Death And Mourning In Judaism

Judaism values life greatly and yet does not consider death as a big calamity as it believes in an afterlife. Nevertheless, it involves mourning practices to show respect to the deceased and comfort the bereaved.

This religion originated in the Hebrew Bible. There are three large groups, denominations, or Jewish religious movements. They are: Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, and Reform Judaism.

The Jews treat their dead with respect. They light candles next to the body of the deceased and do not leave it alone at any time, until the body is buried.

Thus, a Shomer stays with the departed person while a family member or a Chevra Kaddisha member recites psalms.

Generally, Judaism discourages autopsies but it may allow the procedure (should be minimally intrusive) if absolutely necessary or required by law.

The Jews regard the process as desecration of the body. Judaism forbids suicide and does not approve of active euthanasia, too.

Furthermore, Jews believe in simple yet significant funeral practices adhering to the Jewish tradition. Judaism requires burying the deceased as soon as possible because until the proper burial, the soul remains in turmoil.

In addition, it considers holding an open casket viewing as disrespectful for the deceased and thus, forbids this ceremony. When the body is prepared for burial, it is washed with warm water and dressed in white burial shrouds.

You can get detailed information on traditional Jewish customs concerning death and mourning at www.aish.com.

Moreover, at the Chevra Kadisha Mortuary website, you shall find details on Jewish laws and customs of mourning.

On a deeper level, according to Judaism, the soul is theocentric, that is centered around G-d because the soul originates from Him and finally returns to Him. They have a firm faith that life and death are a part of G-d’s plan.

Jewish Quotes and Proverbs About Life and Death

“Whoever enjoys his life is doing the Creator’s will.”

“The only truly dead are those who have been forgotten.”

“When you have no choice, mobilize the spirit of courage.”

“The dust returns to earth, as it was, and the spirit returns to God, who gave it!”
Ecclesiastes 12:7

“You are to remember everything of the way in which Adonai led you these forty years in the desert, humbling and testing you in order to know what was in your heart — whether you would obey his mitzvot or not.”
Deuteronomy 8:2

“A Psalm of David. the Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
Psalm 23:1-6