Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Funerals and Kohanim

Q: How does a Kohein attend a funeral?

A: By standing outside - showing his sympathy w/o getting "tamei".

Q: So how may a Jew attend a non-Jewish funeral?

A: Since we are [relatively speaking] a mamlechet kohanim, we may also stand outside - showing our sympathy w/o becoming "tamei".



Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

There is, however, an interesting distinction between the two scenarios. In the case of the kohein, the family of the deceased recognize and respect the reason for the kohein's inability to attend. In the case, of non-Jew's, however, this is not the case. They may actually be offended by this non-attendance, not because they favour their religious beliefs but because they see this non-attendance as a reflection of religious intolerance. On a practical level, I am not sure if this would work.

Rabbi Ben Hecht

Rabbi R Wolpoe said...

But that's the point! By coming to the service and standing outside one is displaying both solidarity with the bereaved and respect for the Halachah, just as a Kohein does.

When asked why they would not enter they can explain along the lines that they are halachically restricted, just like a cohein is!

It make take time for everyone to get on board - but given time, soon enough, it will appear that this is what Observant Jews do

Just so long as they don't put Tefillin on Airline flights. :-)