Shalom Children of G-d!
Welcome back to Marie Speaks G-d’s Grace Bible Study.
This week’s Jewish terminology word is: hevrah kadishah
With a heavy heart we will do our best to review this weeks definition of hevrah kadishah (HEV-rah kah-DEE-shah). This word for the week was choosen at random. I was going to ask the children in the home class to chose another word. With the terrible and violate attacks at the Jerusalem synagogue recently and the other hate filled senseless murders that happened this past week; it didn’t seem right. But, then I felt a leading… almost like… someone asking me, “what about the other deaths that did not make the news? What about the value of life and to live as G-D has commanded?”
Are all these troubles in the world because we as humans have forgotten the value of life and to live for G-D? Have we forgotten our duty to our creator and fellow man?
“HaShem SAVE! May the King answer us on the day that we call!”
This is a heavy topic for children, but we geared our discussion towards the value of life and responsibility to live as G-D has commanded.
Please forgive me, but this Jewish terminology word of the week in my opinion speaks about a duty to our fellows to honor and a duty to honor G-D, The Holy One Blessed be He, who has made and fashioned with His own beautiful hands. …….. life and to live.
G-D showed us from the very beginning how valuable we all are to Him and to the His other creations. We have a duty to G-D and is other creations to do good.
And then with love our G-D gave the first man His breath to become a living soul.
And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis chapter 2 verse 7
G-D, Himself gave us a life…. and then gave us a duty to do something with this life…
And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of ῾Eden to till it and to keep it. Genesis chapter 2 verse 15
Then G-D shows us through the honorable actions and conduct of our patriarchs (peace be upon them), how the duty to ones fellow or family is not completed even when death is near or occurs
In Genesis chapter 49 verse 28 thru chapter 50 verse 15 we read about the duty of a family facing the conclusion of a wonderful life of one of our patriarchs, Jacob.
All these were the tribes of Israel, twelve in number, and this is what their father said to them as he bade them farewell, addressing to each a parting word appropriate to him.
Then he instructed them, saying to them, “I am about to be gathered to my kin. Bury me with my ancestors in the cave which is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
the cave which is in the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, in the land of Canaan, the field that Abraham bought from Ephron the Hittite for a burial site—
there Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried; there Isaac and his wife Rebekah were buried; and there I buried Leah—
the field and the cave in it, bought from the Hittites.”
When Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his kin.
Joseph flung himself upon his father’s face and wept over him and kissed him.
Then Joseph ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Israel.
It required forty days, for such is the full period of embalming. The Egyptians bewailed him seventy days;
and when the wailing period was over, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s court, saying, “Do me this favor, and lay this appeal before Pharaoh:
‘My father made me swear, saying, “I am about to die. Be sure to bury me in the grave which I made ready for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now, therefore, let me go up and bury my father; then I shall return.’”
And Pharaoh said, “Go up and bury your father, as he made you promise on oath.”
So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the officials of Pharaoh, the senior members of his court, and all of Egypt’s dignitaries,
together with all of Joseph’s household, his brothers, and his father’s household; only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the region of Goshen.
Chariots, too, and horsemen went up with him; it was a very large troop.
When they came to Goren ha-Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they held there a very great and solemn lamentation; and he observed a mourning period of seven days for his father.
And when the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at Goren ha-Atad, they said, “This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians.” That is why it was named Abel-mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan.
Thus his sons did for him as he had instructed them.
His sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, the field near Mamre, which Abraham had bought for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite.
After burying his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
The Duty does not end after we bury a loved one…. we have a duty to honor their memory by living a G-D fearing life…..
Honor your father and your mother, as your God יהוה has commanded you, that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that your God יהוה is assigning to you. Devarim chapter 5 verse 16.
This weeks Jewish terminology word: hevrah kadishah, in my opinion speaks to this duty…. of honoring G-D, His other creations, and our fellow human beings……and to recognize the value of all life cycles, forms, and afters.
How has this world gotten to a place so far from what HaShem originally intended?
The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words by Joyce Eisenberg, and Ellen Scolnic, 2001 copyright 1st edition; define our Jewish terminology word of the week?
The definition reads:
This is a Hebrew word that literally means, “holy society”. The hevrah kadishah is a holy society of lay people who prepared a deceased body for burial according to Jewish law.
In ancient times, members of the society were honored volunteers. Although these societies still exist and function in some Jewish communities, it is more likely that the preparation and purification of the body (tohorah) will be done by an employee of a Jewish funeral home.
The preparing of a body is a sacred duty spoken about in the Torah and Tanakh, although the finer details of the duty for this holy society can be found in rabbinical law.
A key point of this the process, called tahara (purification), involves the ritual cleaning of the corpse, by men for males and by women for females.
What is a brief description of tahara?
Before the body is buried, it is washed in a ritual act of purification called tahara . Just as a baby is washed and enters the world clean and pure, so do we leave the world cleansed by the religious act of tahara.
