Our tradition notes that the mitzvot that we perform out of pure altruism are the ones that are most significant. The only way we can know if one is being truly unselfish in doing a mitzvah is if
it is an act of loving kindness performed for the dead, who have no way of reciprocating. Without the potential for trading “favors,” we can be assured of one’s true intentions in performing the mitzvah.
I share all of this by way of introduction to a mitzvah that I have been discussing at length lately, namely the Hevre Kadisha, or Burial Society. All of the rituals done by the Hevre Kadisha are for the deceased, guaranteeing they are done unselfishly.
Our tradition has a wonderful set of rituals surrounding death and burial that require the attention of individuals in the community. It is such a sacred society that its members and work are kept private. The work of the Hevre Kadisha involves ritually washing the body and dressing it in a traditional shroud before being placed in the wooden casket. The tasks are performed with great care and dignity by dedicated members of the burial society.
We have a well-established Hevre Kadisha group that we share jointly with Temple Beth Sholom. Anyone who requests the traditional Jewish burial rites is granted them. In order to maintain this service to the community, we are always looking for new people who might be interested in becoming members of the burial society.
On Sunday August 12th we will be holding a training session for new and current members of the Hevre Kadisha. It is being held from 11:30-2:00 PM at Temple Beth Sholom.
If you are interested and would like to sign up, or have ANY questions about what it means to be part of this great mitzvah, this act of loving kindness, please be in touch with me.