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    Pouring out the water – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why is it customary to pour out the water from vessels in a house where a person has died?

    A. There are several theories.

    A prosaic explanation is that this is an indirect way of making it known that a person has passed away. This was considered better than to spread the bad news by word of mouth.

    Some link it to an episode in the wilderness: when Miriam died her well stopped flowing.

    A person’s life is like a flowing well and death deprives the world of the person’s vitality.

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