Life Cycles - Death
V - Glossary of Terms
Chesed Shel-Emet, act of "true kindness." Helping to bury the dead is a kindness that can never be repaid, and falls in this category.
Chevra Kaddisha, the Holy Society that prepares a body for burial, and performs the rite of Tahara.
Halacha, Jewish Law, "The Way."
Kaddish, prayer of divine affirmation, recited by mourners.
Keriah, rending of the garment worn by the mourner.
Kevod Hamet, respect for the dead. Treating the dead with utmost respect is basic to the entire Jewish approach to burial practice.
Kipah, skull cap. (Plural: Kipot).
Minyan, required number (10) of Jewish adults who must be present for recitation of the Kaddish.
Mitzvah, commandment; an act of loving-kindness.
Pikuach Nefesh, "Saving a life"; a special Mitzvah which takes precedence above others.
Sheloshim, the 30-day period of mourning that begins immediately after interment.
Shemirah, "Guard duty." Because of respect for the deceased, the body is never left alone from death until interment.
Shiva, the seven-day period of intense mourning that begins after interment. The first seven days of Sheloshim.
Shomer, the person who sits with the deceased until burial.
Tachrichim, burial garments.
Tahara, the ritual cleansing of the body of the deceased.
Tzedakah, an act of righteousness; a charitable contribution.
Yahrzeit, Jewish calendar anniversary of a death.
Yizkor, memorial service at which special prayers are recited on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Pesach (8th day), and Shavuot (2nd day).