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What is the Jewish View on Cremation?

What is the Jewish View on Cremation?



What is the Jewish view on cremation?


Cremation has always been looked upon with horror by every sector of Jewish thought. The body is sacred, because it is the "temple of the soul" and because it is the medium by which we do goodness in this world.

Belief in the resurrection of the dead is counted by Maimonides as the thirteenth of the Thirteen Principles of the Faith. There is no rabbinic authority who does not consider this to be a fundamental belief. The Mishnah declares denial of this principle to be heresy. The reason is quite apparent: As Jews, we believe there is purpose to life, purpose to this world, purpose to the act of Creation. Therefore, anything that is used towards that purpose has a permanence -- and a sanctity.

Six million of our people were denied proper burial, most of them cremated. Should we willfully continue that which our enemies began?

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription.
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Discussion (101)
March 27, 2014
Are you all putting limitations on God? I believe that God didn't set these man set these rules. It's like getting lost àt sea and is that consider a proper burial? What if the body is never found and you place a empty casket in the ground will God not find that soul to except into his arms? God has no limitations.
September 29, 2013
ashes burial
Can the ashes of a cremated Jew be buried in a Jewish cemetery (in a coffin)?
Harvey Hindin
Dix Hills, New York 11746
June 4, 2012
Maybe someone answered this, but...
I didn't read it. Please explain what to do when a Jewish person dies in a fire and is cremated by accident, such as what happened in 911. Is there still a burial? What if the person could not be identified or found?
Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell
Riverside, CA, USA
November 30, 2011
Re: What if you can't afford?
Barbara, you need to speak with your rabbi about this. Every Jewish community has a society to take care of burial of those who cannot afford--and they are supposed to do it in a discrete manner so that no one realizes or is embarrassed.

If you don't know which rabbi to turn to, please contact us through our "ask the rabbi" feature, and we'll do all we can to get you in contact with the right person.

Every Jewish body is precious to the entire Jewish People. Precious and holy, for all the mitzvahs it has done, and for the holy soul it has housed.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
November 27, 2011
creamation of a jewish woman
What if you can't afford to be buried and don't want to burden your children with the thought of not having enough money to cover the cost of burial.
barbara haywood
muskegon, mi
October 27, 2011
At Stephen Weinstein
You say all that matters is that it does not say smoke. But while it does not say you should cremate, it also does not say you shouldn't be cremated. But even if the body does become mostly smoke, and even if that smoke remains in the atmosphere for a while before finally coming back down to earth (gravity!) it will eventually become part of the earth again. Perhaps even faster than if a person was buried, especially in a coffin, as it wouldn't take the body as long to break down and become part of the earth again. We would all become part of the earth sooner or later, cremated or buried. So what is the problem with cremation?
October 24, 2010
Ball in my court
In the case of a house fire or drowning in the ocean- we have no choice...
We do have a choice otherwise.... may it be God's way...
Michael Dineen
Ridgefield, WA/USA
October 23, 2010
Yada, yada
Mary, Oregon is indeed beautiful. I've spent many a day at Multnomah falls. I got to spend some time behind the falls before the area wasw put off limits.
What about someone who is burned in a house or drowns in the depths of an ocean? I feel that I've exhausted this topic and I'm through talking about it. I hope you all have a wonderful week and a heart filled with joy.
Beverly Kurtin
Hurst , TX
October 12, 2010
To Michael Dineen
Thank you for your post. Yes, it is always best to follow GOD. BTW, I live in Oregon. Beautiful area we live in, eh? Bless you.
Mary Beth Johnson
October 11, 2010
B'reishit Chap. 2:7 -- G-d made Adam out of adamah = dust
Michael N Dineen
Ridgefield, WA/USA
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