- Family and Society
- Burial and the Cemetery
Embalming Before Sending to Israel
I’ve read in a previous question that embalming is not allowed. I have a problem with that, since as a member of our Chevra Kadisha in Panama, sometimes we have to send bodies to Israel for burial. An embalmer first treats the body and then we do tahara. This is necessary to keep the body preserved until it reaches Israel by air in a special sealed container. What should we do?
Hagaon Rabbi Yekutiel Yehuda Greenwald, Av Beit Din of Ohio, writes in his book regarding burial and Aveilut that there are two ways to preserve a body, one called 'embalming' which includes extracting fluids from the body, the other 'freezing' which does nothing to the body itself - and includes only inserting some drugs into the body to slow down the process. He brings two problems with the 'embalming' and concludes that best is to put the body on ice, but when not possible, 'freezing' should be done, not 'embalming'. Rabbi Ro'i Margalit