Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Shemirah of a body


We do not leave a body alone between death and burial, to the extent possible. This is for the practical purpose of guarding the body from desecration, as well as to reassure the soul, which is somewhat present, that we have not abandoned it. This practice of remaining with the body is called shemirah.

One who is staying with a body before burial is exempt from the Torah's obligations, such as reciting Shma each morning and evening, but not its prohibitions, such as keeping kosher.

If there are two people with the body then they should take turns fulfilling their obligations and staying with the body.

(Code of Jewish Law Yoreh Deah 341:6)

Have a good day,

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