At The Cemetery

Family and friends accompany the deceased to the cemetery.  On arrival at the cemetery the casket is carried from the hearse and lowered into the grave.  A brief graveside service is conducted consisting of psalms, readings, the memorial prayer El Malei Rachamim and the Mourner’s Kaddish.  Mourners, relatives, and friends share in covering the casket with earth, which can be a difficult yet moving and meaningful ritual.  The mitzvah of chesed shel emet (the care for the deceased) is the highest honor we perform for others in this world.

The recessional from the graveside focuses on comforting the mourners.  Following the burial service, the comforters will be asked to form two lines, leaving an aisle through which the mourners pass to receive the first expressions of comfort.  Recognizing the difficulty of finding appropriate words, Judaism provides a ritual phrase: “May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

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(Excerpted from "Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Dealing with the Passing of a Loved One" .)