Monday, March 1, 2021

Not Accountable

Someone close to someone close to me committed suicide last week.  I was searching on the internet for something sensible to say to one of the relatives, and to be honest, I couldn't find much there that felt right.

Until I read this:

Jewish law forbids the taking of one’s own life. It is considered a grave sin. And yet, in most cases of suicide, the law assumes a suicide victim to have been severely ill, to the point that he or she cannot be held accountable. The understanding is that if these people were healthy, if they were cognizant of the gravity of what taking their lives would mean, they would never have willingly chosen to carry out the horrific act. In cases of impaired mental health, a suicide victim is exactly that. A victim. A victim of a terrible, horrible, devastating illness that needs to be addressed head-on, without embarrassment or reprisals or stigma.  Source

That is why a ''suicide'' is always given the benefit of the doubt and permitted to be buried in a Jewish cemetary, and not on the outskirts of the cemetery.  We do not know the state of mind of the suicide, even if we may think we do.  We always say that the person was ''out of their mind''.

I think this is a very comforting thing to think, whether or not it is true, that is something we will never know.  But most of the time, it probably is true.

11 comments:

Nonee said...

May Hashem have mercy.

May Hashem also have mercy on those going through mental trauma.

In the end... Only Hashem knows each person and their thoughts and their hearts.

Who ever the family is, may Hashem help them through this very hard time. Amen.

nonee

moshe said...

Well said, nonee. Shelo neida! May H' have mercy on all those hurting souls! May H' have mercy on all creation and send us speedily our righteous Moshiach, and the knowledge of Hashem will reign Supreme and fill the earth with eternal goodness and life.

crsofnj said...

I asked a rabbi what happens to the neshamah after suicide. He stated, but I don't know the source, that if someone went to that extreme to kill themselves, they undoubtedly did not finish their tikkun, therefore, that neshamah will immediately have a gilgul in order to finish their tikkun. That would be very comforting to know, especially if you are so troubled and cannot come to yourself missing that person. If you know the source, please post...

Leah said...

Yes, this is true. This August will be 29 years since I have heard my beloved brother's voice. He is buried next to all of our relatives. It is said that he would not have made his choice if his mind was clear. He talked a friend out of suicide a few weeks earlier than his own death.
Only Hashem and the person truly know what he/she go through.
May Hashem bring us to a time when we hear "Ani Hashem...." at the coming of Moshiach speedily and soon.

LondonMale said...

My condolences.
We truly do not know what was in their mind.
These are very tough times.
We really need Mashiach.

Devorah said...

crsofnj: I believe that even a suicide needs permission from Above to succeed. There are many who don't, some are saved by a miracle, some are left comatose for the rest of their lives. Some are left with dreaful injuries that can never be fully healed chas v'shalom.

But I also believe what you heard from your rabbi is true, and the soul will probably come back again. Hopefully this time to a happier life.

Devorah said...

And sorry, I don't have a source, not sure if I'd find one on the internet. I think gilgulim [reincarnations] are not something we know for sure about any person, even though they happen all the time. We can see signs sometimes, and it is said that if you name a baby after a person then they have a piece of their neshama.

Devorah said...

You might like to read Sha'ar HaGilGulim by the great Arizal - Isaac Luria
https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/378771/jewish/Gate-of-Reincarnations.htm

Devorah said...

Leah I’m sorry about your brother but happy he’s buried with family. As he should be.

Yakov Butterfield said...

It has been 28 years since my Brother ended his life. Materially he had everything.

Leah said...

Thank you. Yes, I believe we will see our relatives one day when Moshiach comes. Hashem cures ills, it has been explained to me. First, they come back with their illness and them The Healer cures.
Cannot quote the source...
Shabbat shalom u'mevorach.