Thursday, March 09, 2006 I was asked the following question:
As I read one of your entries, certainly there are Senior
Rabbis of congregations that are Kohainim. How do they officiate at the funerals
of their congregants? Their presence is essential to the living and the rabbi of
a congregation has a responsibility to his congregants.
Can you please cite examples?
was my response:
In the Orthodox way, a rabbi of Kohanic lineage may officiate
at a funeral. However,he may not be in the same building with the dead. It is
customary, when a Kohain officiates, that the deceased remain outside the
building (i.e. in the hearse). At a cemetery, the rabbi may officiate from off
the grounds, while the deceased is at the grave site.
Attending to the living has no restrictions at all. The rabbi may console the
survivor and conduct Shiva services at the home of the deceased.
you have questions about a personal matter, or jewish practices
and customs, you can submit them to me by e-mail.
I answer all queries directly, or through this column, when the
question is informative to our community.
you for your kind attention and this opportunity to share with you,
Rabbi Dan S. Wiko
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