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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Burying The Dead

Jewish Law, Halacha, is very different from the standard American, Christian, western. For Jews growing up out of Israel, in the galut, diaspora, it's sometimes hard to realize that local Jews have adopted many non-Jewish customs.

I guess it sounds peculiar, and can be misread, for me to say that I love the funerals in Shiloh. Of course, I hate the deaths, but I do value the way our funerals are conducted. We have our own local burial society, Chevra Kadisha, and everything is conducted according to Jewish Law.

The graves are prepared by local Jews, and the body, wrapped in a shroud, is gently placed in the grave and then buried. People, generally the men, take turns shoveling the dirt back into the hole and onto the dead.

The physical, kinesthetic act helps with the very necessary "closure." By being part of the earth, the dead returns to G-d.

HaMakom Y'Nachem, May G-d Comfort the Mourners...

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