One of the greatest good deeds that one can do is to escort a person who has passed on until burial. The reason for this is because the beneficiary of the mitzvah, the person being escorted can never thank the ones who deemed him/her such respect. This week Rabbi Edery escorted the coffin of a Jewish lady who passed away in Japan, after living in Tokyo for over sixty years. She and her husband were originally from Russia and established their lives in Japan. She will be buried in the US. Since none of her family members live in Japan, it was important to see to it that prayers would be said in her honor and she would be properly taken care of.
In Japan cremation is a given. However according to the Torah it is forbidden. The Torah says:”from dust you came to dust you will return”. Adam, the first man was created by G-d from the earth. This is the beginning of all of mankind and therefore it is most natural that one returns to its origins. The tradition of cremating in Japan is a relatively new one, only about sixty years. Before that, people were properly buried. For many reasons, one of which was ”space saving”, people in Japan resorted to cremation. It is well known that the Japanese empror’s family do not cremate and only bury. Isn’t every person created by the King of all Kings, and deservant of such an honor?
For this purpose Rabbi Edery works very hard to make sure that people who would like to be buried without being cremated will have no difficulties and can easily do so. He has made legal and economical arrangements to facilitate Jewish burial. May we never need to escort those that passed away, may we be reunited with our loved ones, with the speedy coming of Moshiach and the resurrection of the dead.
(Picture above: Jewish cemetery in Yokohama)