This weeks Parsha lays the foundation for everything Neshama strives to accomplish; helping a Meis Mitzvah.
In the first few verses of Parshas Emor, Hashem commands Moshe to speak to the Kohanim (priests) saying, “You may not become impure to a deceased Jew among his people, unless it is a close relative; a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a brother, an unmarried sister, or a wife.” This commandment shows the importance of a Kohen remaining pure. Throughout the Talmud we see examples of decrees made by the Rabbi’s to preserve the holiness and purity of the Kohanim so that if they are needed for service they are ready.
Rashi in his commentary deduces from the verse …”among his people” that this prohibition only refers to a Jew who has relatives to care for his body and soul. If the deceased does not have someone to care for him, they are considered a Meis Mitzvah (unknown deceased) and must be cared for, even by a Kohen.
This exception is so strong, that even a Kohen Gadol (High Priest) on his way to the Temple for service must attend to the Meis Mitzvah, though it makes him impure incapacitating him for temple service. Helping with the burial of a Meis Mitzvah is one of the ultimate kindnesses a person can do. It is a kindness that will not be repaid by the deceased, and is purely spiritual in its nature.
Today, a Meis Mitzvah may take on variations. It can be a person who would otherwise be cremated or buried in a mausoleum. It can be someone who cannot afford the burial of a loved one, or someone who has no family left to care for them. No matter what the situation is Neshama will always provide whatever help or resources are needed. We ask that the community join us in this holy Mitzvah and ensure that every Jew is taken care of as if they were among his people.
Have a wonderful and uplifting Shabbat!