1

It is a custom of respect to make garments of white linen for shrouds.1 They should be made nicely to indicate our belief in the resurrection of the dead, for Rav Chiya bar Yosef said, "The righteous will arise with their garments on them."2 However they should not be too elaborate, for that is forbidden. One should not make the shrouds with a hem, or a knot of any sort, either when sewing the shrouds or when dressing the deceased with them. A man should be buried in a tallis with tzitzis [fringes], but one [of the four tzitzis] should be invalidated. The better procedure however is to insert one of the tzitzis in a corner pocket of the tallis when the body is in the grave. If he had a beautiful tallis3 in which he prayed during his lifetime, it is not proper to exchange it after his death with a tallis that is not as beautiful, for a person is desirous of being buried in the tallis in which he prayed during his lifetime.4 When dressing the deceased, they should think: "Just as his body is being clothed, so may his soul be attired in spiritial garments in Gan Eiden."

א

נוֹהֲגִין לְהַדֵּר אַחַר בִּגְדֵי פִשְׁתָּן לְבָנִים לְתַכְרִיכִין, וְיִהְיוּ נָאִים, לְסִימָן שֶׁמּוֹדִים בִּתְחִיַת הַמֵּתִים, דְּאָמַר רַב חִיָא בַּר יוֹסֵף, עֲתִידִין הַצַּדִּיקִים שֶׁיַעַמְדוּ בִּלְבוּשֵׁיהֶן. אֲבָל לֹא יִהְיוּ חֲשׁוּבִים יוֹתֵר מִדַּי, כִי זֶה אָסוּר. אֵין לַעֲשׂוֹת בַּתַּכְרִיכִין לֹא אִמְרָא וְלֹא שׁוּם קֶשֶׁר, הֵן בְּחוּטִין שֶׁתּוֹפְרִין בָּהֶם, הֵן בִּלְבִישָׁה. קוֹבְרִין אֶת הָאִישׁ בְּטַלִית שֶׁיֶשׁ בָּהּ צִיצִית, אַךְ פּוֹסְלִין אֶחָת. וְהַיוֹתֵר נָכוֹן, שֶׁכְּשֶׁמֻנָּח בַּקֶּבֶר, אָז יַכְנִיסוּ צִיצָה בְּתוֹךְ הַכָּנָף. אִם הָיְתָה לוֹ טַלִּית נָאֶה שֶׁהִתְפַּלֵּל בָּהּ בְּחַיָיו, אֵינוֹ רָאוּי לְהַחֲלִיפָהּ לְאַחַר מוֹתוֹ בְּטַלִּית אַחֶרֶת שֶׁאֵינָהּ נָאֶה, כִּי נְיָחָ לוֹ לָאָדָם לְהִקָּבֵר בַּטַּלִית שֶׁהִתְפַּלֵּל בָּהּ בְּחַיָיו. כְּשֶׁמַּלְבִּישִׁין אֶת הַמֵּת, יְכַוְּנוּ שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁהֵם מַלְבִּישִׁים אֶת הַגּוּף, כָּךְ תִּתְלַבֵּשׁ נִשְׁמָתוֹ בְּמַלְבּוּשִׁים רוּחָנִיִים בְּגַן עֵדֶן.

2

The purification of the body is done in this manner: His entire body and head is washed with warm water. He should be thoroughly cleansed between his fingers and toes, as well as all other parts of his body. His head should be shampooed, his hair should be combed and trimmed, and his finger and toe nails should be cut (it is not the custom to do so in our countries). Care should be taken not to place the deceased with his face downwards as that is disrespectful, rather he should be inclined on one side, and then on the other side. After he is thoroughly cleansed, we pour nine kavvim of water over him. This is done in the following manner: The deceased is placed in a standing position on the ground, or on straw, and the water is poured on his head, so that it runs down his entire body.

