Burying A Mystery
Today on Tablet, Simon Yisrael Feuerman on Jewish burial
When a man who no relatives died and was left in a state morgue for months, Simon Yisrael Feuerman and his community provided him a Jewish burial.
A meis mitzvah is a corpse with no one to bury it. Woe is to the community that allows such a person to lie in disgrace. We have it on word from the rabbis of old that the soul is in “tormented unrest” until the body is in the ground. The Talmud further tells us that even the High Priest on his way to the Temple to bring the Passover sacrifice must defer his journey for the sake of a meis mitzvah. It feels impossible in today’s day and age for someone to die with no one to bury him.
It’s a really interesting look at Jewish law and its view of the dead. Check it out here.