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What is the basic purification process (?Taharah?) performed on a body before burial?
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Askmoses scholars are carefully selected to bring the best of Jewish knowledge to you. Each scholar studied Judaism, Jewish History, Jewish Culture and is a recognized communicator and teacher in his or her community. Many are world-class authors and lecturers as well as practicing rabbis. The scholars live all over the world and express their knowledge to you from their point of view, 24/6. Get to know our scholars by reading their backgrounds.

Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

Rabbi Silberberg, a native of Detroit, Michigan, is a renowned scholar known for his sharp wit and vast Talmudic knowledge.

He resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife Chaya Mushka and their three children.

Articles by this author:

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Can someone with a tattoo receive a Jewish burial?

While Jewish Law forbids permanent tattoos, and that's clear in the Torah -- having one does not disqualify a Jew from being buried among his/her people. You should be aware however, that various burial societies may have their own qualifications as to whom they would allow to be buried in their burial plots. But...

What's wrong with cremation?

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...

On which date is a Yahrtzeit observed?

The Yahrtzeit is always observed on the dates of the  Jewish calendar . ( Click here for an online secular-Jewish date-of-Yahrtzeit converter.) If the burial occurred on the same day as the death or on the next day, the Yahrtzeit is always observed on the actual date of the passing. If the deceased was...

Is euthanasia allowed under any circumstances?

Answer: Euthanasia is forbidden (see Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, ch. 339 for more details). The soul of a Jew is pure G-dliness. The fact that a spark of G-dliness manifests itself in this physical world, in a physical body, is truly amazing. Every Jew is, by his/her very existence a beacon of G-dly light on...

Why do Chassidim celebrate their Rebbes' Yahrtzeits?

When a righteous person passes away, it certainly is a tremendous loss for his/her followers and disciples. But the soul of the tzaddik (righteous person) is actualizing its life-long dream -- reuniting with G-d. For this reason, the Yahrtzeit of a tzaddik is called a "hilulah," which literally means a...

Why does a corpse have to be buried on the day of his passing?

The mitzvah of burying the dead without delay is mentioned in the Torah (Deuteronomy 21:23): "His body shall not remain for the night on the gallows, rather you shall surely bury him on that day." The exception to this rule is if delaying the funeral will add to the honor of the deceased. A competent rabbi must be...

Why do we wash our hands upon leaving a cemetery?

There is a spirit of impurity present in cemeteries, and washing of the hands rids us of this spirit. The powers of impurity are parasitic, for they only can receive their life-force and energy from the remnants of holiness which they can access. That's why they congregate wherever there once was life and...

May a terminally ill person be removed from life-support?

According to halachah, heroic (or not such heroic) medical treatment may be withheld from a patient if it has been determined that the patient will not recover, and will remain drastically, physically or mentally incapacitated. It is forbidden, however, to remove a patient from life support unless he/she is dead...

What should I do when I visit my brother's gravesite?

Actually, there are specific prayers that are said when visiting a gravesite. The Funeral and Cemetery Handbook , available at, contains all the prayers recited at funerals, unveilings, and cemetery visits.

Why do people pray at the gravesite of holy people?

Praying at the gravesite of a righteous person can help a person physically as well as spiritually. Our sages tell us 1  the reason why Caleb was successful in remaining faithful to Moses when all the other spies (who were originally spiritual people) failed, was because he went to pray for assistance by...

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