ב

סֵדֶר הַטָּהֳרָה, מַרְחִיצִין בְּמַיִם חַמִּים כָּל גּוּפוֹ וְרֹאשׁוֹ, וּמְנַקִּין אוֹתוֹ הֵיטֵב בֵּין אֶצְבְּעוֹת יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו וּבְכָל מָקוֹם, וְחוֹפְפִין אֶת רֹאשׁוֹ, וְסוֹרְקִין וְגוֹזְזִין שַׂעֲרוֹת רֹאשׁוֹ, וְנוֹטְלִין צִפָּרְנֵי יָדָיו וְרַגְלָיו (וּבִמְדִינָתֵנוּ אֵין נוֹהֲגִין זֹאת). וּצְרִיכִין לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא יַהַפְכוּ אֶת הַמֵּת עַל פָּנָיו, שֶׁהוּא דֶרֶךְ בִּזָּיוֹן, אֶלָּא יַטּוּ עָלָיו תִּשְׁעָה קַבִּין מַיִם, דְהַיְנוּ שֶׁמַּעֲמִידִין אֶת הַמֵּת עַל הַקַּרְקַע אוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי קַשׁ וְשׁוֹפְכִין הַמַּיִם עַל רֹאשׁוֹ שֶׁיֵרְדו עַל כָּל גּוּפוֹ.

3

Regarding the capacity of nine kavvim,5 there are diverse opinions (It is best to take about twenty four quarts, one liter according to the Polish measurements.) It is not necessary that all the water be contained in one vessel; but even two or three vessels can be combined to make up nine kavvim. It is however necessary that the second vessel be poured before the first is emptied, and the third one be poured before the second is emptied. Even when pouring from one vessel, the flow must not be interrupted. However, four vessels, even if they are poured simultaneously, cannot be combined.

ג

שִעוּר תִּשְׁעָה קַבִּין יֶשׁ בּוֹ מַחֲלֹקֶת. (וְיֵשׁ לִקַּח לְעֵרֶךְ עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה קְווָארְט פּוֹילִישׁ). וְאֵין צְרִיכִין שֶׁיִהְיוּ כֻלָם בְּכְלִי אֶחָד דַּוְקָא, אֶלָּא גַּם מִשֵּׁנֵי כֵלִים אוֹ מִשְׁלשָׁה, מִצְטָרְפִין, רַק שֶׁהַשֵּׁנִי יַתְחִיל לִצּוֹק בְּעוֹד שֶׁלֹּא הִפְסִיק הָרִאשׁוֹן, וְכֵן הַשְּׁלִישִׁי בְּעוֹד שֶׁלֹּא הִפְסִיק הַשֵּׁנִי. וְגַם אִם מְעָרֶה מִּכְּלִי אֶחָד, לֹא יַפְסִיק הַקִּלּוּחַ. וּמִתּוֹךְ אַרְבָּעָה כֵלִים, אֲפִלּוּ שׁוֹפְכִין בְּפַעַם אַחַת, אֵין מִצְטָרְפִין.

4

Afterwards, an egg is beaten with wine. The egg is beaten together with its shell, to symbolize that fortune is like a revolving wheel in the world. (Where wine is not available water may be used.) The head of the deceased is washed with this mixture. The custom in some places that each one takes a little of the mixture and sprinkles it upon the deceased is improper, and the custom should be abolished because it resembles the customs of the gentiles. Rather it should be used only to wash his head.

ד

אַחַר כָּךְ טוֹרְפִין בֵּיצָה עִם יַיִן בְּיַחַד, וְטוֹרְפִין הַבֵּיצָה בִּקְלִפָּתָהּ, לְרַמֵּז שֶׁגַּלְגַּל הוּא שֶׁחוֹזֵר בָּעוֹלָם, (וּבְמָקוֹם שֶׁאֵין יַיִן מָצוּי, לוֹקְחִין מַיִם) וּמַרְחִיצִין בּוֹ רֹאשׁוֹ. וּמַה שֶּׁנּוֹהֲגִין בְּאֵיזֶה מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁכָּל אֶחָד לוֹקֵחַ מְעַט וּמַזֶה עַל הַמֵּת, אֵין זֶה נָכוֹן, וְיֵשׁ לְבַטֵּל מִנְהָג זֶה, כִּי דוֹמֶה לְחֻקּוֹת הָעַמִּים, אֶלָּא יִרְחֲצוּ בוֹ רֹאשׁוֹ.

