Transcript of the Questions with HaRav Hagon Rav Chaim Kanievsky Shlita about Being Buried and Buying a Burial Plot in Israel
Question: People who live outside the Land of Israel is it worth it for them to buy a burial plot in Eretz Yisrael?
Maran Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s Shlita reply: They will arise for the Resurrection of the Dead (The Rabbi According to his close Talmid Hagaon Harav Passin Shlita means that the People buried in Eretz Yisrael will be resurrected first as the Zohar Hakodosh Parshat Chayei Sara Daf 131 writes- Come and see, as it is said All those who die in Eretz Yisrael will arise first because Hashem will awaken them and make them arise as the Passuk in Yeshaya 26:19 says “The Dead will be Resurrected “ – Those in Eretz Yisrael. Another Passuk in Yeshaya says the “The Carcusses will arise “ Those are they who are buried outside the Holy Land as it is not written resurrection by them but rather to arise as the Spirit of Life will only rest on those in the Holy Land of Israel and that is why it is written “The Dead will be Resurrected“ and those outside the Land of Israel will be created with their bodies and their body will arise without a spirit then they will roll under the earth until they reach the Holy Land and their they will receive their Soul in order that they will be properly resurrected.
Question: So is it worth to buy a burial plot in Eretz Yisrael?
Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s reply: YES
Question: If a person is buried here in Eretz Yisrael, is it an atonement for one’s sins? (as it is written in GemaraKetubot 111a -Rav Anan says Anyone that is buried in the Land of Israel is like he is buried under the Altar as it is written You should make a Ground Altar for me and it is written and the Land will atone for the sins)
Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s reply: After he is punished for his sins
(Hagaon Harav Kanievsky means that every person first has to be judged by Hashem for all his Mitzvos and aveiros. After a person has been punished for his Aveiros then burial in the land of Israel will help him attain his atonement.)
Question: Children who live outside Eretz Yisrael are asking if their father died and he did not tell them where to bury him, should we recommend them to buy a plot for their father in Eretz Yisrael?
Hagaon Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s reply: YES
The place where we choose to be buried says much about the meaning of our lives. Choosing to be buried as a Jew in any country is a declaration of our faith and loyalties. Purchasing a plot in Israel further links our destiny to the Jewish people, its land and its faith. At the outset of our nation, Abraham purchases a burial place for his wife Sarah at the Cave of Machpela in Hebron marking the start of a distinctive family tradition which would emerge into a nation with a profound connection to the Holy Land. Even when tragedy and famine prevented our forefathers from living in the Land of Israel, they did everything possible to ensure that their remains would be taken there for burial.
So we see that Jacob asked his son Joseph to ensure his burial in the Land of Israel and later when the Jews finally left slavery in Egypt, they eventually brought Joseph’s remains with them for burial in Shechem (Nablus) after their entry to the Land. Centuries later, the rabbis of the Talmud spoke of the greatness of living in Israel, adding that one who could not live in Israel should do their best to be buried there. Burial in Israel is the way that we connect to thousands of years of Jewish history, to the Promised Land and to the great future of the Jewish people. While in the past, this was a difficult mitzvah to perform, modern travel and communications have made it much easier.
The Jewish nation has always yearned to come to the Holy land of Israel for the last few thousand years. Baruch Hashem many Jews have merited to live in the land of Israel. Unfortunately many of our brethren have not been able to move the Holy land for their own personal reasons. However, after one’s long life the opportunity is still there. As Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky’ said it is worth it to buy a burial plot in Israel.
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