Does the Bible talk about Cremation vs Burial?

For the Christian this is an option to consider, looking at cost especially. Cremation can cost as low as around $800.00, where burial can run over $10,000.00. In most Christian circles this is a very viable option of deciding between burial or cremation for after death internment. With Judaism this is not the case.

The Christian may decide on cremation for a variety of reasons, be it for financial reason, it may be for a sentimental reason, (ie. the urn be kept in the home), or it may be a desire to have their remains scattered somewhere meaningful to them. I’m sure the list goes on, but each person has there own thoughts and feelings for this decision. The Christian Bible (The New Testament) does not address this topic. However, the Old Testament (the Jewish Tanach) does address this.

The Jewish belief of living a righteous life, drawing close to our creator Hashem, keeping Hashem’s comments as they are taught to us in the Torah, in this case goes beyond the grave. With this being said I will refer to an article I recently read from the web. The article is from,, titled, “Why does Jewish Law forbid Cremation?”, by Rabbi Naftali Silbererg. I will not be quoting his entire article, but I do encourage everybody to go the Chabad website and read it. He gives an excellent teaching on the Biblical reasons for choosing to be buried.

Rabbi Silberberg presents the fact that our soul comes from our creator, and our body comes from the earth, according to Gen 2:7.
“He breathed into his nostrils the soul of life,” and “the L-rd G-d formed man of the dust of the ground.”
This is followed by G-d telling Adam later in Gen 3:19 that man must return to the ground:
“For dust you are, and to dust you will return.”
The Torah does not stop there, it goes on to Deuteronomy 21:23,
“You shall bury him on that day.”
It does not say, “cremate” him, but it says “bury” him.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe teaches us that our bodies are on loan to us, from G-d for our soul to dwell in. He says that we are guardians of our bodies and have no right to deface it in any way. We are to return our bodies as we had received them. (originally from a letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory, dated 26 Nissan 5729, some of the wording has been modified by myself).

The decision is ours to make, “do I prepay for an urn, or a wooden casket?” Another way to look at it is, “do I follow Torah or my reasoning, and justification?” Another question to ask is, “do we continue to sweep G-d’s teachings under the rug because of changing times, and social norms, or do we stay steadfast, and stand firm on our foundation?”

by, Jim Behnke

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