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Author Doron Kornbluth, who spent over three years studying the subject, talks about the reasons some people choose cremation, and explains why throughout history Judaism and Jews have insisted on burial.

Cremation or Burial?

Cremation or Burial?

A Jewish View

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Here’s the related article by Doron Kornbluth: Cremation or Burial?

Doron Kornbluth is a bestselling author of Why Be Jewish?, Raising Kids to LOVE Being Jewish, and the newly released Cremation or Burial? A Jewish View (all by Mosaica Press). A renowned international lecturer, Doron speaks in over 50 cities a year to all types of audiences, on many subjects. Doron is also an inspirational licensed Israeli Tour Guide who offers fascinating and inspirational tours to individuals, families and groups. For more information, visit his website or click here to purchase his latest book.
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Maurice H Bank Clovis, CA December 19, 2015

To follow-up on my question of not having one to say the Kaddish for you. What happens if your all alone, and no-one knows you died? Do you ask your local rabbi to check up on you every so often to make sure your still around? It scares me to know that I have no-one to say it for me after doing it for my abusive father for 11 months. Truthfully, if I knew then what I know now about him I would never have said it! Reply

Anonymous Canada December 10, 2015

What a lovely presentation. I also love to stroll through cemeteries. I feel at such peace when I am there although some people I know think it's odd or even morbid. You have answered many questions for me and I thank you for that. I believe you have swayed my choice to be buried when the time is right of course. I hope my children will follow my wishes. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org October 1, 2015

As you know, cremation is absolutely forbidden according to halacha. Therefore there is no shiva or kaddish for someone that is cremated, especially at the person's own request.

If the cremation has not yet happened, I encourage you to do everything you can stop it and work on getting your wife's friend an authentic Jewish burial. Even if she requested cremation while she lived, now that she has passed, her soul knows what is truly correct. A Rabbi may be able to help as well. Please let us know if you need help getting in touch with one. Reply

Anonymous South Africa September 30, 2015

My wife's very good friend passed away this morning after suffering from cancer. She left specific instruction with her sister that she be cremated, a wish her sister is going to fulfil. What is the Halacha as regards sitting Shiva and prayers? Reply

Eric Butlre Cleveland, Ohio September 28, 2015

Excellent presentation, thank you. I am an undertaker of nearly forty years; I am not Jewish. But, it has long been my desire to be buried as a Jew. Over my career I've helped families through dark times, but I've never failed to impress the importance of burial (whether cremated or not). You are most correct: the choice of what to do with the body is not merely "up to" that person. There is familial responsibility. You are most correct: cremation is (generally) less expensive, and I believe you and I see eye-to-eye in that value has little to do with money. You are most correct that families that choose traditional burial do not regret that choice. There are myriad reasons "to" opt for cremation, but the reasons not to far outweigh them. Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson July 16, 2015

I am sure that your local rabbi would say kaddish for you, I suggest you speak to him about that. Additionally, there are organizations which say kaddish for people who don't have whom to say it for them. You can find out more about that at this link, please feel free to contact us for assistance at any time. Reply

Maurice H Bank Clovis, CA July 15, 2015

All I know is I have no-one to say the Kaddish for me, and that worries me. I did say it for my father for 11 months, so I was told that will save my soul to. I hope so, and I hope the Almighty understands and says "he said Kaddish for his father for 11 months, so he gets a pass." Reply

Lezlie SAn Diego April 12, 2015

I have a new question...
What about donating our Organs - are we allowed? To me it's a great Mitzvah to help another live, in in fact possibly many others live a better life. And then if we are allowed - the body is then not all together obviously, so what about that? Reply

