Volume 21 Number 99
                       Produced: Mon Nov 13 23:29:15 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Delay before Burial
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
English Peace Song
         [Benyamin Buxbaum]
Observations about Rabin Funeral & Taharah
         [Malcolm Isaacs]
On Burial Customs, Song for Peace, Shalom Chaver, and Unity
         [Sam Gamoran]
Rabin's Funeral
         [Steve White]
Shir l'shalom
         [Aharon Manne]
Yitzchak Rabin's funeral
         [Jerrold Landau]


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Mon,  13 Nov 95 15:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Delay before Burial

> Does anybody know the kabbalastic reason that bodies must be buried that
>same day of death in Jerusalem?

I quote from Baba Kama 82b:
    Ten laws were said concerning Jerusalem.
    The tenth is: The dead are not left overnight in it (Jerusalem).

The reason given is "Gemara" which usually means that it is part of the
Oral Law.



From: <benyamin@...> (Benyamin Buxbaum)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 21:20:07 +0800
Subject: English Peace Song

 A good nomination for a 'Peace Song' in English is the song titled
'Unity' from the tape Kulanu B'Yachad (All Together) with Mordechai ben
David and friends.
 A friend happened to send me a copy just after the murder. It's a
lovely Jewish 'We are the World' type song, and very appropriate to our
situation.  I don't think one can quote all the lyrics under copyright
laws, but here's a few excerpts. Maybe someone can ask him to contribute

An envious brother Cain
Threw a blow so mad and chilling
Tragically, he never did recover.
It's really so insane
All our selfishness that's killing
That stranger who's our sister and our brother.

Listen brother, listen friend 
Just a little smile, a helping hand
And our hearts will find
A loving kind humanity
We must teach our children to
Treat your fellow friends like they were you
And then the world will find
Such peace of mind 
And unity.

.... Webs of self destruction we are weaving
If we don't even try
There's no hope for our tommorow...

....with peace and love across a world united.


From: Malcolm Isaacs <malcolm_isaacs@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 1995 14:12:07 GMT+0300
Subject: Re: Observations about Rabin Funeral & Taharah

> From: Dr. Howard M. Berlin <berlin@...>
> Of the observations pointed out by Mr. Hollander, we both noticed and
> commented on why wasn't the blood-stained paper buried also. 

Only post-mortem blood must be buried.  If the paper was stained with
blood before death occurred, it need not be buried.  Although I heard
that the paper was removed from the body post-mortem.  How can we be
sure that the blood didn't get there post-mortem...

> We also discussed if Rabin's clothing was buried with him and would he
> be dressed in trachrichim (mitznephet - head dress, michnasayim -
> trousers, k'notet - chemise, kittel, avnet - belt, tallit, and sovev - a
> sheet) or because he was shot, no washing or taharah be performed and
> the body placed in the casket without removing the clothes and wrapped
> in sovev.
> ...

Any parts of the body which became separated from the body after death
are buried with the body.  This includes hair which may fall out during
the tahara process, blood, etc.  Tahara should have been performed, and
the body dressed in tachrichim, and the clothes he was wearing placed in
the coffin.

Since the subject has been raised, I've a few additional observations:

1) The coffin was left outside for around 30 hours.  I was told that
this was so that people could pay their 'last respects', and that this
is the custom in Israel when a public figure of Rabin's standing passes
away.  Surely the last respect one can show to a Jew is to bury them as
soon as possible?

2) I'm sure I heard Rabins son say kaddish before the burial. I always
understood that Kaddish is only said after the burial (when the
relatives become 'aveilim' (mourners), rather than 'onanim' (people in
the period between hearing of the death and being able to bury the
body)? (Not including the special case where there are no availim in
shul on Shabbat, other than the onanim, in which case they can say

Malcolm Isaacs
Software Development Manager
Aisys Ltd - Tel: (972) 3-691 7937


From: Sam Gamoran <gamoran@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 08:19:22 +0000
Subject: On Burial Customs, Song for Peace, Shalom Chaver, and Unity

A number of m-j readers have asked about different burial customs in
Israel seen at the Rabin funeral e.g. flowers, which kaddish is said,
kel malei rachamim, etc.

