Tahara is the physical and spiritual preparation of the meyt/meyta for burial. Just as Jews have traditions for welcoming a newborn, so too we have customs for life’s end.
The meyt/meyta is washed and ritually purified with a specified amount of continuously poured water, then dressed in plain white muslin garments called tachrichim. Prayers are said at each stage of the ritual.
Finally, the meyt/meyta is laid in a simple coffin (aron) and swaddled in a white sheet. The aron is closed.
Trained volunteers from the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston perform the tahara with respect and tenderness, as they assist transitioning the body and soul from this world. Women care for women, men for men, and regard their service as a privilege as well as an act of loving kindness.
Your rabbi or funeral director at the Brezniak-Rodman Funeral Chapel in West Newton 617.969.0800 can arrange for tahara by the Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston.
HOW TAHARA IS DONE
1. Team prepares the room and aron to perform the tahara. Soil from Israel is sprinkled in the aron. A sheet/shroud and a tallit are placed in the aron.
2. Team asks met/meta for forgiveness before beginning.
3. Prayers and readings are recited during the tahara ritual.
4. Inspect the condition of met/meta; then perform the initial washing and grooming as required.
5. Elevate the body off the table using wooden boards (so no part of the body rests on the table).
6. Perform the Tahara ritual by pouring a continuous flow of three buckets of water (24 quarts) over the met/meta.
7. Dry the met/meta and table in preparation for dressing.
8. Dress the met/meta starting with the head covering, pants, inner shirt, and outer shirt (kittel). Ribbons are tied around the ankles. A special knot is used for all ties.
9. Met/meta is placed in the aron. Remaining soil sprinkled over the met/meta. Pottery shards are placed on the eyelids. Tallit is wrapped around the met and one tassel is either cut off or knotted to make the tallit “pasul” or ritually unfit. Met/meta is wrapped in the sheet/shroud.
10. Wooden cover is placed on the aron. Team asks the met/meta for forgiveness.
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Hal Miller-Jacobs Hal@HevraKadisha.org
Community Hevra Kadisha
of Greater Boston
9 Piper Road
Lexington, MA 02421
The Community Hevra Kadisha of Greater Boston (CHK) has been recognized as a tax exempt public charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to CHK are deductible under section 170 of the Code