The cleansing is performed by the funeral director and staff, or the ritual of tahara may be carried out by the chevra kadisha (“holy society”). The chevra kadisha is a group of specially trained Jews who care for the body and prepare it for burial. Strict procedures are followed, which include the recitation of prayers and psalms. Men handle male bodies and women prepare female bodies; modesty is preserved even in death.
In traditional Jewish practice the deceased is not left alone from the time of death until burial. This ritual act of shemirah (“watching,” “guarding”) is performed as a sign of respect to the deceased. A shomer (“watcher”) may be hired to perform this service [or it may be assigned to friends and congregants].
After the body is cleansed, it is dressed in shrouds (in Hebrew, tachrichim). The shrouds are simple and plain and made of white cotton or linen. Some people are buried in their typical daily dress. Men are buried with a tallit [prayer shawl] over the shroud or suit. Women are sometimes buried in a tallit if it was their practice to wear one when praying. One of the fringes of the tallit is cut to show that it will no longer be used.My Jewish Learning article
Duty to honor.
Jewish Traditions Around Death
The article referenced closes with a beautiful passage I would love to share with everyone. The full article is hyper linked for those who would like to read further.
At the conclusion of the burial, the head of the chevra kadisha said, “in a loud voice, that the dead should hear, and the living: ‘Mordecai ben Menahem, all that we have done is for your honor. And if we have not done our task properly, we beg your forgiveness.’”
I believe we as humans have forgotten our duty to live and to life.
In, forgetting ones duty to life, sadly we have let what is the most valuable gift from our creator HaShem Blessed be He…..gave us… be deemed an inconvenience, burden, missed used, abused, toss away so recklessly.
In forgetting the duty and value of life… many have their life and the life of others v the highest bidder or promise of fame.
How sad that is?
… So many put what suits them or makes their life comfortable before duty each and every day!
… Maybe this is why HaShem said and offered the following to everyone…knowing full well not many would say “yes…..everything…. we will do and obey. “
I Pray we all remember our duty and the value of life and to life…….. for it is written (with commentary to explain):
The Almighty spoke all these commandments, as follows:
“I, the Merciful Eternal, am also your Almighty, as you have witnessed when I brought you forth from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Therefore you must acknowledge the sovereignty of the Almighty as your Benefactor and Redeemer.
You shall not possess any gods besides Me, not even such as are made by someone else.
You shall not make for yourselves, for the purpose of worship, any sculpture, nor any image of anything that is in heaven above, such as angels and heavenly bodies, or of anything that is in the water beneath the earth, such as the bottom of the ocean and what dwells there.
You shall not worship them, nor offer sacrifice to them: for I, the Eternal, your Almighty, am an Almighty Who retaliates, but I also take in consideration the evil influence of the sins of the fathers upon the children even to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,
and show kindness indefinitely to those who influence their children to love Me and to keep My commandments.
You shall not swear by the name of the Eternal your Almighty in vain, to affirm that which is evident, and in particular the Eternal will not leave any one unpunished who swears falsely by His Name.
Always remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy through prayer and benediction.
Six days shall you labor in the fields, and do all your work for your physical well-being,
but the seventh day must be set aside as a Sabbath to the Eternal, your Almighty. On that day you shall not do, nor produce any work, not you, the adults, nor your minor son, nor your minor daughter, nor your man-servant, or maidservant, whether they be Israelites or not, nor your cattle; nor the alien who resides within the borders of your state.
For in six days the Eternal made heaven and earth and sea, and all that is in them, and he desisted on the seventh day. Therefore the Eternal declared the Sabbath day as blessed, and hallowed it above the other days.
After the duty to your Creator, you owe a duty to your parents. Therefore honor your father and your mother, by giving them respect, obedience and love, both while they are alive and after their death, and your reward will be that you will live long on the earth which the Eternal your Almighty gave you, as well as in the world to come.
The Eternal has created man in His image. Therefore you shall not destroy His handiwork bv murdering a human being. There shall be no illicit relations between the sexes. Therefore you shall not profane the sacred covenant of marriage. You shall not steal, cheat, embezzle, forge, or deceive. You shall not accept an offer to be a false witness against your fellowman, nor slander, defame, nor misrepresent.
Do not act upon your impulse to covet your fellow-man’s house, do not set your heart upon your fellow-man’s wife, nor on his man-servant, nor on his maid-servant, on his ox, on his donkey, or upon anything which belongs to your fellow-man.”
I love how much Our G-D cares for us….if only we would truly…. value our duty.
“how beautiful our portion..how pleasant our lot”
This weeks word was selected at random from my personally owned The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic 2001 copyright 1st edition.
I’m not paid to endorse nor affiliated. This book is from my personal library. I purchased this book from Thriftbooks.com you can get your own personal low price copy using the link below.
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