The First Jewish Burial

This week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, relates the details of the first Jewish burial, that of our Matriarch, Sarah. I felt that it would be appropriate to address the subject of burial and the treatment of the body in this week’s essay. The human body is the vehicle that God has given the soul in order to fulfill its task of perfection in the physical world. The body and the soul ...

Read More

When the Wind Blows, The Kippah Will Fall

Washington Heights, where I teach regularly, is an extremely windy location.  My bobby pin is greatly challenged holding my yarmulke onto my, fairly short, hair.  Holding my yarmulke on, picking it up and chasing it down Amsterdam Avenue, has made me think about it a little more.  The word yarmulke, is made up of two Aramaic words, “yarei” and “malka,” which mean “fear of the King.” This name expresses one ...

Read More

The First Jewish Burial

In our Parsha, Chayei Sarah, Abraham buries his wife Sarah in what was the very first Jewish burial. Why do we bury the body? In Tibet bodies are left out to be eaten by birds; in many societies bodies are cremated. Why does Jewish law insist on burial? The answer lies in our attitude to the body and soul.  The human body is the vehicle that God has given the ...

Read More