried in the city cemetery. [Practically, today the custom is to always bring the body to a cemetery for burial, and not to bury him in the area that the body was found.[398]]

Kohen: See Chapter 8 Halacha 4!

_____________________________________

[1] Devarim 21:23 “Don’t allow his corpse to remain on the tree, you shall bury it”; Rebbe Yochanon in Sanhedrin 46b; “Minayin Limeilin Sheoveir…”; Admur 526:1 “Positive command of burial”; 495 KU”A 3 “Negative command of Baal Salin”; Admur 72:2 that one transgresses the positive command if delays until sunset and transgresses the negative command if he delays until morning; Michaber Y.D. 362:1 “One who places the body in a casket and does not bury it transgresses “Lo Salin”; Rambam Avel 12:1, as understood by Lechem Mishneh, and Sefer Hamitzvos 231 that transgresses positive command; Ramban Sefer Hamitzvos Shoresh 1; Chinuch 537; Radbaz Chadashos 311 [learns there is only a negative command, and not a positive command], brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Ginas Veradim 1:8-2; M”A 72:2; Chochmas Adam Hanhagas Chevra Kadisha 12; Kitzur SHU”A 198:3; M”B 72:6; See Sdei Chemed Mareches Kuf 39 that so rule majority of all Rishonim and Achronim; See Gesher Hachaim chapter 16 and Vol. 2:12 for lengthy discussion; See Igros Kodesh 4:374, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:255, for the various opinions

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is merely a Rabbinical command to bury the dead, and not a Biblical obligation. [Rasag Parshiyos 34; Rabbeinu Yona Sanhedrin ibid and Lechem Mishneh Avel 12:1 in explanation of second version of statement of Rebbe Yochanon ibid; Rambam Avel 12:1 in understanding of some Poskim; Maharitz in name of Chavos Yair 139 that the Lav is Rabbinical and the verse is an Asmachta, and other Poskim brought in Sdei Chemed Mareches Kuf 39 based on Rama C.M. 107; They say that the Gemara in Sanhedrin ibid is an Asmachta] Some Poskim hold that the Biblical command to bury the dead only applies to the seven relatives, while for any other person only a Rabbinical command applies. [See Rama C.M. 107:2 in name of Rishonim; Sdei Chemed ibid; Gesher Hachaim ibid who writes it is Biblical; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:151]

[2] Besamim Rosh 64, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1

[3] Tashbeitz 2:111, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah E.H. 89; Gesher Hachaim 16:1 [See there that it is for this reason that a blessing is not recited, as it is a continuous Mitzvah.]

[4] Michaber 348:3; unanswered question in Sanhedrin 46b

[5] The reason: As not burying the deceased is a belittlement for those alive. [Shach 348:6]

[6] Implication of Admur 71:1 that all relatives who mourn are obligated to bury the deceased, with exception to one’s married sister, as Admur states “One whose relative passed away of whom one is obligated to mourn, even if he is not obligated to bury him, such as if one’s married sister passed away, or if the Chevra Kadisha has taken over”; Sdei Chemed ibid; Gesher Hachaim ibid; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:151 that by the seven relatives it is a Biblical command.

One’s married sister, or female relative: Admur ibid rules that only the husband is obligated to bury the married sister. Vetzaruch Iyun as seemingly this also applies to other married female relatives, such as a married mother, or daughter, as brought in Michaber below, Vetzaruch Iyun as to why Admur omitted these examples.

[7] See Michaber 343:1 and 361:2 that the entire city must stop doing Melacha to see that the needs of the deceased are carried out unless there is a group of people designated to take care of the deceased; See Chavos Yair 139, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Chochmas Adam Hanhagos Chevra Kadisha 12 that the obligation is on the sons, or other Aveilim, and in absence of them, it is upon the Chevra Kadisha; Divrei Chaim 1:64; Nitei Gavriel 129:4; See Sdei Chemed ibid; Gesher Hachaim ibid that it is Biblical upon the Chevra Kadisha if the relatives cannot bury; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:151 that by non-relatives it is only a Rabbinical command if the deceased has relatives.

[8] Michaber Even Haezer 89:1; Admur 71:1; Aruch Hashulchan 348:2

[9] Gesher Hachaim 16:2

Burying the ash of the deceased: See Gesher Hachaim 16:9 and Darkei Chesed 17:13 that it is not obligated in burial, but is buried for other reasons.

[10] See Michaber 353:7 that a funeral is only done if one has majority of the body and head; Mishneh Limelech Avel 14:21

[11] Tosafos Yom Tov Shabbos 10:5

[12] Noda Beyehuda Kama Y.D. 90; Minchas Chinuch Mitzvah 537:1

[13] Implication of Michaber/Rama 526:10 and Admur 526:20; Hagahos Maimanis, brought in M”A 526:20; Chavos Yair 68, brought in Gilyon Maharsha; Noda Beyehuda Kama O.C. 16

[14] Definition of Nefel in this regard: The definition of a Nefel in this regard is a child who died within thirty days of birth and was certainly born prior to the completion of nine months. If, however, it is unknown as to after how long he was born, and he was born without fully developed nails and hair, then seemingly he is defined as a Safek Nefel [and he must be buried]. [See Admur 330:8] If the child was born with fully developed hair and nails, then we assume that it is not a Nefel at all even if he died within thirty days after birth, and he certainly must be buried. [See Michaber 526:9 and Admur 526:19 and Michaber 330:7 and Admur 330:8; However see M”A 526:19 who considers him a Safek Nefel even in such a case.]

[15] M”A 526:20; Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; See Gesher Hachaim 1:16-3; Tzitz Eliezer 10:25

[16] See Michaber and Rama Y.D. 263:5; O.C. 526:10; Admur 526:19-20; Avnei Nezer 472; Nitei Gavriel 135:18; Letter of Rav SZ”A printed in Nitei Gavriel page 749 that from the letter of the law burial is not required and we only bury due to Tuma

The law by a child who was born alive: Seemingly, by a child who was born alive and later died within thirty days, burying him is an obligation according to all, as today all Nefalim are considered a Safek Nefel, as we do not know as to after how many months they were born, and are hence obligated to be buried due to the doubt. This especially applies if they were born with fully developed hair and nails. See previous footnote!

Burying a Nefel together with other in same plot: See Letter of Rav SZ”A printed in Nitei Gavriel page 749 that the burial is to be done a short distance from the grave. Nitei Gavriel ibid writes the custom in New York is to bury a Nefel together with another Meis.

[17] Nitei Gavriel 75:17; See 75:22 that they should not be buried near Reshaim; See Letter of Rav SZ”A printed in Nitei Gavriel page 749 regarding if one may bury the Nefel together with another deceased.

[18] Maharsham 4:146; Nitei Gavriel 75:19

[19] Michaber 367:1; Gittin 61a

[20] Shach 367:1

[21] Sdei Chemed Kelalim 2:103 in name of Poskim; Gesher Hachaim 7:1; Pnei Baruch 4:6

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the prohibition of Lo Salin applies even to a gentile. [Shoel Umeishiv 2:151]

[22] Rama 374:3 and Shach 374:3; See Shach 374:2-3, Admur 329:2, Michaber Even Haezer 4:34, regarding the status of Kavua

[23] Shvus Yaakov 2:101, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 362:1; See Gesher Hachaim 16:2; Darkei Chesed 22

[24] See Sefer Chayeh Olam for letters from all Gedolei Yisrael on the great prohibition of cremating the dead; Gesher Hachaim 16:7; Chelkas Yaakov 2:14; Nitei Gavriel 75:23

[25] Devarim 21:23 “Don’t allow his corpse to remain on the tree, you shall bury it”; Rebbe Yochanon in Sanhedrin 46b; “Minayin Limeilin Sheoveir…”; Admur 526:1 “Positive command of burial”; 495 KU”A 3 “Negative command of Baal Salin”; Michaber Y.D. 362:1 “One who places the body in a casket and does not bury it transgresses “Lo Salin”; Rambam Avel 12:1, as understood by Lechem Mishneh, and Sefer Hamitzvos 231; Chinuch 537; Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 155; Darkei Chesed 10:6

[26] See Noda Beyehuda Tinyana 210; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 336; Shagas Aryeh 6; Kesav Sofer Y.D. 174; Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 155; Darkei Chesed 10:6; See Ramban on Devarim 21:23

[27] Darkei Chesed 10:6

[28] Yerushalmi Kesubos 11:1; Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 2:155; Arugas Habosem Y.D. 247; Minchas Elazar 2:34; Divrei Malkiel 5:140; Gesher Hachaim p. 157; Nitei Gavriel ibid

