Jewish Outlook on Life and Death

This paper examines the duties and observances of the mourners, the funeral and religious ritual and beliefs.

In Biblical times, the Jewish outlook on life and death differed from that of later days. In those days, the Jews looked to life for salvation. The Jew’s thoughts were centered on earth and its abundance of food, and not on heaven. His identity was with his kin in the earthly life; he dwelt with them, and was gather to them after his death.

When the Jew felt he was dying, he called his children to him, blessed them, and gave them charge to fulfill his will, particularly the burial. Leaders would address the people following the tradition put forth by Moses and Joshua in the Bible.

With the arrival of death, duties and observances were put upon the mourners. The eyes of the deceased were to be closed, inspired by the belief that the soul rested in the eyes, and also …