One thing I learned since moving to Israel is that no aspect of Jewish
life has more variation in minjagim than funerals and aveilut.  In the
US, flowers are unheard of at a Jewish funeral and the stone is set
after a year.  In Israel, each community has its own customs.  The
Yemenites set the stone right after shiva, most other groups do it after
shloshim.  Flowers are less common at funerals for the observant
(someone pointed out that the money could better be given to charity in
memory of the deceased) but by no means unheard of.

Yitzchak Rabin was given a military funeral.  This means that all
aspects of the service were supervised by the Rabbanut Tzvait (Military
Rabbinate).  To question the preparations is to question the integrity
of the service for all fallen soldiers.  [Military funerals always use a
coffin because many of the deceased have been injured, unlike civilian
burial in Israel which rarely uses a box.  The temporary placard placed
on Rabin's grave is the "standard-issue" military marker (though it is
not often that the rank listed is "Brigadier-General")].

I don't know whether the bloody song-sheet of "Shir Hashalom" should
have been buried.  One can assume that the blood came from the injured
Rabin before he died (in the operating room at Ichilov hospital) and
therefore not subject to the rules of death.

Someone else questioned the propriety of the words of the Shir Hashalom.
Does talking about "not returning after death" == heresy of not
believing in the future Resurrection may the Mashiach come speedily in
our day?  I beleive that the words are sufficiently ambiguous that we
can interpret them as applying to "tikkun olam hazeh" preventing death
in this world without prejudicing belief in the world to come.

I was bothered by the sudden use of the phrase "shalom chaver" as taken
from President Clinton's speech last Saturday.  Was this the latest
import from American culture?

There is a common theme to all the above.  If one wants to, one can find
fault.  I feel that in this time of cheshbon nefesh (soul-searching) we
have an obligation to do just the opposite and interpret customs or
songs in as positive and broad a manner as possible so as to include all
Jews, secular or religious.  We have to do our utmost to look for ways
to live together.

I found comfort in the phrase "shalom chaver" when one of my neighbors
told me that Clinton could teach us all a lesson: we don't say ciou,
ahalan, so-long, etc.  We are supposed to part from one another with the
most Jewish greeting of peace: shalom.  And chaver isn't a bad way to
look upon one-another either.

Hamakom yinachem otanu b'toch avilei Zion v'Yerushalayim.

Sam Gamoran
Motorola Israel Ltd. Cellular Software Engineering (MILCSE)


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 16:48:08 -0500
Subject: Rabin's Funeral

In #86, Yitchak Hollander comments on Rabin's funeral:

>However, some details of the ceremony bothered me:
> a) The avelim (mourners) did not tear kriah (tear their clothing in a
>sign of mourning).

I think it's important to keep in mind that most mourning ritual is
customary.  If it is required by law, it is law based in custom, not
d'Oraita law.  I think that the time of the funeral is not the time to
force certain things on a family in mourning, especially if at best they
find the ritual meaningless, and at worst it might increase their
resentment of Torah and religious people (especially given that a
"religious" person killed Rabin).  (This type of outcome is one of the
many ripple of Chilul HaShem.)

I note that I could not get my parents to wear a kria ribbon -- forget a
real kria -- once they got home from the levaya, nor to sit Shiva for a
full week, in either of two cases where one of my grandparents died
while I was an adult.  They just felt they would be forced into a
meaningless ritual -- and given the light chitchat that happens in most
non-observant shiva houses, they may have been right.

> b) The blood soaked songsheet should have been buried along with the
>body.  If someone goes and hangs it up on a wall, there will be a
>problem for Kohanim.

Probably.  But of course that song sheet is a powerful icon, and (again
a ripple of the Chilul HaShem), if the family wants that sheet kept out
as an icon, I don't think the Rabbanut has the authority to do a damned
thing about it.  Query: if display of this sheet inhibits future
murders, is it pikuach nefesh to display it?  Then, if so, either
kohanim either need to stay away, or to seek a halachic reason that this
isn't a problem for them.

> c) Someone should have given Yuval Rabin a Kaddish sheet with nikkud
>(vowels) to enable him to recite the Kaddish properly.
> d) The wrong Kaddish was recited at graveside (a special Kaddish is
>said at graveside and at siyumim.)

Both right.  On the other hand, if Mr. Rabin couldn't recite even the
regular Kaddish correctly, at the graveside, how could he recite the
special one.

 [ e) omitted]

> f) Why was Kel Maley Rachamim recited twice? (after the eulogies and
>again at the graveside)

Why not?  Are there limits to the number of times we can pray for the
repose of a soul?

