• Once death seems imminent, one should not leave the person alone, and those remaining should recite Psalms and pray for the recovery of the person.

  • One should try to ensure that the person's spouse and children are present at the moment of passing. However, only those who can contain their grief should be in the room.

  • If possible, there should be a minyan (quorum of ten Jewish males over age thirteen) at the bedside to recite Psalms. It is praiseworthy if the men present immersed in a mikvah (ritual bath) that day. If the presence of a Minyan will frighten the person (for it may indicate to him that death is imminent), the people should stand off to the side or by the door.

  • Those in the room should be careful not to wail or cry loudly. This causes the person who is leaving the world great pain and discomfort and prolongs his ordeal.

  • It is customary not to stand at the foot or at the head of the bed during the person's passing.

  • Before the person enters the throes of death, one should make sure that the person's limbs are not extended or hanging off of the bed. If they are, they should be moved back.

  • Some kindle candles in the room, and place one candle near (but not too close to) the head of the bed.

  • One may converse with the person if he expresses the desire. It is preferable to discuss Torah thoughts so that his soul departs while involved in holy matters.

  • Once the person has entered the actual throes of death, it is forbidden to move or touch him, as this may hasten his death; in the eyes of Jewish law, it is considered like shedding blood. The exceptions are providing life-saving intervention or water for the person to drink.

  • According to the Torah, a Kohen (descendants of Aaron, the high-priest) is not permitted to come in contact with a deceased body. This means that a Kohen cannot be within six feet of where a deceased person may lie; the Kohen may also not be under the same roof as the deceased.

For the Kohen, this Biblical prohibition is as serious as the laws forbidding eating unkosher food and violating the Shabbat. Thus a Kohen may not be present at the time of passing. If no one would be present otherwise, he should arrange for someone else to be there.

However, for his father, mother, wife (as long as he was permitted to marry her according to Jewish law), son, daughter, brother [including half-brother from his father's side], sister who is not married [including half-sister from the father's side], it becomes a mitzva for him to make himself ritually impure by his attendance.