Burning Issue — The Revised Version

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10 Responses

  1. Yehoshua Friedman says:

    The Sages say that the person who denies the Resurrection of the Dead receives the treatment of “midda k’neged midda” (measure for measure) and therefore does not receive a portion in the World to Come. In the same way it is poetic justice that the atheist who is so dead certain of the lack of enduring importance of his body will not benefit from the enduring of his soul either. Another point is that many of these people may have abused their bodies while they were alive as well. The urge to “destroy the evidence” is similar to the person who performs an abortion or causes one to be performed. I don’t like the inevitable results of my actions, so like a child who has made a mess, I clumsily try to destroy the evidence. But the All-Seeing One isn’t fooled.

  2. Micha Berger says:

    From a pragmatic perspective: I can’t say this is nearly as central as a Torah prohibition, but the argument is often more effective.

    It boggles my mind that a Jew living less than 100 years after Auschwitz can hear the word “cremation” and respond with anything but shock, revulsion, and pain. That anyone with a scintilla of Jewish identity is capable of thinking of it as something to choose to do to their own remains boggles the mind.


  3. L Oberstein says:

    Wow! Professor Jacob Neusner , a Conservative Scholar and the Rosh Agudas Yisroel both pointing out the same thing regarding techias hameisim. The web provides one point where all views can interact. Now, I wonder if that is a reason to “matir” the internet or another reason to “asser” it. I guess it depends on whether you think there is merit in hearing views other than our own.

  4. Norman Kabak says:

    I would like to express appreciation for L Oberstein’s remark.
    Too often we here nothing but rants exclaiming how ones
    ideas or beliefs are the only acceptable ones and that if you don’t agree with me you are worse than ….. Let the reader fill in the rest.

    Thanks again,

    N Kabak

  5. Barzilai says:

    “inherent abhorrence”
    “It is the antithesis of the belief-system called Judaism.”

    I know that when advocating a position, one ought not call attention to his weaknesses. But between me and you, the Tosfos Yomtov in Pesachim 4:9 says there’s nothing theoretically wrong with cremation. Evidently, it was not antithetical to the belief system he called Judaism.

  6. dovid says:

    ‘I wonder if that is a reason to “matir” the internet or another reason to “asser” it.’

    One manifestation of human weakness is to put good things to evil use. Examples: TV, radio, video, internet, telephone, alcohol, etc. The Lubavitcher Rebbe gave drashos over the TV to reach his chasidim located throughout the world. We use wine for Kiddush (sometimes schnapps). Too much of it, becomes a vice. Same thing with the internet. Are we mature, strong, and honest individuals to use the internet only for d’varim sh’b’kedusha and for davar sheb’heter like work?

    “Too often we hear nothing but rants exclaiming how one’s ideas or beliefs are the only acceptable ones and that if you don’t agree with me you are worse than …..”

    I trust the writers of the earlier posts did not refer to Rabbi Yakov Perlow. I would be afraid of asking him what he thinks of the Internet. But I can tell you with confidence (I learned with a talmid from his Yeshiva) that (1) he does not rant, (2) he regards every question as legitimate if it is asked for the sole purpose of finding the answer, and (3) he does not call people names or labels them if he disagrees with them. He encourages discussions and is prepared to hear out views other than his own. He will not necessarily agree with them, but he will debate with you and explain his position in the most menschlich fashion.

  7. Jewish Observer says:

    “I would be afraid of asking him what he thinks of the Internet”

    – why not send him an email?

  8. Yaakov Menken ( says:


    I haven’t yet had the chance to look inside, but chanita is embalming, the use of chemicals. Sereifas chanita is thus not burning of the body, which remains antithetical to Judaism, but the use of chemicals that hasten decomposition. I will update this comment this evening, bli neder, once I see the Tosfos YomTov.

  9. frum babe says:

    does rabbi perlow aprove your blogging? unlike the rest of us who are condemed by aguda rabbis.

  10. Rabbi Avi Shafran says:

    Dear FB,

    I assume your comment was intended for me.

    I write weekly columns for the Jewish media. Weeklies across the country publish them, occasionally, frequently or regularly (depending on the paper). They are also offered (with the permission of my rabbinical advisors) to anyone who wishes to receive them. No restrictions are placed on how or where they can appear (as long as they are not edited and they are properly credited).

    And so I don’t think the term blogger can be applied to me. I do not maintain a weblog or any sort of website.

    What is more, I am not aware of any “aguda rabbis”‘ condemnation of bloggers (although many rabbis, and others, myself included, certainly condemn irresponsible writing, whether online or on paper.

    Hope that helps.

    Best wishes,


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