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On a Shabbat (or Jewish Holiday), how does Jewish law regulate the transfer of a deceased Jewish patient to a funeral home, morgue, or other location? 



On a Shabbat or Jewish Holiday, Jewish law generally prohibits transferring a deceased body. However, if the room must be vacated or if the amount of time (in a facility) exceeds the limit allowed by law, then: 

  • In a hospital, the deceased may be moved into the morgue until after the Shabbat or Jewish holiday; 
  • In a nursing or rehabilitation facility, the nursing staff may call the funeral home to have the body transported; 
  • In a private home where proper ventilation is available, the family should always make an effort to keep the deceased at home until the end of the Shabbat or Jewish Holiday. 

Please note that whenever the funeral home is called on a Shabbat or Jewish Holiday, a non-Jew should place the call. 


* The above answer applies in general situations. However, unusual circumstances may result in the application of a different ruling of Jewish law.

For over two decades, CMC has been counseling patients and family members throughout the Chicago area concerning end-of-life issues such as those mentioned above. CMC connects patients and families with local Rabbonim who are expert in the end-of-life field, so that they may be reassured of having authoritative halachic answers that are tailored to their specific individual circumstances.

To request CMC guidance and/or support regarding an end-of-life issue or for any patient and/or family member struggling with illness, please call CMC or click this link to visit CMC's website.
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Rabbi Aron Wolf
Chicago Mitzvah Campaign
2939 W Touhy Ave
Chicago, IL 60645
1-866-MY RABBI (1-866-697-2224)