[29] Darkei Chesed 10:6; Nitei Gavriel ibid

[30] Seridei Eish 2:123; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:147; Nitei Gavriel ibid; See Gesher Hachaim 16:7

[31] See Gesher Hachaim 5:7; Darkei Chesed 10:4; See Mishneh Limelech Machalos Assuros 8:18 regarding selling mummies and Aveilus 3:1 regarding Tumas Kohanim from a mummy; Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:2 regarding eating the mummy

[32] See Chasam Sofer Y.D. 336; Radbaz 2:484

[33] Gesher Hachaim ibid

[34] Mavor Yabok Mamar Sefas Emes 27; Zohar Parshas Emor p. 88b

[35] Noda Beyehuda Tinyana 210; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 336; Shagas Aryeh 6; Kesav Sofer Y.D. 174; See Ramban on Devarim 21:23; Gesher Hachaim 5 p. 51-52

[36] Rama 363:2; Rashab 369

[37] The reason: As the flesh and skin delay and increase the pain of judgment, and the faster they decompose, the quicker the judgment will be. [Taz 363:3]

[38] See Shvus Yaakov 2:97; Har Eival Anaf 11; Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:5

[39] See Shulchan Aruch 349; Gesher Hachaim Chapter 8; Nitei Gavriel 132

[40] Michaber 349:1 regarding garment; Avoda Zara 28b; Shach 79:3; 349:1; All Poskim in next footnote

[41] Shach 79:3; 349:1; Even Shoham 30, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:1; Tzevi Letzadik 79; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 336; Rashi Sanhedrin 47b-48a; Rabbeinu Tam ibid; Ramban, brought in Kesef Mishneh Machalos Assuros 4:4; Yireim 310; See Sheilas Yaavetz 41 however who states it is Rabbinical

[42] The reason: As the verse states “And Miriam was buried there” and we learn a Hekesh from Egla Arufa that just as the Egla Arufa is forbidden in benefit, so too a corpse and all its burial garments are forbidden in benefit. [Shach 349:1]

[43] Michaber 349:2; Beis Yosef 349; Kesef Mishnah on Rambam; Rashba 330; Gesher Hachaim 8:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the hair of a deceased person is permitted in benefit. [Nekudos Hakesef 349:2; Rambam; Semag; Tosfos Bava Kama 11]

[44] Beis Hillel 349 that is Kal Vachomer from hair; 1st opinion in Tosfos Nidda 55a; Gesher Hachaim 8:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the skin of a deceased person is permitted in benefit. [2nd opinion in Tosfos Nidda 55a, brought in Beis Hillel ibid]

[45] Ginas Veradim 1:1-4, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 349

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is only Rabbinically forbidden to receive irregular benefit from a deceased. [Radbaz 3:548; Shivas Tziyon 62; See Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:229-3]

[46] Gesher Hachaim 8:1

[47] Michaber 349:2

[48] See Mishneh Limelech end of Hilchos Avel for lengthy discussion on this topic; Birkeiy Yosef 349; See Sdei Chemed Divrei Chachamim 52; Yabia Omer 3:20-23; Nishmas Avraham 2:349 [p. 510-520]

[49] Michaber 349:1 regarding garment; Bedek Habayis 349 in name of Rashba 365; Setimas Rama ibid; Radbaz in understanding of Rambam Avel 14:21; Levush 349; Birkeiy Yosef ibid concludes not to Chaim Bayad 96; P”M 79 S”D 3; Rav Akiva Eiger 349 in name of Ginas Veradim 1:1; Kitzur SHU”A 196:13; Aruch Hashulchan 349:3; Zivcheiy Tzedek Y.D. 79:7; Ben Ish Chaiy Emor 2:6; Teshuvah Meahava 1:47; Chelkas Yaakov 1:84

[50] Shach 349:1 implies gentiles have same Biblical status as Jews

[51] Even Shoham 30, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:1; Tzevi Letzadik 79; Sheilas Yaavetz 41

[52] Ginas Veradim 1:1-4, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 349

[53] Gemara: Yerushalmi Shabbos 10:5; See Sanhedrin 19b that David married Michal with 200 foreskins; See Bechoros 45a that the students of Rebbe Yishmael dissected the body of a certain Zona

Rishonim: Tosfos Bava Kama 10a “A gentile owned by a Jew who falls in a pit is permitted in benefit” [however see Shvus Yaakov 1:89 who learns that only in the case of an owned slave is it permitted]; Rashba on Bava Kama 9b; 53b; 94b “Benefit from a gentile corpse is permitted” [See Sdei Chemed ibid that this is the true opinion of the Rashba]; Ran Shabbos 94b;  Meiri Shabbos 93b; Ramban Kesubos 60a; Rokeiach 464; Yireim 113

Achronim: Radbaz 741 and 979; Nekudos Hakesef in name of Tosfos ibid and in implication of Harav Hamaggid in Machalos Assuros 2; Gr”a 349 in name of Rashba ibid; Mishneh Limelech ibid in name of Yerushalmi ibid and in his understanding of Rambam; Peri Chadash Y.D. Kuntrus Achron 79; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 336; Maharam Shick Y.D. 349; Gesher Hachaim 8:1

[54] The reason: As only the prohibition against benefiting from the body of a Jew can be learned from Miriam, thus a gentile’s body is permitted in benefit. [Rashba ibid; Radbaz ibid]

[55] Chida in Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Misgeres Hashulchan p. 175

[56] Even Shoham 30, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:1; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:229-6; Yaskil Avdi 6:19; Gesher Hachaim 8:1; Rav SZ”A, brought in Nishmas Avraham ibid; This follows the lenient opinions brought above who hold it is not prohibited at all, or is merely a Rabbinical prohibition. However according to those opinions who hold it is a Biblical prohibition, it is forbidden to make use of the body even for the benefit of medical science. [See Darkei Moshe Y.D. 368:4]

[57] Michaber 349:1; Sanhedrin 47b-48a; Rashba 365 adds regarding gentile; Darkei Chesed 12:18

[58] See Shach 349:1

[59] The reason: As the verse states, “And Miriam was buried there” and we learn a Hekesh from Egla Arufa that just as the Egla Arufa is forbidden in benefit, so too a corpse and all its burial garments are forbidden in benefit. [Shach 349:1]

[60] Nekudos Hakesef in name of Tosfos Bava Kama 10a and in implication of Harav Hamaggid in Machalos Assuros 2; Gr”a 349 in name of Rashba on Bava Kama; Mishneh Limelech ibid in name of Yerushalmi; See dispute recorded above regarding benefiting from the body of a gentile and the same would apply to the garments

[61] Michaber 349:2; See Gesher Hachaim 8:2; Darkei Chesed 12:18

[62] Gesher Hachaim 8:1

[63] Shach 349:3 in name of Bach

[64] Michaber 349:2

[65] Shach 349:3 in name of Bach

[66] However, jewelry which is permanently placed onto the body, such as a permanent naval ring, or tongue ring, seemingly is forbidden to be removed and must be buried together with the body, just like a permanent wig. However, if the deceased instructed for it to be removed upon death, then one may do so, as stated above.

[67] Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:4

[68] Rama ibid

Woman with death sentence: The hair of a woman with a death sentence is permitted in benefit so long as she is still alive, prior to being put to death. [Rama ibid]

[69] Michaber 349:1; Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:4

[70] Michaber ibid

[71] Michaber 349:3

[72] Shach 349:5

[73] Michaber ibid; See Rama ibid that the saver is obligated to guard the item and must return it to the parents after their wrath and anguish dissipate. If, however, they return it to the parents right away, they become liable for damages.

The reason: As certainly the parents will later regret throwing the items, and it is hence a Mitzvah to return due to Hashavas Aveida. [Shach 349:4]

[74] Michaber 349:4; 350:1 as explained in Shach 350:2; Miseches Semachos 9; See Admur Hilchos Shemiras Haguf 14

Burning the items of a king: See Michaber 348:1 that one may burn the items of a king or president, but not of a regular person

[75] Rama 349:3

[76] Rama ibid

[77] Rama 364:1

[78] Michaber 363:5; See Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:6; Igros Moshe 1:244; Nitei Gavriel 49:9

[79] Gesher Hachaim 8:11; See Nitei Gavriel 49:10

[80] Panim Meiros 3:33; Bechos Shur Avodas Kochavim 29b; Pischeiy Teshuvah 349:3-4

[81] Gesher Hachaim 8:8

[82] See Nishmas Avraham p. 523-526 in name of Poskim: Igros Moshe; Rav SZ”A; Tzitz Eliezer; Shevet Halevi 7:189; Yabia Omer 10:50; Binyan Av [of Rav Batzri]

[83] The reason: As the item was never placed in the body with intent for him to be buried with it, and hence does not receive a benefit prohibition.

