2019 flip book website - Page 124

Whatever Happened to ‘Dust to Dust’?
You Can Still Find It in Traditional Jewish Burial
Jewish law and tradition is to
be buried in the ground. From
the earliest mention of death,
in the bible we are told that
Abraham buries Sarah. The other
patriarchs and matriarchs are
also chronicled in detail that care
was taken in their burial. It is
even mentioned as a command in
RABBI LEIBEL MILLER Deut. 21:23 “You shall surely
bury him”.
In the Jewish tradition, the Chevra Kadisha (holy burial
society) carefully and lovingly washes the body and
dresses the body in tachrichim, simple white burial
garments, as part of an age old and treasured method of
honoring the dead.
Jewish Traditions call for what today would be referred to
as a Green or natural burial. Throughout the centuries of
our history, and until today it still remains a relatively lowimpact form of disposition, by returning to the earth that
material part of the deceased, in the belief of allowing for
the spiritual part of the soul to return to its source. Adam,
means “man” or “mankind” usually in a collective context
as in humankind, was formed from the ground (Gen 2:7).
Thus it is told to bury in a word play between “Adam” and
“ground” (adama in Hebrew).
Though Jewish burial has a Jewish religious/traditional
basis, the environmental impact of burial has always been
one of the most green/eco-friendly of burials.
You might take solace in the fact that when you die,
your days of polluting the planet are over. But the
truth is that the method you choose to dispose of your
mortal remains has more of a deleterious impact on the
environment than you might think.
The embalming that has been standard for burials in the
United States for over a century causes about 800,000
gallons of formaldehyde-based embalming fluid to be
buried in U.S. cemeteries every year.
The more recent cremation trend which has the danger of
mercury and particulate emissions from crematoriums is
a concern. The process of a standard cremation in most
crematoriums require the burning of natural gas, and
therefore the release of greenhouse gases, as well as the
vaporization of other chemicals that may be present in the
cremated body, such as mercury used in amalgam dental
fillings, and dioxins and furans.
Our growing desire to be less ecologically harmful
when we die is inexorably linked to our craving for
more meaningful death care. Death – like birth – is a
momentous event, and it deserves rituals that resonate
deeply for us as humans. Connecting with the natural
cycles as we die or grieve the loss of a loved one helps
us heal by reminding us that we are ultimately part of an
incredible ecological system.
As a conscious, thoughtful society, we have a responsibility
to craft solutions that support a reconnection with the care
of our dying, encourage the acceptance of death as part of
the natural life cycle, and bring beauty and significance to
a most difficult time.
Genesis 3:19
cUJ™T r™p™g-k®t§u v™Tt r™p™g-h°F

Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were
taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”
Chevra Kadisha of Chabad Lubavitch
Sacred Jewish Burial Society
For more information or to help in this
“True Act Of Kindness”
Rabbi Leibel Miller - Director
24hr Hotline: (954) 456-4696 E-mail: chevrakadisha@Yahoo.com
Chevra Kadisha of Palm Beach County
Jewish Sacred Burial Society
Providing traditional Jewish preparation and ritual
at funeral homes in South Florida upon request.
For information on our services, or participation in
the mitzvah, call 561-703-1185.
A community-based Chevra est. 2003.
TRI-COUNTY 2019_93-136.indd 122

1/7/19 11:55 AM

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