This Week on Bayit’s Builders Blog

The Death of Aaron, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or a follower

I’m delighted to have contributed this week’s teaching to Bayit’s Builders Blog series that explores Torah through a lens of building and civic responsibility. Reading this week’s Torah portion, I found myself captivated by Numbers, Chapter 20. In my reflection for the blog, I returned to a topic I’d written about in November, Jewish burial practices:

Hukkat-Balak: Who Is Responsible for Burying the Dead?

The custom of family members burying their loved ones is deeply ingrained in Jewish tradition. When the casket (or bier) is lowered during the burial service, the mourners themselves are responsible for covering it, minimally with one layer of dirt. This act is considered a fulfillment of the commandment of k’vod ha-met, honoring the deceased, by returning the body to the earth. Typically, at the conclusion of the service, the mourners leave and the cemetery staff completes the task of filling the grave. This particular obligation has been on my mind in the month of June. . . Read more