[84] See Nishmas Avraham p. 523-526 in name of Poskim; Igros Moshe; Rav SZ”A; Tzitz Eliezer; Shevet Halevi 7:189; Yabia Omer 10:50; Binyan Av [of Rav Batzri];

[85] Michaber 357:1; Rambam Avel 12:1; Mishneh Sanhedrin 46a; Rebbe Yochanon in name of Rashbi Sanhedrin ibid “From where do we know that one who delays the burial that…”; See Sdei Chemed Aveilus 84; Pnei Baruch 4:5

[86] See all Poskim in Halacha 1, and in coming footnotes; See Igros Kodesh 4:374, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:255, for the various opinions

Other opinions: See Poskim in other opinions in footnotes for Halacha 1.

[87] See Chavos Yair 139, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Chochmas Adam Hanhagos Chevra Kadisha 12 that the obligation is on the sons, or other Aveilim, and in absence of them, it is upon the Chevra Kadisha; Divrei Chaim 1:64; Nitei Gavriel 129:4

[88] See Ramban Ki Seitzei for proof from verse; Gilyon Maharsha 357 that it is permitted to delay the burial also in honor of the respect of those alive, however the Noda Beyehuda O.C. 16 questions this

[89] Mishneh ibid “If the burial was delayed, he transgresses a negative command, as the verse states, Lo Salin Nivlaso Al Haeitz, Ki Kavor Tikvirenu”; Admur 72:2 that one transgresses the negative command of Lo Salin if he delays until morning; M”A 72:2; Poskim in Gilyon Maharsha 357; Radbaz 1:311

In Eretz Yisrael: Some rule that delaying the burial of a body in Eretz Yisrael also carries an addition transgression of “Lo Sitamei Admasecha: not to defile the land.” [Ramban Parshas Ki Seitzei 21:23]

Other opinions: See Poskim in other opinions in footnotes for Halacha 1 who learn that the prohibition is only Rabbinical.

[90] Admur 72:2 in parentheses that one transgresses the positive command of Kavor Tikbirenu if he delays until sunset; Rambam Sefer Hamitzvos 231; Lechem Mishneh 4:7; Conclusion of Ginas Veradim 1:8-2, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 357; Minchas Chinuch 537

The reason: It is a Biblical positive command to bury the deceased as soon as possible, as learned from the words “Kavor Tikbirenu.” [Poskim ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule there is no positive command to bury the dead right away, as the above verse refers only to those who were killed in Beis Din. [Ginas Veradim 1:8-2 in name of Radbaz ibid, brought in Gilyon Maharsha ibid]

[91] Besamim Rosh 64, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Pnei Baruch 4:6

[92] M”A 526:20, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; See Gesher Hachaim 1:16-3; Tzitz Eliezer 10:25

Other opinions: Most Poskim rule that a stillborn and Nefel is not obligated to be buried, and from the letter of the law may be discarded. [Implication of Michaber/Rama 526:10; Admur 526:20 “As so long as the child is a still born, there is no belittlement to delay his burial until the evening”; Hagahos Maimanis, brought in M”A 526:20; Chavos Yair 68, brought in Gilyon Maharsha; Noda Beyehuda Kama O.C. 16; Yeshuos Yaakov 526:5; Binyan Tziyon 1:113; See Mishmeres Shalom Lamed 32] Some communities are accustomed to not bury a Nefel until its mother recovers from birth, due to it being a danger for the mother. [Shulchan Gavoa 526:22; Kaf Hachaim 526:94] Practically, we do not follow this approach. [Erez Chaim 357; Darkei Teshuvah 116:43; Nitei Gavriel 135 footnote 27]

[93] See Halacha 1A in footnotes for definition

[94] Kaf Hachaim 526:92; Ashel Avraham Butchach 342; Nitei Gavriel 129:5

[95] Sdei Chemed Kelalim 2:103 in name of Poskim; Gesher Hachaim 7:1; Pnei Baruch 4:6

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the prohibition of Lo Salin applies even to a gentile. [Shoel Umeishiv 2:151]

[96] Admur 72:2 in parentheses that one transgresses the positive command of Kavor Tikbirenu if he delays until sunset; Sefer Hachinuch and Minchas Chinuch 537; Ginas Veradim 1:8-2, brought in Birkeiy Yosef and Gilyon Maharsha 357; Sefer Hachaim Hilchos Yom Tov; Chochmas Adam Hanhagas Chevra Kadisha 12 that one transgresses the positive command and possibly also the negative command; Kitzur SHU”A 198:3; M”B 72:6; Poskim in Sdei Chemed ibid; Shevet Halevi 4:154; See Yad Avraham 357; Pnei Baruch 4:5 footnote 14; Nitei Gavriel 129:2

The reason: As the verse uses the term “Talin” which means to sleep, and hence we see that any delay into the nighttime is considered a Biblical prohibition. [Implication of Ginas Veradim ibid] Alternatively, the reason is because the positive command requires one to bury the dead that day, before sunset. However, in truth, the negative command is not transgressed if he is buried later at night, before daybreak. [Admur ibid in parentheses]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the Biblical transgression does not apply until one delays the burial throughout the entire night, until daybreak. [Radbaz Chadashos 311, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Yad Avraham 357 that so is main opinion; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 129:2]

[97] Radbaz ibid and so applies even according to Ginas Veradim ibid; Minchas Chinuch 537 that Lo Salin applies even if one died in middle of the night and one delays until morning.

The custom to not bury at night and delay until morning: In previous times it was common not to bury at night and to delay the burial until daytime, out of respect for the dead, to increase the attendance for the funeral. See Q&A for the full details of this matter!

[98] Shagas Aryeh Chadashos 6; Yad Eliyahu 16; Nitei Gavriel 129 footnote 1

[99] Transgresses if delays entire night until daybreak [but not past sunset]: Radbaz Chadashos 311, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Chavos Yair 139; Yad Avraham 357 that so is main opinion. This applies even if one died in middle of the night and one delays until morning. [Minchas Chinuch 537; Radbaz ibid and so applies even according to Ginas Veradim ibid]

Transgresses if died by day and delays past sunset: Admur 72:2 in parentheses that one transgresses the positive command of Kavor Tikbirenu; Sefer Hachinuch and Minchas Chinuch 537 writes like Admur ibid that one transgresses positive command; Ginas Veradim 1:8-2, brought in Birkeiy Yosef and Gilyon Maharsha 357; Sefer Hachaim Hilchos Yom Tov; Chochmas Adam Hanhagas Chevra Kadisha 12 that one transgresses the positive command and possibly also the negative command; Poskim in Sdei Chemed ibid; Kitzur SHU”A 198:3; M”B 72:6; See Yad Avraham 357; Pnei Baruch 4:5 footnote 14; See other opinions brought above!

[100] Radbaz Chadashos 311, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1; Yireim 252; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 129:2 footnote 4

The reason: As the verse uses the term “Talin” which means to sleep, and hence we see that only a delay of nighttime is considered a Biblical prohibition.

[101] Chasam Sofer 338; Yaavetz; Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1

Other opinions: A certain scholar in the 1770’s claimed that the burial of the dead is to be delayed until corrosion of the body begins, as the doctors have now stated that they cannot determine the exact time of death, and that until corrosion begins, perhaps the person is still alive. A proof for this was brought from the Mishneh in Nida which states that a body still gives off Tumas Zava and Nidda until corrosion. Likewise, Miseches Semachos mentions the custom of visiting [and nocking] on the Kever of a person within three days from burial as perhaps he is alive, and so in truth occurred one time that the body was alive, exhumed and lived for another 25 years, having children. [Brought in Chasam Sofer and Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid] Practically, the Poskim ibid completely negate this opinion and rule that according to Torah death is defined as not breathing, and no further proof is needed. 

