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Should a Kohen attend a funeral?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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


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The Kohen may not enter a funeral chapel or approach within four cubits (approximately seven feet) of a coffin, but this does not mean that he should not attend funerals. Accompanying the deceased on their final journey is a great Mitzvah—one which a Kohen certainly should not forgo.  Most Jewish funeral homes have loudspeakers outside so that the Kohanim can listen to the eulogies and follow along with the service. Some funeral homes even have a separate entrance and a “Kohanim Room” which is not connected to the chapel or the area where the bodies are held. At the conclusion of the funeral service, the Kohen should stand at a distance and follow the coffin and/or hearse, thus participating in the special mitzvah of accompanying the dead.

Accompanying the deceased on their final journey is a great mitzvah—one which a Kohen certainly should not forgo

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Jewish Identity » Kohains and Levites » The Holy Tribe

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Kohanim
Plural form of Kohain. Priests of G-d. This title belongs to the male descendants of Aaron, brother of Moses. The primary function of the Kohain was to serve in the Holy Temple. Today the Kohain is still revered and it is his function to recite the Priestly Blessings on certain occasions.