Rabbi – I looked at your website, and I think it’s nice, but I have a question, and I hope you can help me. My grandmother who was and is very dear to me just passed away. Where is her soul? Where does the soul go?

– Andrew Feldman, Manalapan, NJ

Firstly, please accept my condolences on your recent loss. I sincerely hope that you and your family will find comfort, and that the noble soul of your grandmother will enter its eternal resting place in peace.

 Your question is quite poignant; Read the rest of this entry »

Can I pay someone to say Kaddish or study Mishnah for my aunt and uncle or is it only allowed for parents?

By all means; generating merit is not limited to parents. It is not even limited to relatives. Opportunities abound to benefit the soul of basically anyone that the performer or sponsor of the deed desires.

 

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What is Judaism’s understanding of cremation?

Jack Sanders, Sacramento, California

Jewish Law does take a strict view with regards to cremation. Regular internment in the ground is considered the honorable and beneficial method of laying the departed to rest, and is the fulfillment of a positive Biblical commandment (a ‘mitzvah’). As such, it would be most unfortunate to deprive the deceased of this procedure by subjecting the body to cremation. Read the rest of this entry »

Why do mourners need to recite Kaddish? What is the difference between Kaddish and Kiddush?

Charles Friedman, Boca Raton, Florida

Kiddush and Kaddish are two separate prayers, recited on different occasions, and serve different functions. But they do have a common denominator. Read the rest of this entry »

Can you explain what “shivah” means?

Joyce P. Smiles, Indianapolis, Indiana

Shivah” refers to the first stage of mourning following the loss of a close relative.  Read the rest of this entry »