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When delaying burial honors the deceased: RBG and Jewish law

20 27 64
25.09.2020

Many Jewish friends have been commenting in social media about the decision to allow Justice Ginsburg to lie in repose at the Supreme Court and in state at the Capitol Rotunda. For many Jews, regardless of personal observance in other areas of Jewish practice, the customs and laws surrounding death and burial are particularly sacrosanct. For many I have seen commenting, it appears that Justice Ginsburg (or her family) are bowing to non-Jewish custom at a visible moment in her life story, and she could have chosen the much more common Jewish practice of the quickest burial possible. Funeral and mourning choices are extremely personal and really should be made by the family with their own religious guides or clergy. I offer this as a way to teach about some of the Jewish values surrounding the rituals that we see playing out in the public sphere.

The Torah is quite explicit about the need to bury a corpse as quickly as possible. This is found in Deuteronomy 21:23, “You must not let his corpse remain on the stake overnight, but must bury him the same day. For an impaled body is........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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