WATCH: Hagaon HaRav Kanievsky Gives ZAKA Sharp Piskei Halacha Regarding Cremations


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On Sunday, 15 Elul, heads of ZAKA including Yehuda Meshi-Zahav met with HaGaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky to discuss pertinent Shailos. Questions addressed preventing an autopsy as well as a cremation R”L, questions that ZAKA deals with far too often.

Rav Chaim was asked what should be done for a Jew who did not keep Shabbos or try to live a life in line with halacha, and in his will, the niftar requested to be cremated. Meshi-Zahav wished to hear from the Gadol how much does the organization have to fight to prevent such an occurrence?

Rav Kanievsky is quoted saying, “He deserves it” (“מגיע לו”) and ruled there is no need to battle with the state authorities in such a case, and he will be cremated.

The secretary of ZAKA’s Vaad Rabbonim, Rav Meir Akar asked regarding a “tinok shenishba”, whose children have become Shomer Shabbos, and wish to have him buried as a Jew and to be able to recite kaddish.

Rav Chaim responded that he must be brought to Kevura, “קבורת חמור”.

ZAKA Director-General Dovi Weinstein and the head of the organization’s legal department, Michal Gutwein and others were also present for the most important meeting.

The rav was then asked about a Jew who married a gentile woman and she wished for him to be cremated but his Jewish children object. “Should we fight tenaciously to prevent the cremation?” Rav Chaim responded dismissively “burn her” – “לשרוף אותה..”.

The rav gave them all a bracha for their holy work as well as a bracha for the upcoming new year.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Would be useful for chevra Kadishas everywhere to know the Halacha if there is a Chiyuv to expend effort and money to prevent an autopsy on someone who was a Mechalel Shabbos. This is a daily occurrence.

  2. Someone who intermarried is akin to abandoning the Jewish people and shmadding. The family sits shiva when one converts to another religion or intermarries with a non-Jew.

  3. A Jew that DESERVES cremation??? I cannot believe my eyes!
    As long as it’s a Jewish soul in a body, he does not deserve cremation! Nazis said Jews deserve cremation! And they burned millions! And we have to fight it as much as we can! No matter what kind of Jew he was.
    A neshomo is a neshomo!
    If anyone has any basis in Halacha as to weather any type of Jew deserves cremation, please feel free to share.
    I am in shock of R’ Kanievskys statement.
    I am lost.

  4. Thank you for trying to fix up this article to make a little bit more sense. It is of my opinion that the article is still poorly written and does a huge disservice for klal Yisroel and the community. This only confuses a very complicated subject even more. To answer these questions and put it on a public forum and say to learn Halacha from it without knowing all the details and intricacies of each case is absurd. Maybe R’ Chaim said מגיע לו because the Gadol understood something specific in this case that we can’t see.
    It seems to me from this article that R’ Chaim either didn’t understand the last question or was saying to get her out of the picture? “Rav Chaim responded dismissively “burn her” – “לשרוף אותה..”. They were asking about the husband and the article says, R’ Chaim responded that you should burn the gentile woman? There doesn’t seem to be any Halacha that is set in stone here. Total clickbait.

  5. Boruchhashem1234,

    Rav Chaim did not exactly say that you should go ahead and do it.
    He is speaking in regards when the deceased one HIMSELF retested it, and the question was if they need to put in the effort fighting the authorities…

  6. Rabbi Moshe Feinstine ZT’L had a similar situation where a Russian spy who was Jewish requested to be buried facedown. He ruled not to listen to this apostates last wish as now that he knows the Emmes he would not want to violate Halacha as he is aware of its consequence.
    So maybe in this case when Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky said “Magiah Lo” (He has it coming) he differers from the ruling of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. ?