Jews are blessed with many traditions and rituals that guide and enrich their daily lives. This is most evident by the way they mark life cycle events.
Some of the least understood and most important of the rituals are the ones followed when burying the dead. As with many Jewish traditions, they learn of this responsibility from the torah. They are told of the great lengths to which Abraham went to secure a proper burial place for Sarah, rejecting a gift of land and preferring to purchase it. They learn of Joseph’s wish to be buried in the Promised Land and of Joshua carrying out that wish. Finally, they read about the death of Moses and, from the account, believe it was the Divine who placed Moses in his grave.
In the Talmud, there are references to fulfilling the Mitzvah of burying their dead. The most well known is in tractate Shabbat which is recited each morning: “These are the deeds which yield fruit in the here and now and will continue to yield fruit in the life to come…we bury our dead.”
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