Mourning: Burial


At the burial, the officiant will help mourners make a tear in their clothing, a practice called kriyah. Today most funeral homes will offer a black ribbon on a pin that one may tear instead of a garment of clothing if you’d prefer. The mourner wears this torn garment throughout the next seven days as a visible symbol of their loss.

After the prayers and eulogies have been said, the immediate mourners, followed by the others in attendance, place earth upon the grave once the casket is lowered into the ground. This physical gesture gives a concrete sense of finality and, as the last act of kindness shown to the deceased, is among the highest mitzvot. It is traditional for the family and friends to perform the burial themselves. Today, we make certain that the entire top of the coffin is covered with earth, and all of the sides are filled in, before walking away from the graveside.