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What's wrong with cremation?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Life Cycle » Death » Burial/Cemetery | Subscribe | What is RSS?


One of our Thirteen Principles of Faith is that there will be a resurrection of the dead. Someone who willingly requests to be cremated is essentially rejecting this principle.

Concerning such a person the Mishnah says (Sanhedrin 10:1): "All Jews have a portion in the world-to-come . . But these do not have a portion in the world-to-come: one who says, 'Resurrection of the dead is not from the Torah'..."

It is, however, possible for a descendant of the deceased to give charity and do Mitzvot for the benefit of his/her ancestor and thus can gain atonement for the soul of the departed. Even if this condition is not met, the soul (which is divine and eternal) will come back for the Messianic Era but will have to be clothed in a different body.

TAGS: cremation


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Posted by: Anthony Maione, Melbourne, Vic, Australia on Apr 29, 2006

I don't seem to understand. Humans were created by g-d from the dust-"2:7 Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Shouldn't man be brought back to the state which he was created (to dust)

Editor's Comment

Yes, man should return to dust (through natural decomposition), not ashes.


Posted by: Anonymous on Aug 18, 2006

What about when a person dies in a house/building/car fire? Or at sea?

Editor's Comment

The article is clear that only one who "willingly requests to be cremated is essentially rejecting this principle."
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
The Jewish Supreme Court. The court would convene in a designated chamber in the Holy Temple, and was comprised of 71 of the greatest scholars of the time. Continued after the destruction of the Temples, but was dissolved in the 5th century when due to Roman persecution the seat of Torah scholarship relocated from Israel to Babylon.
First written rendition of the Oral Law which G-d spoke to Moses. Rabbi Judah the Prince compiled the Mishna in the 2nd century lest the Oral law be forgotten due to the hardships of the Jewish exiles.