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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Chayei Sarah (November 15, 2014)
by Chaplain Rita Sherman

AND SO BEGAN the Jewish way of mourning, in which we both honor the life and grieve the loss of our beloved dead.

First, as Abraham proceeds to do in our portion, we bury our dead in a suitable spot. We reverently wash the body, so recently full of life, wrap it in linen, put it in a plain wood box, a box that will decompose as the body will, both returning to the dust from whence Torah tells us we came. In our practice, we shovel dirt into the grave, the reality of the loss hitting home with the sound of the dirt hitting the coffin.

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