5

Care should be taken that the fingers of the deceased do not remain closed. The custom in some places to close his fingers, should be abolished. The belief of those who say that by doing so, they symbolize sacred names, is a mere fabrication. Similarly the custom of placing twigs in his hand generally called forks, is a foolish custom.6 If they insist on placing them, they should be put alongside the deceased.

ה

צְרִיכִין לְהַשְׁגִיחַ שֶׁלֹּא יִקְמֹץ הַמֵּת אֶצְבְּעוֹת יָדָיו. וּמַה שֶׁבִּקְּצָת מְקוֹמוֹת נוֹהֲגִין לִקְמֹץ אֶת הָאֶצְבָּעוֹת, יֵשׁ לְבַטֵל מִנְהָג זֶה. וּמַה שֶׁקְּצָת אוֹמְרִים, שֶׁמְּרַמְּזִים בָּזֶה שֵׁמוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים, דָבָר בָּדוּי הוּא. גַּם מַה שֶׁנּוֹתְנִין בְּיָדוֹ שַׁרְבִיטִין שֶׁקּוֹרִין גֶּעפְּלִיךְ, מִנְהָג שְׁטוּת הוּא. וְאִם רוֹצִים דַּוְקָא לָתֵת אוֹתָן, יַנִּיחוּם אֶצְלוֹ.

6

After the deceased has been cleansed he should not be left in the place where the purification took place, but should be placed opposite the door inside the house. One should not turn over the board upon which the deceased has been washed, for it may be dangerous to do so.

ו

לְאַחַר שֶׁטִּהֲרוּ אֶת הַמֵּת, לֹא יַנִּיחוּ אוֹתוֹ בְּאוֹתוֹ מָקוֹם שֶׁטִּהֲרוּהוּ, אֶלָּא יַשְּׁכִּיבוּהוּ כְּנֶגֶד הַפֶּתַח, לִפְנִים מִן הַבָּיִת. וְאֵין מְהַפְּכִין אֶת הַדָּף שֶׁטִּהֲרוּהוּ עָלָיו, כִּי יֵשׁ סַכָּנָה בַדָּבָר.

7

A parent should not kiss his dead children, as it is very dangerous. All the more so, one should not grasp the hand of the deceased and say that he should take him along.

ז

לֹא יְנַשֵּׁק אָדָם יְלָדָיו שֶׁמֵּתוּ, כִּי הִיא סַכָּנָה גְדוֹלָה. וּמִכָּל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁלֹּא יֹאחַז בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁל מֵת וְיֹאמַר שֶׁיּוֹלִיכֵהוּ עִמּוֹ.

8

When the deceased is being taken from the house, care must be exercised that no one should walk out ahead of him. The pallbearers, however, who must exit the house first, in order to carry him out, need not be concerned about this.

ח

כְּשֶׁמּוֹצִיאִין אֶת הַמֵּת מִן הַבַּיִת, יֵשׁ לִזָּהֵר שֶׁלֹּא יֵצֵא אָדָם רִאשׁוֹן. אַךְ הַמִּתְעַסְּקִים שֶׁצְּרִיכִין לֵילֵךְ רִאשׁוֹן מִן הַבַּיִת כְּדֵי לְנָשְׂאוֹ, אֵין קְפֵּידָא.

9

If a person collapses and dies instantly, if his body was injured, and blood flowed from the wound, and there is reason to fear that perhaps his lifeblood was absorbed in his clothes and his shoes, he should not be ritually cleansed, but he should be buried in his clothing and his shoes. Over his clothing, he should be wrapped in a sheet. The sheet is called soveir, (wrapping). It is customary to scoop up the earth from the spot where he fell, if any blood is there. The earth nearby that spot should also be dug up, and he should be buried with all the earth that contains blood. Only the clothing he wore when he fell should be buried with him, but if the blood splashed on other garments that he was not wearing at that time, or if he was placed upon pillows and cushions while still bleeding, these need not be buried but should be thoroughly washed until no trace of blood remains. The water is then poured into his grave. If he did not bleed, his clothing should be removed, his body ritually cleansed, and dressed in shrouds as is done in cases of natural death. Likewise, the clothing of a person who drowned in water should be removed, and he should be treated as one who died a natural death. In some places, it is customary to bury those who drowned with the clothing in which they were found. Where this is the custom it should be upheld.

