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Mamzer in Jewish cemetary


Rabbi Moshe Leib Halberstadt

Kislev 1, 5770
Can a Mamzer be buried in a Jewish cemetary?
The Chatam Sofer discusses at length the obligation of burying every single Jew even if they are evil people. A Mamzer however is not an evil person but a person who is ill, he is suffering from a spiritual disease that is not his fault at all, on the contrary we find in the Mishnah Horayot 13. that a Mamzer who is a Talmid Chacham has preference over an ignorant Cohen Gadol. The laws mentioned in Halacha regarding a Mamzer are the Torah prohibition to marry into the congregation of Hashem, and the custom of circumcising him in the Shul’s courtyard while announcing that he is a Mamzer so people should be aware and not intermarry with him or his descendants. We do not find, however, in the Poskin any restrictions as far as his burial is concerned. What is mentioned in the Poskim is that we do not bury an evil person near a righteous person, but a Mamzer is not necessarily an evil person as we have already mentioned that a Mamzer may be a Talmid Chacham who is more important than an ignorant Cohen Gadol. Therefore it seems clear that we are obligated to bury him in a Jewish cemetery, and there is no need to distance his grave from others, but to bury him in a place fitting to his level. [שו"ת חתם סופר יו"ד תשובה שמא, הוריות יג. שו"ע אהע"ז סימן ד סעיף א, מהרי"ל הלכות מגילה סעיף כ, שו"ע יו"ד סימן רסה סעיף ד ט"ז ס"ק ח וש"ך ס"ק יא, שו"ע יו"ד סימן שסב סעיף ה, וע"ע כל בו על אבלות להרב יקותיאל יהודה גרינוולד פרק שלישי סימנים א,ב].
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