Halachic Ruling: Bottle Of Vodka Buried With Dead Man

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vodka.jpgThe following article appeared on the European Jewish Press website:

The Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE), which assists more than 600 rabbis across Europe on issues of daily life, was confronted last week with this very unusual halachic question after a member of a Jewish community in Germany passed away.

The man’s last will was to be buried with his best friend, a bottle of Vodka, with which he had never parted during his lifetime.

After hearing the weird request, the Jewish community’s rabbi immediately contacted the RCE’s halachic experts in order to determine if it is permissible to place a bottle of Vodka in the grave of the man.

[The man emigrated from the Soviet Union in the 70s and was not connected to the local Jewish community. However, a good friend of him, who is a regular participant of community events and an acquaintance of the local rabbi, delivered this last message of his friend to the rabbi.]

The issue however actually raises a serious halachic dilemma.
On the one hand it is extremely important to fulfill the last wish of a Jew, but on the other hand it is unacceptable to bury any object together with the body of a deceased person.

The difficult question was then forwarded to Rabbi Yaacov Rozhe, who serves as chairman of the Zaka Rabbinical Council and as representative of Israel’s chief rabbinate in the Medical Institute of Abu Kabir.

He replied that there is no halachic prohibition of placing the bottle near the coffin but under no circumstances it may be placed in the coffin itself nor beneath it so that no object interposes between the coffin and the ground.

With the implementation of this ruling the man and the bottle passed away side by side….

(EJP)


37 COMMENTS

  1. This is great news & now all the alcholics who beleive in TECHIAS HAMASHIM will make sure to be bureid with the bottle next to them & that is going to be the first thing when they awake & they will take a shot & fall back asleep before they even have a chance to get out of the grave

  2. not silly, horrendous.
    this man felt the vodka was his life.
    a human life, wasted, accomplishing nothing.
    so very common today.
    total darkness, total ignorance.

  3. This story should never have been posted.

    Now many of the loyal readers will request to have internet access and a computer opened to The Yeshiva World accompany them to the grave!

  4. I think this is going to make GUINESS book of records & nobody could make up stories like this. & this is the one & only

    I am sure nobody could top this

  5. “nobody could make up stories like this. & this is the one & only”

    not at all…

    people have been buried in their favorite cars.

    there is an entire section of one cemetery, where all the headstones are in the shape of bowling balls (a local league)

    there is an entire industry selling caskets with sports logos on them, some are painted with the team colors.

  6. True, he wasn’t friendless. Rudderless, unconnected. Still sad. I can’t understand how people can joke like this and I have a pretty irreverent sense of humor.

  7. I don’t know about you but I think that’s a very WHISKEY Shaila to Paskin as it is not so simple. Maybe he’s not really dead like the other story and just wants to GLEN-LIVET up down there. Maybe PINCH him and see if he SCHNAPPS out of it. In any case, its ABSOLUTely crazy.

  8. well maybe this is showing how many will be buried with their tayvos also maybe not in the same way, but buried together all the same

  9. I don’t understand what’s the shayla. “It is unacceptable to bury any object together with the body of a deceased person” – really? Vu shtait? I don’t believe there is any such din. There are plenty of stories of people being buried with various objects that they want to present to the BD Shel Maaloh. So if perhaps this guy thinks when he gets there he’s going to need a stiff drink before he steps up to the dock, it’s not exactly the same thing, but why not let him have it? It’s his bottle, after all.

  10. #26
    look in msilis yesharim. chovos ha lavovos, and shareii tsuva,h all of which spend a great deal of words warning against the great evil of letzones

  11. I don’t have the skills to look it up in Taanis, but I have to wonder if somewhere there it also mentions that something is not funny if it’s at someone else’s expense.

    And this is a kovod hameis issue – there is no way in this world right now to ask for mechila. Perhaps the moderator can close this comment line now so more people won’t be nichshal.

  12. Perhaps I am missing something – but reading the story charitably, might not this have been a particular cherished bottle from the alte heim? If so, then all the shiker wisecracks are way off base.

  13. to #30..so according to you moderator should close this site altogther(the comments part) so people shouldnt be nichshel..why does this subject bother you more than any other?

  14. #6 bek721, you had me in stitches.

    From a sociological standpoint, let’s keep in mind the prominent role vodka plays among the Russians. Also, I myself can kind of relate to him. After all, unlike people, vodka won’t yell at you, put you down, or talk back at you. It is what it is. It pleases, relaxes and doesn’t disappoint. He was maybe showing hakoros hatov to his favorite drink.

    In any case, he’s niftar and let’s think well of him.

  15. Re 30: why does it bother me more than other situations? Good question. Maybe because, for whatever reason (too many levayos this summer?) I have no yetzer hara to participate in this, and as such am having a harder time being dan lecaf zechus. I don’t know, I have to think about it.