1 678

Burying a nefel on Yom Tov

It has become accepted practice to bury a nefel (a stillborn child). Shulchon Aruch rules that this practice is only a custom, and as such, it may not be done on Yom Tov Sheini. Other Achronim disagree and maintain that it is a mitzvah to bury a nefel just as it is to bury a person who lived an entire life. This opinion allows a non-Jew to perform the burial on Yom Tov Sheini. In addition, this opinion holds that it is forbidden to excavate a nefel from his grave or even to open the grave, as in the case of a standard burial. All opinions agree that there is no mitzvah to bury a child who did not survive more than three months in utero.

[משנ"ב תקכו, מט, ושעה"צ סט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 46]

Circumcising a nefel

There is an accepted custom to perform a bris milah on a nefel prior to its burial. There are three reasons for this practice: 1) Remaining uncircumcised is a degradation for the baby. 2) Stillborn children will also awaken at techiyas hameisim, and if they remain uncircumcised, they will be unrecognizable as Jews. 3) The Medrash states that Avrohom Avinu will be able to save any circumcised Jew from Gehenom. In order to prevent Avrohom from saving circumcised Jews who deserve to remain in Gehenom, the foreskins of nefelim are placed on them, rendering them uncircumcised. We circumcise a nefel so that these foreskins are not available to be placed on the wicked.

[שו"ע תקכו, י, משנ"ב מח, ושעה"צ סד; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 48 ;קרב"נ מו"ק ג, פח, כ; (אג"מ יו"ד ג, קלח)]

Eating before a burial 

Chazal extrapolate from the pasuk stating lo sochlu al hadam (“you may not eat upon the blood”) that one should not eat a meal before seeing to the completion of a burial. Under pressing circumstances, one may eat a meal once the body is brought to the cemetery, even if it hasn’t been buried yet. This prohibition is only applicable to those who are responsible for burying the deceased (chevra kadisha), and it only applies on the day that the burial is set to take place. If the burial is scheduled for the next day, eating a meal is permitted.

[משנ"ב תקכו, נב, ושעה"צ עג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 52 ;וראה אנצ"ת ע' אכילה על הדם]
  • It is a mitzvah for all people (including a kohein) to involve themselves in the burial of a meis mitzvah (a person found deceased who does not have any family members to tend to his kevurah).

  • According to the basic halacha, a meis mitzvah must be buried at the location where his body was found, unless his burial would be an issue for kohanim who pass by that area. In practice, though, this rule is no longer followed; the body is transferred to a cemetery instead.

  • Although travel outside of the techum is permitted for a burial on Yom Tov Sheini, it is forbidden to travel by boat, to drive a car, or to ride on an animal. 

  • Eiruv tavshilin

  • The purpose of eiruv tavshilin

  • Which Shabbos preparations does eiruv tavshilin allow for?
PLEASE NOTE: The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.
Daf Hayomi B'Halacha Shiur
Rav Asher Eisenberger, Shlita
Daf Hayomi B'Halacha Shiur
Rav Daniel Glatstein, Shlita
Synopsis of Today's Halachos
Rabbi Yerachmiel Garfield
This Week's Limud