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    Burying suicides – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Are suicides still buried at the edge of the cemetery?

    A. As life is a gift from God it must be cherished and preserved. Taking one’s own life was therefore regarded by Judaism as the ultimate act of defiance of the Divine will. Hence the communal disapproval of what the suicide had done led to the ruling that relatives do not sit shivah for him or her, and it was the practice of many communities to bury a suicide away from the main part of the cemetery.

    The long-accepted approach has, however, been to say that a person who suicides does so under extreme pressure and cannot be considered as consciously and deliberately acting to spite and defy God, and normal burial is therefore accorded them.

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