“You Shall Love Your Neighbor As Yourself” (Leviticus 19:18)
Jewish funeral traditions demand that we honor and respect our loved one in death as we have in life. Tahara is the ritual process and purification of the deceased / mate, treating with kindness, washing then dressing and readying the deceased / mate for the burial / levya. Modesty is preserved throughout this process.
Those who are honored to perform this task are part of the Chevrah Kadisha, the Holy Society, whose purpose is to ensure that the deceased/mate is treated with the utmost kavod (respect).
Tachrim / The shroud is the ritual burial garment. Traditionally, it is a simple and white. It is a symbol of innocence, purity and simplicity. The deceased / mate is humbly, not distinguished by personal clothing, wealth or material possessions. We do not adorn the deceased / mate with jewelry either. Sometimes we bury a man with his tallit, with one of the fringes / tzitzits removed. The mystics claim that this soothes the soul of the departed to help him realize that he is no longer bound to his obligations.
The Jewish casket is to be simple, plain and unadorned, manufactured of all wood, without nails or metal parts. The all wood casket / aron permits the body to return to dust, as stated in Genesis (3:19).
This simple casket / aron communicates that we are all equal in death.
Our desire to be respectful to the deceased / mate continues with the ritual of The Shomer / Watcher. From the moment of death until the time of the funeral, we do not allow the deceased / mate to be alone. We have a Shomer / Watcher, often arranged by the funeral home or the Chevra Kadisha, to be present reciting tillum / psalms of prayers.
The Shomer is there to help the soul N'Shuma move forward. The bereaved derive comfort knowing their loved one is not alone.
Kriyah is the Hebrew word for rending or tearing. This is an outward symbol of our inner grief, which defies words. It is a tradition that connects us back to the time of Jacob, who when learning of the loss of his son Joseph, rends his clothing (Genesis 37:34). Likewise, King David tore his clothing in grief upon hearing of the death of his sons, Jonathan and Saul (II Samuel 1:11).
Tradition has us rend our clothing or a piece of black ribbon that we affix to our clothing.
Providing Funeral Services to the Jewish Community of South Florida
Kronish Funeral Services proudly serves the Jewish community of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including the cities of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach, Palm City, Stuart, and the surrounding areas.
Our staff is available 24 x 7 to help you with all your funeral needs.