Large Enough to Serve You
Small Enough to Know You

Glossary of Terms

  • Chesed Shel-Emet – act of “true kindness.” Helping to bury the dead is a kindness that can never be repaid, and falls in this category.
  • Chevra Kaddisha – the Holy Society that prepares a body for burial, and performs the rite of Tahara.
    Halacha, Jewish Law, “The Way.”
  • Kaddish – prayer of divine affirmation, recited by mourners.
  • Keriah – rending of the garment worn by the mourner.
  • Kevod Hamet – respect for the dead. Treating the dead with utmost respect is basic to the entire Jewish approach to burial practice.
  • Kipah – skull cap. (Plural: Kipot).
  • Minyan – required number (10) of Jewish adults who must be present for recitation of the Kaddish.
  • Mitzvah – commandment; an act of loving-kindness.
  • Pikuach Nefesh – “Saving a life”; a special Mitzvah which takes precedence above others.
  • Sheloshim – the 30-day period of mourning that begins immediately after interment.
  • Shemirah – “Guard duty.” Because of respect for the deceased, the body is never left alone from death through interment.
  • Shiva – the seven-day period of intense mourning that begins after interment. The first seven days of Sheloshim.
  • Shomer – the person who sits with the deceased through burial.
  • Tachrichim – burial garments.
  • Tahara – the ritual cleansing of the body of the deceased.
  • Tzedakah, an act of righteousness; a charitable contribution.
  • Yahrzeit – Jewish calendar anniversary of a death.
  • Yizkor – memorial service at which special prayers are recited on Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Pesach (8th day), and Shavuot (2nd day).