Judaism Death and Mourning Rituals

Judaism Death and Mourning Rituals

  • Submitted By: cnelson
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:30 PM
  • Category: Religion
  • Words: 1439
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 2

The Jewish religious tradition has certain ways by which it deals with death and mourning. By following set rituals and codes of behavior, an individual or individuals are helped to cope with the death of a loved one, as well as slowly introducing the mourners back into normal society. As they turn to faith and religion in times such as these, meaning is often obtained and people feel a sense of comfort and solace.

The Jewish religious tradition asserts that for a person to be considered a mourner, they must have one of the following relationships with the deceased: parent, child, sibling or spouse. Throughout the period between the death and the funeral (Anninut), each individual who fits into this group of mourners is called an `Anen', and they are exempt from the majority of obligations that are normally to be carried out. Any person or persons, who have a relationship with the deceased outside those previously stated, are not considered an Anen. During Anninut, the deceased is looked after by the Chevra Kadisha (holy society) who ensures that the body is not touched before proceeding to the cemetery. Before the funeral, a Jewish member of society volunteers to wash the body (Tahara). This is seen as a very honorable doing, as it is the last possible selfless act that can be done for a person before he/she returns to his/her ultimate creator, God. The deceased is placed in a plain wooden casket, dressed in Takhrikhin (simple white burial garments). The same type of casket is used for everyone, as the Jewish religious tradition holds that every man is created equal and henceforth every man should be sent back to God on equal terms.

The funeral should take place within twenty-four hours from the time of the deceased's passing. If there is a problem however and a mourner is unable to attend the funeral so soon after the death, the funeral is often held up until he/she is present. At the funeral, a rabbi recites a special...

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