When a person dies, the soul or neshama hovers around the body.
This neshama is the essence of the person, the consciousness and totality
- the thoughts, deeds, experiences and relationships.
The body was its
container while it lasted, and the neshama, now on the way to the Eternal
World, refuses to leave until the body is buried. In effect, the totality
of the person who died continues to exist for a while in the vicinity of the
A Jewish funeral is, therefore, most concerned with the feelings of
the deceased, and not only the feelings of the mourners. How we treat the
body, and how we behave around the body, must reflect how we would act around
the very person himself at this crucial moment.