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Jewish Practice And Belief Essay

915 words - 4 pages

Life is of paramount importance to the Jewish people and the preservation of life is even more so. Because of this one might assume that death is has negative connotations. This is not the case as Jewish people view death as a part of life and a part of God’s plan. The following is an overview of the practices regarding the preparation and mourning period in Jewish belief.
When a Jew dies the body is placed upon the floor surrounded by candles and their eyes are closed. The body is never left alone as a sign of respect. Those who stay with the body are called shomerim (guards). Eating, drinking, or performing mitzvot (613 Commandments) are forbidden near the body, as such actions would mock ...view middle of the document...

" (Genesis 3:19). Following on with the preparation of the body it also must not be cremated. This belief stems from the above "for dust you are and to dust you will return."Finally the body must be buried in the earth if a coffin is used holes must be used as to allow the soil to reach the person.
Jewish law requires that a tombstone be prepared, so that the deceased will not be forgotten and the grave will not be destroyed. It is customary in some communities to keep the tombstone veiled, or to delay in putting it up, until the end of the 12-month mourning period. The idea underlying this custom is that the dead will not be forgotten when he is being mourned every day.
Finally the period of mourning would consist of the following each with decreasing intensity. When a close relative first hears of the death of a relative, it is traditional to express the initial grief by tearing one's clothing. The tear is made over the heart if the deceased is a parent, or over the right side of the chest for other relatives. This tearing of the clothing is referred to as keriyah. The tearing is expression of pain and sorrow over the passing. Torah law encourages such expressions as part of the mourning process.
After the burial, a close relative, near neighbour or friend prepares the first meal for the mourners, the se'udat havra'ah (meal of condolence). This meal traditionally consists of eggs and bread. This meal is for the family only. After this time, condolence calls are permitted. The eggs in this meal are believed to be a symbol of life and allow the community and/or...

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