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Aug 20, 2020

Interesting Psak: adding shrouds to a Corona grave

One of the unfortunate situations during CoronaVirus, among the many, was the burial of CoronaVirus victims. Due to safety concerns authorities often required burial of people who died of CoronaVirus to be "as is" - as they were when they died, meaning in the clothes they died in, among other restrictions.

This type of burial is unfavorable for Jews, as we bury in shrouds (aka tachrichin) and not in clothes, and we want everyone to be buried exactly the same way. Obviously health and safety come first, so what had to be done in this difficult situation was done.

The question recently arose if after the fact, now that much time has passed and the virus possibly on the dead body will have died as well, should the grave be opened and shrouds placed in the grave or on the body. Perhaps placing the shrouds in the grave, even without dressing the body in them, is good for the soul of the deceased, or perhaps opening the grave is itself such a serious disturbance that we should just let it be? 

Some families raised the question to the chevra kadisha, and the chevra kadisha representatives asked the question to Rav Shammai Hakohen Gross for instruction.

Rav Shammai Gross paskened that the grave should be opened but not completely. It should be dug up until nearly reaching the body of the deceased, and the shrouds should be placed there. According to Rav Gross, there is benefit to the deceased with the shrouds close even though they are not actually on the body. For burials abroad, the shrouds should be placed on top of the casket, while in Israel the shrouds should be placed on the stones above the body, beneath all the dirt.
source: Hamechadesh

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1 comment:

  1. Why would a Kohen be asked such a shaila? I don't know who he is, but this would be way outside a Kohen's area of expertise


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