Which reminds me...does anyone know the Prime Minister z''l's full name
with patronymic so that we can say a Kel Maley for him?

Steve White


From: <manne@...> (Aharon Manne)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 95 10:13:20 PST
Subject: Shir l'shalom

Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund wrote on Wed, 08 Nov 1995
>-- The lyrics seem to be an openly questioning techiyas hamaysim and
>the efficacy of prayer. ...
>            I worry very much for the future of Eretz Yisroel and all
>Yiddim with the rise in such sentiments.

These sentiments have been with us for over a long time, and we had
better get used to the idea.  Most Jews in the world have serious doubts
about techiyas hamaysim and the efficacy of prayer.  This is not to say
that we should join them in those doubts, but we still have the
responsibility to love them as Jews, despite their doubts.  Any attempt
to argue with them out of anger will inevitably fail, and will only
breed more anger, resentment, and misunderstanding.

Last night on Israeli Television, Ehud Manor compared the newly renamed
Yitschak Rabin Square to a synagogue, and the ceremony and singing last
night to a prayer service.  We have a choice: we can tell Ehud Manor and
those for whom he spoke that this is not a valid synagogue or prayer
service according to halakha.  Alternatively, we can thank G-d that the
words "tefilla" and "beit k'nesset" are still part of Yaron London's
vocabulary, and believe that all those people singing Shir L'Shalom with
tears in their eyes last night were singing from the same "pintele yid"
from which we say "Sim Shalom".  Maybe we could talk for a few more days
about what we - right, left, religious, secular, here, there - have in

The incredible "chillul HaShem" committed by Yig'al Amir cannot be
undone.  But we had better start finding our way to a real "kiddush
HaShem".  And it has to be done together with the people who sang "Shir
l'Shalom" last night.


From: <landau@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 95 09:18:11 EST
Subject: Yitzchak Rabin's funeral

A poster has asked some questions about the observances at Yitzchak Rabin's
funeral.  With regard to 'Kel Maleh Rachamim' being recited twice, once at
the funeral service, and once at the graveside, I have seen this done in
quite a few Orthodox funerals here in Canada.  The 'Kel Male' is recited at
the funeral service at the chapel, and then again at the graveside.  There
is no 'bracha' associated with 'Kel Male',  although it does invoke G-d's
name in a request to have mercy on the soul of the departed.  A repetition
of this prayer seems to pose no halachic problem.
With regard to the Kaddish, it was strange that Kaddish was recited twice,
again once at the service and once at the graveside.  It is generally
customary for Kaddish to be recited only at the graveside.  I did notice that
the Kaddish at the service was preceded with some pesukim of Tehillim, which
does make a Kaddish 'legitimate' at this point.  It was  strange that
the longer 'burial Kaddish' was not recited at the graveside.  I am not sure
as to why it was not said, although, it has no bearing on the halachic
validity of a funeral service.
The biggest halachic question raised by the poster was the question about
the blood stained songsheet.  However, Rabin did not die immediately upon
being shot, he died in the hospital some time later.  It is most likely that
his jacket, with the songsheet was removed during the administration of
first aid, sometime before he died.  Thus, the blood on the songsheet would
not be considered the blood that came out at the time that he died, and thus
would not require burial with the body.  I am not sure how long a time
elapsed between his being shot and his death, and I am also not sure about
all the halachic parameters here.  Perhaps if death occurs an hour or so
after being wounded, the burial of the blood of the would would be required,
but I am not sure -- perhaps someone could englighten.  The halachic issue
is not that obvious here.
In any case, since the body was buried in a shroud and not in a coffin, and
the details of the burial were not visible from close up on television,
perhaps the songsheet was placed in the grave before it was filled with
earth.  I don't think that we can be sure.
With regard to 'keria' the tearing of the garments, there are several
customs.  Some do it at the time of death, others do it at the funeral
service, and still others do it privately just before the funeral service.
Just because we did not see it on TV does not mean that it was not done.

The main point here is that I don't think that we have a right to question
the halachic validity of the customs surrounding Rabin's funeral.  The
tahara and funeral would have been under the auspices of the chief
Rabbinate, and the chief Rabbis were both present at the funeral.  We must
assume that all aspects of Rabin's funeral were performed according to
halacha.  Let us 'dan lekaf zechut' (give the benefit of the doubt) in
this case.

Jerrold Landau


End of Volume 21 Issue 99