Monday, February 13, 2006

You can't escape us .....

Better not plan on getting cremated in Israel:

Shahar Ilan, the intrepid religion reporter for the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz publishes the following:

Monopoly on Dead Bodies

(you'll have to scroll down, it's the second part of the article)


Last week, an old point of contention between the religious (and particularly the ultra-Orthodox) and the secular was rekindled, one that has been nearly forgotten in recent years: the war over dead bodies. The war included a relatively old subject, autopsies, and a new subject, cremation. On Tuesday, the struggle hit a new peak, with hundreds of Haredim protesting in the Mea She'arim neighborhood in Jerusalem and at the Forensic Medicine Institute in Abu Kabir. And on Monday, the Chief Rabbinate Council decided to adopt sanctions against persons who die and have instructed that their bodies be cremated. (emphasis mine)



Ahem. What kind of sanctions can these rabbis make against people who are already dead. Unless this Chief Rabbinate Council contains some really big kabbalists who can go to the World to Come.... :)

Reading the article, further, it seems that what the rabbis are going to do is deny a Jewish burial to anyone who has been cremeated. And they're not going to observe shiva or follow any of the other mourning customs.

I realize that cremation is against traditional halacha, but who are these rabbis to tell people who aren't their followers hot to mourn their dead? Why punish the family for the transgression of someone else? I thought one principle of Judaism is that people are only punished for their own sins. I understand that, in the case of suicide, at least, many (most?) Orthodox rabbis, while they will not allow burial in a Jewish cemetery, certainly allow the family to observe the mourning rituals.

2 Comments:

Blogger The Jewropean said...

Why does it punish the other people? Someone who gets cremated by his own choice has no chelek in olom haba and so he gets no shiva, al pi halacha. All the Chief Rabbinate is doing now is to reinforce application of halachic standards. And hey, if (in Israel) you're from a family that is religious enough to say kaddish, you wouldn't opt for a cremation either.

You should actually realize that in Israel, as opposed to the US, cremation is very uncommon. Also here in old Europe, for the goyim it isn't so common. For the Jews, Jewish graveyards (orthodox) do not accept cremation. The "Liberal Jews" (would be conservaform or so in the US) officially discourage it, not because of halacha, but because of cremation in the holocaust.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Conservative Apikoris said...

I am pointing out:

1) the rediculous nature of the rabbi attemping to punish dead people, and

2) There may be other halachic rulings about what the survovors can do with regard to mourning rituals, and

3) perhaps the deceased had different views on religous matters than the rest of his family. Yet they still might want to mourn. The shiva is for the benefit of the family, not the dead person. The rabbis are punishing the wrong people, and they are unable to punish the person who actually violated Jewish law (as they see it.) So the rabbis are not only arrogant, they are fools.

12:20 AM  

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