Noahide Mourning

Does Torah have Universal Lessons on Mourning?

Source*: A Sicha (Chassidic Talk) by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

There are matters in Torah which belong in the category of “creating a settled world.” These matters existed before the giving of the Torah, and therefore also before the separation between Israel and the other nations existed. It is understood that these matters apply also to B’nai Noach [the Children of Noah, i.e. Gentiles/Non-Jews], even though they aren’t openly spoken about in the part of the Torah which speaks about the Seven Noahide Laws. Read more »


Marking an anniversary of a relative’s passing

The Anniversary of a Relative’s Passing Should Inspire a Person to Self-improvement

The following translated excerpt from a talk[1] by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, is reprinted here from the book To Perfect the World: The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Call to Teach the Noahide Code to All Mankind with the permision of the publisher, Sichos In English.

Everyone is obligated to strive to civilize the world and bring it to be apparent in the world that “He [G-d] formed it to be settled.”[2]

Even children can comprehend this, and it can be explained to Gentiles of any nation. It can certainly be explained to [citizens of] nations that behave in a manner of goodness and kindness, Read more »


How should Noahides mourn for deceased relatives or friends?

It is important to set limits in intensity and length of time for mourning. Even before the Flood, there was a tradition of observing seven days of mourning. In Genesis 7:4, G-d told Noah, “For in another seven days’ time I will send rain upon the earth…” On this verse, Rashi explains, based on the Midrash, “These are the seven days of mourning for the righteous Methuselah, for the Holy One, Blessed is He, spared his dignity and delayed the punishments [of the Flood, so that the generation’s mourning for Methuselah could be properly expressed]. Go and calculate the years of Methuselah, and you will find that they end in the six hundredth year of the life of Noah” [when the Flood came].

The following suggestions for funeral and memorial services were provided to Ask Noah International by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet o.b.m.: Read more »


What is the proper burial process for Noahides?

Rabbi B. Friedman in Kansas has been teaching a group of Noahides for many years. In working with his group he has indeed taken the time to research this subject. He answered us very briefly on the points below regarding death and burial:

(a) What can a Noachide expect – may or can a Rabbi perform a burial ceremony for a Noahide? Read more »


What symbol should Noahides use on tombstones?

Ask Noah forwarded this question to our friend Rabbi Shimon Cowen in Australia. Here is the unresearched, spontaneous response he sent back. Obviously this is his personal opinion on a non-binding issue:

Headstones of the graves of deceased persons in our community have no religious symbols at all. I don’t see a requirement for them. Certainly I would, however, avoid symbols associated with other [non-Torah] religions (not that we are going to say that these are all forbidden), but since the questioner has advanced in his or her Noahidism, it would in my view be appropriate to use none of those symbols, since in their raw form they do not have the purity of connotation which is suitable for a Noahide who has studied and knows exactly what Torah requires of him or her.

As for using the symbol of an ark or something like that, it might be fine, though that symbol has not yet been established as the symbol of Noahidism. So perhaps the best thing might be to use words, such as “so and so, devoted to the ideals of the righteous of the nations…”

A note from the Director of Ask Noah:

There are many cemeteries, especially the more modern ones, that make it a policy to have only simple headstones, without statues, etc., which may be an important preference for many Noahides. One option would be to have the person’s name on the tombstone, followed by “ben Noach” (for a male) or “bat Noach” (for a female). Or it could be “bas Noach” for a female, depending on the person’s preference for pronunciation of the Hebrew phrase.


Are organ donations allowed within the Noahide Commandments?

Since Noahides do not have a commandment that they must be buried in the earth, the option is open to them for organ donation. Given that they have this option, it is in fact a meritorious thing for them to give this great gift of improved physical life, and even life itself, to another person. However, note that the Torah defines life by the beating of the heart. Therefore a person who wants to be an organ donor should make a clear and legal stipulation (a Torah-acceptable Living Will) that none of his organs (especially the heart!) may be removed before the heart is permanently stopped.

For Jews, on the other hand, it is commanded in Deuteronomy 21:23 (which applies to all Jews) that their entire body should be buried in the earth, on the day of death or as soon afterward as possible. The burial can be delayed beyond the first day only for certain specific circumstances. Likewise, autopsies on Jewish bodies are forbidden in general. In cases of great need, a reliable Orthodox Rabbi should be consulted.


What is the rationale for a tragedy that happened?

A question we received: “A student of mine perished in a tragedy. What is the rationale for this?”

Response (originally posted in 2010):

It’s very difficult to conceive of the tragedy of your student, and about the sorrow and hardship which his family now faces. Of course you and they have very deep questions about how G-d could have allowed this, and how much more so, how could He have caused this thing to happen. Read more »