ט

מִי שֶׁנָפַל מֵאֵלָיו וּמֵת מִיָד, אִם יֵשׁ פְּצָעִים בְּגוּפוֹ וְיָצָא מִמֶּנוּ דָם, וְאִם כֵּן יֵש לָחוּשׁ שֶׁמָּא נִבְלַע דַּם הַנֶּפֶשׁ בִּבְגָדָיו וּבְמִנְעָלָיו, לָכֵן אֵין מְטַהֲרִין אוֹתוֹ, אֶלָּא קוֹבְרִין אוֹתוֹ בִּבְגָדָיו וּבְמִנְעָלָיו, רַק לְמַעְלָה מִבְּגָדָיו כּוֹרְכִין אוֹתוֹ בְסָדִין שֶׁקּוֹרִין סוֹבֵב. וְנוֹהֲגִין לַחְפֹּר בַּקַּרְקַע שֶׁנָּפַל שָׁם אִם יֵשׁ שָׁם דָּם, וְכֵן בְּקָרוֹב לוֹ, וְקוֹבְרִין עִמּוֹ אֶת כָּל הֶעָפָר שֶׁיֶשׁ בּוֹ דָם. וְדַוְקָא בְּגָדָיו שֶׁהָיָה לָבוּש בָּהֶם, קוֹבְרִין עִמּוֹ. אֲבָל אִם נִתַּז מִן הַדָּם עַל שְׁאָר בְּגָדִים שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְלֻבָּשׁ בָּהֶם, וְכֵן אִם הִנִּיחוּהוּ עַל כָּרִים וּכְסָתוֹת וַעֲדַיִן הַדָּם יוֹצֵא, אֵינָן צְרִיכִין קְבוּרָה, אֶלָּא יְכַבְּסוּם הֵיטֵב עַד שֶׁלֹּא יִשָּׁאֵר בָּהֶם רֹשֶׁם דָּם, וְהַמַּיִם יִשְׁפְּכוּ לְתוֹךְ קִבְרוֹ. אִם לֹא יָצָא מִמֶּנוּ דָם, פּוֹשְׁטִין בְּגָדָיו, וּמְטַהֲרִין אוֹתוֹ, וּמַלְבִּישִׁין אוֹתוֹ תַכְרִיכִין כִּשְׁאָר מֵתִים. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁנִטְּבַּע בַּיָּם, פּוֹשְׁטִין בְּגָדָיו, וְדִינוֹ כִּשְׁאָר מֵתִים. וְיֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁנּוֹהֲגִין לִקְבֹּר גַּם הַנִּטְבָּעִים בְּבִגְדֵיהֶם שֶׁנִּמְצְאוּ בָהֶם, וְהֵיכָא דְנָהוּג, נָהוּג.

10

Even if blood issued from his body but it stopped, and his clothes were removed, after which he lived for a few days and died, his body must be ritually cleansed and dressed in shrouds. Even though his body is stained from the blood which issued from him, he still must be cleansed, because we are not concerned [about washing off the blood] that issued when he was alive. We are concerned only about the blood which issued from him while he was dying because it may have been his lifeblood, or that his lifeblood was mixed with it.

