- General Questions
Are we allowed to keep our pets ashes in the home?
ב"ה Shalom I don't see a prohibition in keeping the ashes in the house, however, I would not put them in any place where it would be possibly seen as a memorial or G-d forbid turn into some ritual. I say this based upon what Rav Azriel Ariel wrote (in the Hebrew counterpart of this website) that it would be inappropriate to bury an animal in a special graveyard for pets and certainly not to make a monument in their memory, because this begins to borderline with the prohibition " do not follow their customs" which forbids to emulate gentile religious customs. The Torah sets guidelines in Jewish law not to cause suffering to animals and also in the Talmud(Baba Metzia 85a) , we find that Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi (the prince) was punished for not showing any sympathy to a calf bound for slaughter when it came to him to seek refuge. Nonetheless, neither does the Torah want us to lose or blur the distinction between the dignity shown to humans and animals. The honor given to a human who has died is the not the same as that of an animal. Rav Kook zt"l wrote that we have priorities in rectifying so much in our relationship to man which precede those in improving our relationship to animals. With all the due affection we have to our pets, especially for those who have pets to fill a void of loneliness, I think the focus should be more on the lovingkindness of G-d that he let one his creations be so beneficial to us and enhance our lives for a period of time. I will conclude with the words of consolation the Talmud offers to one whose animal has died "May Hashem replace your loss." (Berachot 16b) . All the best Gmar Chatima tova