[102] Michaber 357:1; Mishneh Sanhedrin 46a

[103] See Gilyon Maharsha 357 that one may not delay the burial until after Yom Tov for this purpose

[104] Michaber ibid; Tur 357; Braisa in Miseches Semachos; Ramban; Rosh; Taz 357:1 in name of Rashal; Shach in Nekudos Hakesef [who asks on Taz as to why he quotes this in the name of the Rashal after it being explicitly written in the Michaber]; Chochmas Adam 155:29; Kitzur SHU”A 198:3; Shevet Halevi 4:154; 6:176; Nitei Gavriel 129:6

[105] Michaber 357:1; Braisa Moed Katan 22a; Ramban; Rosh

[106] Shach 357:1

[107] The reason: As it is not common by non-parents to lengthen the eulogy and wailing, and hence it more honorable to hurry the funeral and burial, than for the body remain without being eulogized and having its burial delayed. [Shach ibid]

[108] Shach ibid

[109] The reason: As a child has an obligation to eulogize his parent, and hence if he hurries it, it is not praiseworthy. [Shach ibid]

[110] Beis Hillel 357

[111] See Shita Mekubetzes and Yam Shel Shlomo on Bava Kama 82b; Meshech Chochma Ki Seitzei; Gesher Hachaim 7:3; Pnei Baruch 4:7; Nitei Gavriel 129:8

[112] Gesher Hachaim ibid

[113] Taz 341:3 “Daytime is the time of burial..it is not common to bury at night”; M”A 548:8; Beis Hillel 358 “Now, the custom is that if he passed away close to nighttime that the burial is delayed until the next morning, after Shacharis. This is done in honor of the deceased, so everyone escorts him, and one may delay the burial for such reasons.”; Ashel Avraham Butchach O.C. 342 that so is the custom of majority of Diaspora Jewry; Avodas Hagershuni 77

The reason: As at night there is not enough people to join the Levayah and properly deal with the deceased, and hence delaying the burial until morning is permitted under the allowance of Kavod Hameis.

[114] See Nitei Gavriel 75:24

[115] Gesher Hachaim 7:3; Pnei Baruch 4:9

[116] Divrei Malkiel 2:95, based on Zohar Emor; Nitei Gavriel 129:6

[117] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[118] Chochmas Adam in Matzeivas Moshe 12; Beis Lechem Yehuda 348

[119] Igros Moshe Y.D .3:139; Nitei Gavriel 129:12

[120] Chavos Yair 139, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1 [see there however for his questions on this ruling]; See Pnei Baruch 4:5 footnote 16; Nitei Gavriel 129 footnote 19

[121] Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:1 in understanding of Chavos Yair ibid that nonetheless 1/5th must be spent

[122] Radbaz 1:107, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:2; Gilyon Maharsha 357; Nitei Gavriel 129:6

[123] See Shaar Hagilgulim Hakdama 23; Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:324]

[124] Sdei Chemed Aveilus 87

[125] Pischeiy Teshuvah 357:3

[126] See Pnei Baruch 4:7; Nitei Gavriel 129:6 footnote 11

[127] Ikarei Hadaat O.C. 11:13, brought in Sdei Chemed Aveilus 87

[128] Zechor Leavraham 3 Tzadik in name of Yosef Ometz 89; Shvus Yaakov 1:168

[129] Parshas Emor p. 88b

[130] Chikrei Minhagim 4:118

[131] See Shulchan Aruch 311 and 526; Pnei Baruch Chapter 6

[132] See chapter 311; M”B 526:17; Pnei Baruch 6:11

[133] Admur 311:1

[134] See Admur 308:14 and “A Semicha Aid for learning the laws of Shabbos” The laws of Muktzah Chapter 1 Halacha 3 for a full discussion on this topic; See Daas Kedoshim Y.D. 352; Nitei Gavriel 7:1

[135] Admur 311:1

[136] Admur 311: 2

[137] Admur 311:5

[138] Admur 311:6

[139] Admur 311:3

[140] Admur 311:4

[141] Admur 311:5

[142] Admur 311:6

[143] Admur 311:4

[144] Admur 311:4

[145] See Shaar Hagilgulim Hakdama 23; Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:324]

[146] See Admur 526:1-22

Burying a Nefel: A Nefel may not be buried on Yom Tov, whether the first or second day, even through the help of a gentile. [See Admur 526:19-20; Pnei Baruch 6:10; Nitei Gavriel 135:23] The definition of a Nefel in this regard is a child who died within thirty days of birth and was born prior to the completion of nine months, or is in question as to after how many months he was born, and has not yet fully developed nails and hair. If, however, the child had fully developed hair and nails, then we assume that it is not a Nefel even if he died within thirty days after birth.  [Michaber 526:9 and Admur 526:19 that if the child’s nails and hair are complete, and he does not need to be circumcised, and we do not know for certain that he is not a full term baby, then he may be buried on Yom Tov; However see M”A 526:19 who argues that the child is a Nefel even in such a case; See Chapter 10 Halacha 1 and 6] Nonetheless, a child who needs to be circumcised is not buried on Yom Tov, whether the first or second day, even if he is not a Nefel. [Admur ibid]

[147] Admur 526:1

The reason: as the positive command of burial does not negate the negative and positive command of Yom Tov. [Admur ibid]

[148] Admur 526:2; M”A 548:7 and Levushei Serud ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one may choose to delay the burial until the next day in order for Jews to perform it. [Nitei Gavriel Yom Tov 50:4 in name of: Rashal Beitza 1:10; Kneses Hagedola; Elya Raba; Chemed Moshe 2; Mor Uketzia; Olas Shabbos Chochmas Adam 170:1; Kitzur SHU”A in Lechem Hapanim 200]

[149] Admur ibid; See Taz Y.D. 399:7 that it is completely forbidden for any Jew to help fill the grave with earth due to the Biblical prohibition of Boneh, and those who are accustomed to do so are to be made aware of this

[150] Admur 526:3

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that a Jew may not perform even the Rabbinical prohibitions on behalf of the deceased. [See M”B 526:12; Pnei Baruch 6:1]

[151] Admur 526:6-11

[152] Admur 526:6; 496:5

[153] Admur 526:6

[154] Admur 526:11

[155] Admur 526:7

[156] Admur ibid that specifically a Jew should do it

[157] Admur 526:9

[158] Admur 526:10

[159] See Admur ibid for a dispute on whether one may move the body if one does not intend to bury it that day, and his conclusion is that for a need, with a non-Muktzah item, it is permitted; See Chapter 2 Halacha 9 for the full details of this matter!

[160] Admur 526:17

[161] Admur 526:15-16

When should the funeral take place? See Admur 526:22 that it should take place before Shacharis, and if not possible then after Shacharis, before the meal. See Pnei Baruch 6:7

[162] Admur 526:15

[163] Admur 526:16; See there regarding if the gravediggers and other people dealing with the funeral and carrying the body, may travel by car.

[164] Admur ibid

[165] Admur 526:18

[166] Admur 526:21; Michaber 401:4

[167] M”A 547:3 in name of Maharam; Mishneh Lemelech, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 340:11; Nitei Gavriel 61:6

[168] Michaber 401:4

[169] See Michaber 547; Pnei Baruch 6:12

[170] See Michaber 348:2; Choshen Mishpat 253:31

[171] Michaber Even Haezer 89:1; Admur 71:1; Shach 366:4; Aruch Hashulchan 348:2

[172] Michaber 348:2; Choshen Mishpat 253:31

[173] Shach 348:5 as is implication of Michaber ibid; Aruch Hashulchan ibid

[174] Maharam Mintz 51-53; Chavos Yair 139; Beis Hillel ibid; Gilyon Maharsha; Aruch Hashulchan ibid rules they are obligated to pay in call cases, even if the father said the above.