י

אֲפִלּוּ יָצָא מִמֶּנוּ דָם, אֶלָּא שֶׁכְּבָר פָּסַק, וּפָשְׁטוּ אֶת בְּגָדָיו, וְחַי אַחֲרֵי זֶה אֵיזֶה יָמִים, וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת, מְטַהֲרִין אוֹתוֹ, וְעוֹשִׂין לוֹ תַכְרִיכִין. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מְלֻכְלָךְ מִדָם שֶׁיָצָא מִמֶּנּוּ, אֲפִלּוּ הָכִי מְטַהֲרִין אוֹתוֹ, כִּי אֵין לָחוּשׁ לְדָם שֶׁיָצָא מִמֶּנּוּ בַחַיִּים, אֶלָּא לְדָם שֶׁיָצָא מִמֶּנוּ בִשְׁעַת מִיתָה, חָיְשֵׁינָן שֶׁמָּא הוּא דַם הַנֶּפֶשׁ, אוֹ שֶׁמָּא נִתְעָרֵב בּוֹ דַּם הַנָּפֶשׁ.

11

If a woman dies while giving birth, we apply to her the same law as that of a slain person, and if it is known that she had lost a great deal of blood, she is not to be cleansed. If the flow of blood had ceased and she died later, in which case there is no doubt about lifeblood, she should be treated as any other person who died naturally. In many communities, it is the custom to cleanse the body of any woman who dies at childbirth. There are many other customs pertaining to a woman who dies at childbirth; where they prevail they should be observed.

יא

יוֹלֶדֶת שֶׁמֵּתָה מֵחֲמַת לֵדָה, דִּינָה כְּהָרוּג, שֶׁאִם יָדוּעַ שֶׁיָצְאוּ מִמֶּנָּה דָּמִים מְרֻבִּים, אֵין מְטַהֲרִין אוֹתָהּ. אֲבָל אִם כְּבָר כָּלוּ הַדָּמִים לָצֵאת, וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵתָה, שֶׁאֵין לְהִסְתַּפֵּק בְּדַם הַנֶּפֶשׁ, עוֹשִׂין לָהּ כְּמוֹ לִשְׁאָר מֵתִים. וּבְהַרְבֵּה קְהִלּוֹת נוֹהֲגִין לְטַהֵר כָּל יוֹלֶדֶת, וְעוֹד יֵשׁ אֵיזֶה מִנְהָגִים בְּיוֹלֶדֶת, וְהֵיכָא דְנָהוּג, נָהוּג.

12

One who is murdered by a non-Jew, even if he did not bleed at all, for example if he was strangled to death, he should be buried as he was found, in order to arouse wrath against the killer.

יב

הַנֶּהֱרָג עַל יְדֵי גוֹיִם, אֲפִלּוּ לֹא יָצָא מִמֶּנּוּ דָם כְּלָל, כְּגוֹן שֶׁנֶּחֱנַק, קוֹבְרִין אוֹתוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּמְצָא, כְּדֵי לְהַעֲלוֹת חֵמָה.

13

The deceased, whether gentile or Jew, and his shrouds, are forbidden to be used for any benefit. Also ornaments of the dead that are attached to his body, such as a wig that is tied to, or woven into his hair, are forbidden to be used for any benefit. Also, if he has an artificial tooth, it should be buried with him, but ornaments that are not attached to the body are permitted. Also ornaments that are not considered of the body, such as jewelry and clothing, may be used in any event.

יג

מֵת, בֵּין גּוֹי בֵּין יִשְֹרָאֵל, וְתַכְרִיכָיו, אֲסוּרִין בַּהֲנָאָה. וְכֵן נוֹיֵי הַמֵּת הַמְחֻבָּרִים לְגוּפּוֹ, כְּגוֹן פֵּאָה נָכְרִית שֶׁהִיא קְשׁוּרָה אוֹ קְלוּעָה בְּתוֹךְ שַׂעֲרוֹתָיו, אֲסוּרִין בַּהֲנָאָה. וְכֵן אִם הָיְתָה לוֹ שֵׁן תּוֹתֶבֶת, תִּקָּבֵר עִמּוֹ. אֲבָל נוֹי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְחֻבָּר לְגוּפוֹ, מֻתָּר. וְכֵן נוֹי שֶׁאֵינוֹ כְּעֵין גוּפוֹ, כְּגוֹן הַתַּכְשִׁיטִין וְהַבְּגָדִים, מֻתָּרִים בְּכָל עִנְיָן.