Lezlie(Yafah) Ely San Diego March 18, 2015

1st would love to hear the answer to Horace's question.
Great info and suggestion, however I have a different scenario: I am Jewish - my Husband is not, and so knows even less of all that needs to be done than I do. No Family to help as my immediate Family is on another Coast - so also - the likeliness of anyone visiting my Site is slim., esp. since my Husb. does not believe that is where we remember people.
If we follow the next day Burial rule, then no way my Family would be able to even get there for that - if they even could, depending on how old we all are! Then - the money is another added issue. And w/ that in mind - I am certainly not going to request being sent back to my home town where some Family is buried.
AND anyway - I would much prefer to get buried (ashes) where I want - not in some random plot somewhere. So as long as we are still getting buried/going back to the earth - what is the harm in that? Reply

Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar for Chabad.org March 17, 2015

This is why we have a Torah

Without the Torah, we're in the dark with so many moral dilemans We often have competing values and do not know which takes precedence. The Torah, however, serves as our manual. Coming from the the word OR, meaning light in Hebrew, Torah is like that flashlight that shows us where to turn in an otherwise dark world.

The very same author of Torah is also the author of creation. G-d understands these factors but nonetheless tells us that despite what may seem like a good reason to us, the correct place to be buried is the ground. This is important for both body and soul, good for us physically as well as spiritually.

The eteneral Torah is why we're still here as a people thousands of years later. And it continues to guide us... Reply

Lezlie Pollack Ely San Diego February 19, 2015

So here are my issues: 1st as far as taking up land - we already take up so much space as it is. You mentioned we have enough land for x amt. of people for burial for years, etc., but be honest - people are not going to be allowed to be buried just anywhere! Anyway - I am not as concerned w/people - who there will always be a place for no doubt (someone is always going to make their money by building more and more), as much as Animals that we have already pushed out, as we see them showing up often now in Residential areas.
Next - ashes to ashes - dust to dust - one goes just a bit quicker than the other, and since we reincarnate more than once, we should not be short on Bodies to go back to.
Lastly - we should not be kept in an Urn - we should go back to the Earth somehow, whether buried or scattered here and there - me I prefer over the Red Rocks of Sedona.

So some of those issues kind of negate what you had to say. I WILL give you the Environmental issue - - that IS important. Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA May 4, 2012

Can there still be a burial? Often, either they were not recovered (wars, bombs, fires, 911), or were unidentifiable. In that case, is there still a casket and everything? Reply

Doron Kornbluth (author) Chicago, Illinois May 4, 2012

thanks for comments. many are addressed in the article or the book.

a few thoughts:
resurrection is hard to understand. i addres it in the book but the gist is that physicality can become spiritual. of course G-d CAN do whatever He wants, but He specifically commanded against cremation and said if you do so, it won't happen...

re: science - talk with your local Chabad Rabbi. cremation is an absolute prohibition and the technology exists today that giving a body to science is largely unnecessary.

re: terror
YES we bury whatever body parts can be recovered. Zaka does this. gruseome but crucial.

thanks for posting Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA May 2, 2012

The people burned up in the 911 Towers. If a Jew is burned through terrorism, is there still a burial? Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA May 2, 2012

I hate the hot summers anyway. Why would I want to be roasted like a pig? Reply

Desiree L. Conrad Vancouver, BC May 1, 2012

I've really enjoyed this video by Doron Kornbluth and am a firm believer in burial. The last thing I want is to be cremated.
Reply

Karen Joyce Chaya Fradle Kleinman Bell Riverside, CA, USA May 1, 2012

I always wanted to be buried according to Jewish law. Reply

Rebekah Hollywood, Florida May 1, 2012

I am Jewish and a Licensed Mortician.This article is a good starting point to explain the Jewish requirements for burial. Cremation is 100% forbidden and EVERY Jewish neshama needs a Taharah and Shomer. Please write about those also. Reply

Horace El Paso, Tx April 29, 2012

Does it really matter if it takes a body ten thousand years to turn to dust and ash, or a few minutes? Can the G-d who created our bodies not resurrect them whole, as He promised He would? Reply

Steve Houston April 29, 2012

hard depressing subject yet he was funny clear and meaningful. wow Reply

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