[175] See Gilyon Maharsha 348:2; Raavan 33

[176] Michaber ibid

[177] See Michaber 356:1; Gesher Hachaim p. 143; Nitei Gavriel 75:5

[178] Michaber 356:1; Mishneh end of Shekalim chapter 2

The reason: Although the money collected does not legally belong to the deceased, as Hazmanah Lav Milsa Hi, nevertheless, it is given to the heirs being that the deceased was shamed by this collection, and he thus only agreed to it if his heirs would have the benefit of receiving its leftovers. [See Shach 356:1; Taz 356:1]

[179] Shach 356:1

[180] Minchas Shlomo 2:97-11; Maaser Kesafim 14:56; Shraga Hameir 5:43

[181] The reason: As we rule like the Poskim who say the children are obligated to pay for the burial even if they did not receive an inheritance. [See Michaber 348:2; Choshen Mishpat 253:31; Maharam Mintz 51-53; Beis Hillel ibid; Gilyon Maharsha; Aruch Hashulchan 348:2]

[182] Mishmeres Shalom Kuf 131; See Chasam Sofer 330-331; Seridei Eish 2:100; Gesher Hachaim 27:7 “The Kever must be his as we learn from Avraham, and hence many are accustomed to purchase a plot in their lifetime, and if they didn’t, then their heirs pay for it before the burial”; Darkei Chesed 17:7; Nitei Gavriel 75:4; See Igros Kodesh 21:230, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:258, that the Rebbe urged for the plot to be paid by the Yeshiva whom the deceased donated his money to, and under no circumstances should he be buried without payment for the plot “as with such things we do not start up”

[183] Nitei Gavriel 75:4 footnote 8

[184] See Igros Kodesh 22:80, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:258

[185] Igros Kodesh 4:120, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:261

[186] Igros Kodesh 15:444, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:262

[187] Michaber 343:1 and 361:2; Aruch Hashulchan 343:3; Minchas Elazar 3:26; Nitei Gavriel 67:2

[188] M”A 526:21 and Taz 526:6 in name of Midrash; Lechem Hapanim 375; Chochmas Adam 170:5; Kitzur SHU”A 200:7; M”B 526:52; Nitei Gavriel 71:1

[189] Shaareiy Teshuvah 526; Misgeres Hashulchan 200:3

[190] Mor Uketzia, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 526; Misgeres Hashulchan 200:3

[191] Shaareiy Teshuvah 526; Misgeres Hashulchan 200:3

[192] The reason: As the verse states “Lo Sochlu Al Hadam,” which means that one should not eat until the person is buried. [Poskim ibid]

[193] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[194] See Sefer Umikarev Beyemin 22 for a general overview of this subject; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:152; 3:157; Milamed Lehoil 2:127; Tuv Taam Vadaas 2:253; See Admur 526:6 “Since there is no Jewish cemetery there, it is not respectful to bury him there”; and 526:18 “One who dies in a city which contains a Jewish cemetery…”

[195] Shulchan Aruch and Nosei Keilim, however see Ritva Gittin 61a that it is forbidden to bury a gentile near a Jew

[196] Ritva ibid

[197] See Darkei Chesed p. 225; Sefer Umikarev Beyemin 22 for a general overview of this subject; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:152; 3:157; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:716; 2:598

[198] Michaber 362:5

[199] Darkei Chesed p. 225; Teshuvos Vehanhagos ibid; Igros Moshe 2:152 that if the person was well known to be Michalel Shabbos in public then it is forbidden for the Chevra Kadisha to bury him near one who was Shomer Shabbos, or vice versa. If however it was not public knowledge that the person was Michalel Shabbos, even though it is known to certain individuals, then it is permitted to bury him near one who was Shomer Shabbos, unless the deceased who was Shomer Shabbos explicitly stated that he does not want to be buried near one who is rumored to have desecrated Shabbos, or transgressed another sin; Rav Yaakov Roza, Chief Rabbi of the Chevra Kadisha in Israel, related to me in a correspondence like the opinion of the Teshuvos Vehanhagos and Igros Moshe ibid

[200] Seridei Eish 2:98; Misgeres Hashulchan p. 179 that today we are no longer particular in this law; See Igros Moshe 3:157 that states one may bury a non-Frum Jew near a Frum Jew as he still has Kedushas Yisrael and wants to be buried in a Jewish cemetery according to Jewish law, and only gentiles, or Jews that rebel against Torah and Mitzvos and do not have a portion in the world to come must be distanced from a Jewish cemetery; However see Igros Moshe 2:152 that clearly states it is forbidden to bury a Michalel Shabbos near one who was Shabbos observant. See Koveitz Techumin 17 for an article by Harav Bakshi Doron that today the Chevra Kadisha is no longer particular in this matter. Vetzaruch Iyun also from the fact that we do not find any special Shomer Shabbos plots in the old cemeteries in Europe and Russia, and thus how were they careful to follow the above law! Rav Eli Landau told me that he is unsure regarding whether the custom is to be particular in this matter, and he did not receive any directive from his father in the issue. Rav Y.S. Ginzberg related likewise, Rav Chaiken, in a correspondence, related that while it is praiseworthy to be particular, it is not obligated by the cemeteries and many are accustomed to be lenient.

[201] Igros Moshe 2:152

[202] Sefer Chassidim 707 to distance 8 Amos from a Menuda; Gilyon Maharsha 362:5 regarding a Mumar; Milameid Lehoil 2:115; Igros Moshe 2:152; 3:157 that one is to make a fence of 10 Tefachim around the gentile and distance it 8 Amos; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:716 that by a Tinok Shenishba a four Ama distance suffices, however in 2:598 he requires an 8 Ama distance; See 362:3;

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it suffices to distance him four Amos. [Imrei Yosher 2:3]

[203] Igros Moshe ibid; See Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:716

[204] So I was told by Harav Y.S. Ginzberg that so is the custom in Russia.

[205] Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:598

[206] See Yoreh Deah 362:5; Sanhedrin 47a that one is not to bury a Rasha next to a Tzaddik, which is the source we find for the custom of having a Jewish cemetery that is free of gentiles. Based on this, It would likewise be prohibited to bury a Jewish Rasha near a gentile, and hence one with a Tattoo may not be buried with gentiles even though he has committed a sin. See Igros Moshe 147 that even a Jew who is married to a gentile must be buried in a Jewish cemetery.

[207] See Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:147

[208] Gilyon Maharsha 362; See Sefer Chassidim 707 to distance 8 Amos from a Menuda; Milameid Lehoil 2:115; Igros Moshe 2:152; 3:157 that one is to make a fence of 10 Tefachim around the gentile and distance it 8 Amos; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:716 that by a Tinok Shenishba a four Ama distance suffices, however in 2:598 he requires an 8 Ama distance; See 362:3;

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it suffices to distance him four Amos. [Imrei Yosher 2:3]

[209] Michaber Y.D. 365:2; C.M. 155:23; Mishneh Bava Basra 25a

The reason: As cemeteries and graves give off foul odor, which is damaging to the city inhabitants. [Shach 365:1 in name of Rambam and Michaber C.M. ibid] Alternatively, it is in order so the city inhabitants don’t constantly see the graves and be in a melancholy state of mind. [Levush, brought, and negated, in Shach ibid]

[210] Beis Hillel 365

[211] See Gesher Hachaim 27:8

Laws relating to transporting the body: See Nitei Gavriel 131:4-5

[212] See Michaber 363:1-2

[213] Michaber 363:1; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:19

[214] Michaber 363:2; Rebbe Lezer in Yerushalmi Kilayim 8:4; Rebbe Eliezer in Midrash Raba Vayechi; Rav Huna was brought to Eretz Yisrael as stated in Moed Katan 25a; See Gesher Hachaim 27:8

Other opinions: Some are of the opinion that one should not bring a body from the Diaspora to be buried in Eretz Yisrael, and one who does so defiles the land with impurity. [Rebbe Bar Kiria in Yerushalmi Kilayim 9:3; Rebbe in Midrash Raba ibid; Zohar Teruma 141; See Gesher Hachaim ibid]

[215] Teshuvah Ral Ben Chaviv 63; Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:2

[216] Shach 363:3

[217] Kesubos 111a

[218] Midrash Raba Vayikra

[219] Gesher Hachaim ibid

[220] Gesher Hachaim 2:11; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:20

[221] See Kesubos 110b

[222] Michaber 363:2; See Admur 526:18; Nitei Gavriel 131

[223] Michaber ibid; Beis Lechem Yehuda 362 in name of Rav Yehuda Hachassid in Tzavah 11; Sefer Chassidim 709 and 450; See Nitei Gavriel 131:3 in name of Gesher Hachaim that today the custom is to no longer be careful in this matter and people are transferred for burial in other cities even if there is a cemetery in the city they passed away.

The reason: As it is a belittlement to those buried in that city that one refuses to be buried there. [Shach 363:4] This causes those buried there to become angry. [Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid]

[224] Michaber ibid

[225] Rama ibid

[226] Rama ibid

[227] See Radbaz 611; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 131 footnote 2

[228] Gesher Hachaim 27:8

The reason: Although there is no law which prohibits one from leaving Jerusalem, this became accustomed to show extra deference to Jerusalem, especially in light of the fact that the Mikdash below is parallel to the Mikdash above. [Gesher Hachaim 27:8]

[229] Gesher Hachaim 27:8

The reason: As the entrance to Gan Eden is in Chevron, and from there the soul of the deceased travels to Gan Eden. [ibid]

[230] Gesher Hachaim 27:8

[231] Tiferes Tzi 1:59; Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:1

[232] See Michaber 366:1-4; Mishneh Sanhedrin 47a; Chasam Sofer 331; Beis Lechem Yehuda 362; Gesher Hachaim 27:6; Darkei Chesed 17:14; Nitei Gavriel 2:93:1-2; Toras Menachem 5749 3:140, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:256

[233] So is described in Poskim ibid as well as various areas of scripture, as brought in Gesher Hachaim 27:8

[234] Michaber Y.D. 366:1 and C.M. 217:7 regarding a person who sold his family burial spot, that his relatives may bury him there against the will of the buyer and return the money to the buyer; Bava Basra 100b; Rashba 369; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 93:1

The reason: As it is a belittlement for the family to not be buried together [and have a non-family member buried there]. [Shach 366:2; Smeh 217:14]

[235] Michaber 363:1

[236] Michaber 366:2

The reason: As her descendants are known after the family name of the father, and it is thus a belittlement for the family for them to be buried there. [Shach 366:3]

[237] Yosef Daas 366; Mishmeres Shalom Kuf 20; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 93:2

[238] Michaber 366:3

[239] Michaber 366:4

The reason: As the husband is the one obligated in her burial. [Shach 366:4]

[240] Gesher Hachaim 27:6; See there regarding where to bury a woman who was a widow and married a second husband.

[241] Michaber 362:5; Mishneh Sanhedrin 46a and Gemara 47a

Is this Biblical, Rabbinical, or a custom? Some Poskim rule that this law is a Biblical obligation, and a tradition of Moshe from Sinai [Chasam Sofer 341; Minchas Elazar 2:41; Igros Moshe 2:152; Teshuvos Vehanhagos as so is learned from the above Mishneh regarding Harugei Beis Din] Others rule that this law is a Rabbinical obligation. [Dvar Mishpat] Others rule that this law is a mere custom. [Maharil Semachos 10]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is permitted to bury a Tzaddik near a Rasha and the ruling in the above Mishneh is limited to only Harugei Beis Din. [Chasam Sofer ibid in opinion of Rambam who omitted this Halacha]

[242] Shach 362:5; Taz 362:1

[243] Story brought in Sefer Chassidim 705 that it is like being buried near a bathroom that has a foul smell; Maharil ibid that the soul of the Tzadik is not revealed the secrets of heaven if he has a Rasha neighbor.

[244] Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:152; 3:157; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 1:716; 2:598

[245] Rama ibid

[246] Shach 362:6 in name of Bach

[247] See Darkei Chesed 17:15 and Nitei Gavriel vol. 2 93:5 for the various customs in this matter

[248] See Michaber 362:4; Mavor Yabok Sefas Emes 9; Imrei Eish 117

[249] See Nitei Gavriel vol. 2 93:5-8 for various customs of burying a husband and wife near each other, and what to do if she was divorced, or a widow who remarried, or did not get along; See Divrei Malkiel 4:72

[250] Michaber 362:6; Sefer Chassidim Tzavah 1; Rabbeinu Yerucham; Levush 362:6; See Shvus Yaakov 2:96; Minchas Elazar 4:3; Beir Moshe 8:114; Nitei Gavriel 75:13

[251] The reason: As even in their death they will not find tranquility. [Sefer Chassidim ibid]

[252] Michaber 364:7

[253] See Shach 364:15

[254] See Mavor Yabok 2:7; Zera Emes 2:246; Maharsham 9:96; Rav Poalim Sod Yesharim 2; Yosef Daas Y.D. 366; Mishmeres Shalom Kuf 24; Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:153; Minchas Yitzchak 3:106; Gesher Hachaim 27:6; Nitei Gavriel vol. 2 93:8

[255] See Gesher Hachaim p. 294; Nitei Gavriel vol. 2 93:6-7

[256] Rav Yaakov Ruza [Head of Chevra Kadisha in Eretz Yisrael]; Chevra Kadisha Beit Shemesh; If the couple were not considered enemies during their lifetime then there is no reason to prohibit doing so, especially if this is the wishes of the father/mother.

[257] See Midrash Raba Vayikra 5 “A person needs to have a nail in the cemetery so he merit to be buried in that area.”; Mavor Yabok p. 208 “It is a great honor for a person to be buried in his burial plot, and therefore the custom is to purchase a plot while alive”; Shiltei Hagiborim Sanhedrin 6; Maharam Mintz 18; Chasam Sofer 330; Sdei Chemed 165; Shaareiy Tzedek Y.D. 27; Yaskil Avdi Y.D .30 that so is custom in Israel; Gesher Hachaim 27:7; Nitei Gavriel 75:4

[258] See Orchos Rabbeinu 4:108

[259] Gesher Hachaim ibid

[260] Mishmeres Shalom Kuf 131; See Chasam Sofer 330-331; Seridei Eish 2:100; Gesher Hachaim 27:7 “The Kever must be his as we learn from Avraham, and hence many are accustomed to purchase a plot in their lifetime, and if they didn’t, then their heirs pay for it before the burial”; Darkei Chesed 17:7; Nitei Gavriel 75:4; See Igros Kodesh 21:230, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:258, that the Rebbe urged for the plot to be paid by the Yeshiva whom the deceased donated his money to, and under no circumstances should he be buried without payment for the plot “as with such things we do not start up”

[261] Nitei Gavriel 75:4 footnote 8

[262] See Igros Kodesh 22:80, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:258

[263] Michaber 362:4; Tur 362:4 in name of Rav Haiy Gaon; See Gesher Hachaim 27:5

[264] Teshuvas Chacham Tzevi 149, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 362:3 and Yad Avraham 362 that the Michaber was not accurate with his words, as one requires a 6 Tefach distance, especially by soft earth; Rav Akiva Eiger 362; However, see Bach 362 who implies that a board is considered a Mechitza, and hence 6 Tefachim is not required. See also Gesher Hachaim 27:5 that if there is a wall, we are lenient to have a thickness of 6 fingers worth [12 cm]

[265] Michaber 362:3

[266] Michaber 362:4; See Beis Yosef 362 and Rav Akiva Eiger 362:4 that by caskets, a three Tefach distance suffices; See Gesher Hachaim 27:5 who negates this approach

[267] Shach 364:4; Implication of Rav Haiy Gaon; Shvus Yaakov 2:95, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 362:3, that these regulations were only established in an area with a lot of burial land available.

[268] Shvus Yaakov 2:95, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 362:3; Gesher Hachaim 27:5; Darkei Chesed 17:3

[269] See Chochmas Adama Matzeivas Moshe 10; Gesher Hachaim 27:5; In a case of mass death or murder r”l, only a small Mechitza is made between the bodies.

[270] Michaber ibid

[271] Shach 362:3; Perisha 362

[272] See Shach 362:3

[273] See Shach 362:3

[274] Shach 362:3

The age for sleeping together: Parents and grandparents may co-sleep with children of any age or gender if both are properly clothed. If not properly clothed, the parent/grandparent may not co-sleep with a child of opposite gender once the child: a) reaches age 11 for a girl, 12 for a boy; b) has grown signs of puberty; c) Is embarrassed to be undressed in front of the other. [See Michaber Even Haezer 21:7; Michaber O.C. 73:3-4 and Admur 73:3 regarding Shema; Mishneh Kiddushin 80b]

[275] Gesher Hachaim 27:6

[276] See Letter of Rav Gavriel Tzinner to Rav SZ”A and Rav Neiman of Montreal, printed in Nitei Gavriel page 749, that the custom in New York is to bury a Nefel together with another Meis, and he told the Chevra Kadisha in New York to have at least a three Tefach distance between the Nefel and Meis. Rav SZ”A and Rav Neiman replied as above that the burial is to be done a distance from the grave and one is not to bury them together.

[277] Michaber 373:7; Rambam Avel 2; Rivash 124; Chochmas Adam 160:6; Aruch Hashulchan 373:10; Nitei Gavriel 75:2

[278] Michaber 362:1; Tur 362 in name of Ramban in Toras Hadam based on Rebbe Yochanon Sanhedrin 46b

[279] See Q&A!

[280] See Gesher Hachaim 16:4; Darkei Chesed 17:12; See Arizal in Shaar Hagilgulim Hakdama 23 that the grave must be dug deep, in order for there to be room for the shaking process of Chibut Hakever to transpire.

[281] Michaber ibid; Ran Sanhedrin 46b; See Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 75:1 footnote 4; Darkei Chesed 17:2

[282] Shach 362:1

[283] See Shach 362:1 “It is good for the body is to be buried on the actual ground”; Aruch Hashulchan 362:2; Gesher Hachaim 16:1; Darkei Chesed 17:1

[284] Aruch Hashulchan 362:2 in name of Tur and Ramban; Arugas Habosem Y.D. 250; Mishneh Sachir Y.D. 2:230; Nitei Gavriel 75:1

[285] See Shach ibid; See Reshimos 5 [printed in Toras Menachem Tziyon p. 26] that the coffin of the mother of the Rebbe Rayatz was complete also on bottom, due to legal reasons, and they thus made a hole, the size of a Rimon on its bottom.

[286] See Poskim in next footnote; Not recorded in Shach ibid

[287] Shach 362:1; Perisha 362; Yosef Ometz p. 328 that so is custom of Polish Jewry; Arugas Habosem Y.D. 250; Mishna Sachir Y.D. 2:230; Nitei Gavriel 75:7

The reason: They are buried in whole caskets as a sign of dignity. [Shach ibid]

[288] Chochmas Adam 158:1; Aruch Hashulchan 362:3; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 75:7 footnote 13

[289] Arugas Habosem Y.D. 251; Nitei Gavriel 75:12

[290] Shach 362:2; Levush 362; Darkei Chesed 17:2

[291] The reason: As it is considered a belittlement to the body to throw earth directly on it. [Shach ibid]

[292] Darkei Chesed 12:17; Nitei Gavriel 49:5-6

[293] See Michaber ibid; Rambam Avel 4:4 “One should bury in a wooden Aron”; Mishmeres Shalom Alef 72

[294] Mishneh Sachir 2 Y.D. 230; Darkei Chesed ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid

[295] Rabbeinu Bechayeh on Parshas Teruma 25:23 and in Shulchan Shel Arba Shaar Rishon that so is custom of Sephardim and Chassidim in France; Shach Al Hatorah Teruma p. 91; Makor Chaim 630:1 [that his father’s Aron was made of the Sukkah walls]; Kav Hayashar 46; Kitzur SHU”A 199:1; Likkutei Sichos 4:1096; Nitei Gavriel 49:6; Custom by Rebbe, Rebbe Rayatz, Rebbe Rashab and Rebbe Maharash; See Ishkavta Derebbe p. 95 regarding the Rebbe Rashab; Sefer Hatoldos Rayatz 4:132 and Reshimos 5:4 regarding Rebbe Rayatz; Chikrei Minhagim 4:117 for a lengthy discussion on this subject and that so did the Rokeiach, Pachad Yitzchak, Chasam Sofer;

[296] The reason: This is done in order for the table to serve as a testimony of the persons Torah learning and good deeds. [Likkutei Sichos ibid]

[297] Gesher Hachaim 16:1; Nitei Gavriel 49:5

[298] Nitei Gavriel 49:13; By the funeral of the Rebbe Raytaz, the Kapata can be seen covering only part of the Aron.

[299] Minchas Elazar 4:61; Milameid Lehoil Y.D. 109; Yaskil Avdi 4:25; Minchas Yitzchak 1:31; Nitei Gavriel 49:8; See however Admur 526:6 [based on Michaber 526:4 and Rav Ashi in Shabbos 148b] regarding cutting a myrtle branch to place by the bed of the deceased in his honor. See also Yabia Omer Y.D. 3:22 that there is no real prohibition involved in doing so although it is best to be avoided; See also Michaber 350 for a number of actions that do not contain a prohibition of Darkei Emori

[300] See Taz 375:1 “Burying in a Kuch” which is a stone cave; Igros Moshe 3:142 “Cement is like earth, burying in cement is valid as ground is made of stones, one may likewise bury in a large stone that had a whole made inside of it.”; Perisha 362:8, brought in Shach 362:1, that the shards of earthenware placed on the body are similar to earth

[301] Igros Moshe ibid

[302] See Taz 375:1 “Burying in a Kuch” which is a stone cave

[303] See Kuntrus Komos of Rav Akselrud, Dayan in Haifa

[304] See Migdal Tzufim [Akselrod] 6:74

[305] Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 161 [unlike his previous Teshuvah 160]“Burying in a walled building does not fulfill the Mitzvah of burial”; Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:142-143 [unlike 3:144 where he permits] “It is a great prohibition to burry in over ground Kuchim called Mausoleums, as the burial must be within the actual ground and one who does so transgresses the Biblical command of burial…It is thus obvious that one is obligated to publicize this prohibition that no Jew may be buried in these buildings due to transgressing two grave prohibitions of a negative and positive command each and every day, in addition to the grave sin of causing pain to the souls of the dead”; Minchas Yitzchak 10:122 “There is no doubt that the burial must be within the ground, and not within material that was removed from the ground and then attached”; Divrei Yatziv Likkutim 133 p. 153; Rav Mashash and Rav Yisraeli in Chavas Binyamon 1:24 required that the Komot be fully covered with earth from all sides to be considered underground; Rav Elyashiv, printed in Piskeiy Tehsuvos Y.D. 64, ruled it is forbidden to change the traditional method of burial; Rav Wozner ruled that the Komot are seemingly contradictory to the simple Halachic requirement; Badatz Eida Hachariedis including the Raavad, Rav Moshe Shturnbuch; Rav Meir Bransdofer ruled it is not considered a burial and one who was buried in such a way is to be exhumed and reburied within the ground; Many Rabbanei America from previous generation, brought in Kuntrus Migdal Tzufim ibid

[306] The reason: As a) The burial must take place underground, within the natural earth, and building an over ground structure and covering it with earth does not suffice. Being that this burial is invalid, one who does so transgresses the positive and negative command to bury the body. [Igros Moshe ibid; Minchas Yitzchak ibid; See the Sugya of Tolshu Ulibasof Chibru and if this is considered part of the ground: Bava Basra 66b] b) Even if burying within a mound of earth over ground is valid, the grave must be surrounded by earth from all sides; c) Even if one were to hold that the burial ground is not required to be surrounded by earth on all sides, in some of the over ground burial structures, there is no earth at all, and it is a cement building. d) It delays the decomposition of the body, and thus delays the atonement of the soul. [Igros Moshe ibid] e) One should not change from the normal burial method used throughout all generations. [Rav Elyashiv ibid] f) Burying with a shelf of a wall is like the ways of the gentiles and transgresses Chukos Hagoyim. [Kol Bo-Greenwald]

[307] Implication of Michaber 364:1 “Kever Shel Binyan”; Implication of Rashi Sanhedrin 47b “It refers to a building used for graves which was built over ground”; Beis Yitzchak Y.D. 160-3 [unlike his next Teshuvah 161] that if one attached the earth to the ground, its valid; Igros Moshe 3:144 [unlike 3:142-143] based on Rashi Sanhedrin 47b “Since the building is made of stone and cement and is attached to the ground, seemingly it does not transgress the prohibition against delaying burial, although it is not considered a proper burial”; Rav Moshe Shaul Klein from the Beis Din of Rav Wozner ruled in 5764 in the name of Rav Wozner that the Komot burial is valid [Rav Wozner later retracted from his ruling in 5771]; Rav Yaakov Roza, head of the Chevra Kadisha

The reason: As they bury the body in actual earth or material which has the same Halachic status as earth, such as cement, and this earth is attached to the actual ground, and we rule that Talshu Ulibasof Chibru is viewed as attached.

[308] Michaber 362:2; Rambam Avel 4:5; Yerushalmi Kilayim 9:3; See Bava Basra 74a

Custom of Talmudic times: In Talmudic times, however, it was not uncommon for the bodies to be buried in a standing position. [See Mishneh Bava Basra 100b; 101a; Tosafus Bava Basra ibid; Toras Menachem 5749 3:140, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:256]

[309] The reason: It is considered a belittlement for the deceased to be buried in any other position, such as standing or sitting. [Shach 362:2]

[310] Chasam Sofer 332, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 362:2; Aruch Hashulchan 362:4; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 93:3

[311] So is understood from the Gemara in Bava Basra 102 that in the Kuchin [caves] they would bury in all directions.

[312] Sefer Hachaim, brought in Chasam Sofer ibid

[313] See Reshimos 5 [printed in Toras Menachem Tziyon p. 26] that the Rebbe Rayatz instructed his mother to be buried with her head to the west and feet to the east.

[314] These customs are based on the belief in the resurrection and that as soon as the bodies come to life they will walk straight ahead to leave the cemetery.

[315] Michaber 363:1; See Darkei Chesed 23; Pnei Baruch 40; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 chapter 94

[316] The reason: As unburying and reburying the body causes confusion to the soul, as they fear the day of judgment. The known term of “rest in peace” is disrupted when the body is unearthed. [Shach 363:1; Taz 363:1]

Unearthing a limb top bury with the body: It is permitted to unearth a limb of a body for the sake of burying it together with the body. [See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:3 in name of Rav Akiva Eiger]

[317] Michaber 363:3

[318] Michaber 363:1; See Igros Kodesh 22:131, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:260

[319] Shach 363:2 in name of Darkei Moshe

[320] Michaber ibid

[321] Kneses Yechezkal 43; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 331; See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:4-7 and footnote 4

[322] Maharsham 3:343; See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:5

[323] The reason: As a person desires to be buried near his ancestors [Michaber ibid] and this is done in his honor. [Shach 363:2]

[324] Maharam Eish Y.D. 121; See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:6

[325] Gesher Hachaim; Yabia Omer 6:31; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:20

[326] Michaber ibid; See Chasam Sofer Y.D. 334; Seridei Eish 2:100; See Igros Kodesh 17:333, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:259 where a dispute erupted regarding whether to move the deceased to Eretz Yisrael, and the Rebbe forwarded them to a Rav to answer. Nonetheless, the Rebbe’s leaning approach was to have him moved to Eretz Yisrael. See also Igros Kodesh 22:408, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:259, that the custom is to permit moving to Eretz Yisrael; See also Igros Kodesh 18:306 [The common denominator of all these answers of the Rebbe is that a) A Rav is to Pasken on whether it should be moved. b) It is permitted to do so, in face of a need.]

[327] So I received from various members of Chevra Kadisha; See Igros Kodesh 17:333, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:259, for a case where a Tnaiy was made to rebury in Eretz Yisrael

[328] See all three letters of Rebbe ibid

[329] Michaber ibid; See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:8-11 for various details of the Tnaiy

[330] Chasam Sofer 6:37; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:9

[331] Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:157

[332] Chacham Tzvi 106, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:1

[333] Michaber ibid; See Chasam Sofer 353; Pischeiy Teshuvah 403:1

[334] Poskim in Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:13

[335] Michaber 364:2-3; Shach 264:4

[336] Michaber 364:5

[337] Michaber 363:7; See Chochmas Adam 158:11; Kitzur SHU”A 199:12; Nitei Gavriel 76:20-23

[338] See Shivas Tziyion 64-66; Poskim in Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:7; Nitei Gavriel 76:23 footnote 42

[339] See Chacham Tzvi 47; Pischeiy Teshuvah 363:7; Shut Rav Akiva Eiger Tinyana 17; Nitei Gavriel 76:22

[340] Bechor Shur Sanhedrin 47; See Poskim in Rav Akiva Eiger 353

[341] See Michaber 403; Pnei Baruch 40

[342] Michaber 403:10

[343] Michaber 403:7

[344] Decomposition of a body can take anywhere from five to ten years until it becomes skeletal remains.

[345] Noda Beyehuda Y.D. 99; Maharam Shick 354; Gesher Hachaim 26; Rav Moshe Feinstein; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 94:8 and footnote 10

The reason: As after the passing of a year, there is not as much fear of judgment for the soul. [ibid]

[346] Michaber 403:6

[347] Michaber 403:7-8

[348] See Michaber 403:8

[349] Michaber 403:7

[350] Shach 403:1 in name of Perisha

The reason: As perhaps his father is not whole, and a Kohen may only be Mitame to relatives who are whole. [Shach ibid]

[351] Michaber 403:9

[352] Michaber ibid; Beis Hillel 403

[353] See Michaber 403; Pnei Baruch 40

[354] Shach 403:2

[355] See Har Tzevi Y.D. 296; Minchas Elazar 4:12; Gesher Hachaim 12; Chazon Ish 213:1; Pnei Baruch 40:5

[356] See Pnei Baruch 40:4 if we follow the start of the unearthing or the completion

[357] Chasam Sofer 355, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 403:2

[358] Michaber 403:1; See Pnei Baruch 40:4

[359] Shach 403:1

[360] Rama 403:1

[361] Chasam Sofer 353; Pischeiy Teshuvos 403:1; Noda Beyehuda Kama 88; Chazon Ish Y.D. 313; Pnei Baruch 40 footnote 2

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the relatives are not exempt from Mitzvos unless they are physically involved in the unearthing, transporting, or burial. [Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:161; Cheshev Haeifod 2:83; Chelkas Yaakov 2:46; See Pnei Baruch ibid]

[362] Michaber 403:2

[363] Michaber 403:3

[364] Rama 403:5

[365] Rama 403:5

[366] Pischeiy Teshuvah 403:1

[367] Maharid Y.D. 2; Nitei Gavriel 75:6; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 342

[368] Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 10

[369] Michaber Y.D. 365:1; O.C. 71:5; Admur 71:1; Braisa Brachos 14b

Must the gravedigger later Daven Tashlumin for the missed prayer? See Gilyon Maharsha 365; Chapter 3 Halacha 24B!

[370] The reason: As one who performs a Mitzvah is exempt from all other Mitzvos. [Shach 365:1]

[371] Admur ibid; Ran Sukkah 25a

[372] Admur ibid

[373] Admur ibid, parentheses in original

[374] Rama ibid

[375] Rivash 114

[376] The reason: In order so the Mazal of the sick person does not worsen. [Birkeiy Yosef 547:3; Yosef Ometz 92, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 547:15]

[377] Bach 339, bought in Shach 339:6; Mishneh Limelech Avel 4:5; Beir Heiytiv 339:3; Pischeiy Teshuvah 339:2

[378] Bach and Shach ibid

[379] Dudaeiy Sadeh 18; Nitei Gavriel 75:11

[380] Birkeiy Yosef 547:3; Yosef Ometz 92, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 547:15; Maharsham 4:150; Dudaeiy Sadeh 18

[381] See Michaber 548:11; M”B 548:24; Birkeiy Yosef 547:3; Yosef Ometz 92, brought in Shaar Hatziyon 547:15; Maharsham 4:150; Dudaeiy Sadeh 18

The reason: As the worry of preparing a grave while the person is still alive is only in a case that one intends to prepare it for a specific person. [ibid]

[382] So is evident from Poskim ibid in order so one’s Mazal not worsen; Perhaps however, this only applies by a sick person, while by the healthy, there is no issue if the grave will be covered, as explained next.

[383] Gesher Hachaim 27:7

[384] Rama ibid; Rabbeinu Yerucham in name of Rebbe Yehuda Hachassid; Tzavah of Rebbe Yehuda Hachassid 2, that if one does so, in a short while, one of the city residents will die; Kitzur SHU”A 199:13

[385] Shach 339:6; Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 339:5; Kitzur SHU”A 199:13; Ikarei Hadaat 11:13; Shivim Temarim on Rav Yehuda Hachassid ibid

[386] See Gesher Hachaim 27:7 “The custom is for those who purchase a grave in their lifetime, to dig it and then cover it, thus already forming the Ohel” He then states that some are accustomed to leave a candle in the hollow space, which is later removed to be lit during the Shiva. Cleary, he held that the covering does not have to be done with earth, but with any cover.

[387] Gesher Hachaim 27:7 that so is the custom of the Chevra Kadisha; Although it is possible that the warning of Rav Yehuda Hachassid only applies with regards to a grave dug for a specific individual, practically the custom is to fill up even these graves.

[388] Gesher Hachaim 27:7

[389] Yosef Ometz 92; Dudaei Sdaeh 30; Nitei Gavriel 75:14

[390] Minchas Elazar 3:13; Sdei Chemed Aveilus 168

[391] Ikarei Hadaat 11:13; Shivim Temarim on Rav Yehuda Hachassid ibid; Nitei Gavriel 75:16

[392] Leaning opinion of Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 339:5; Nitei Gavriel 75:15

[393] The reason: As this is considered a matter of danger, and it is permitted to ask a gentile to perform Melacha to save one from danger. [See Aruch Hashulchan ibid; O.C. 328] Vetzaruch Iyun, as according to this, even a Jew should be allowed to perform it.

[394] Michaber 364:3

[395] Shach 374:1

[396] Michaber 364:3; 374:2

[397] If, however, he was found in an area where people walk, then he is buried elsewhere. See Michaber ibid

[398] Shach 364:10 and Taz 364:2 in name of Rashal and that so rule Achronim

The reason: As a) the land is not owned by Jews and b) if he were to be buried in the open, or in the property of a gentile, there is worry that the gentiles or government would unearth it, and belittle the body. [Shach ibid]

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