75 words for 75 years of Israel – Mavet/Death

In honor of Israel’s 75th birthday, Israel365 is excited to launch a new series of essays that will unlock the secrets of the Hebrew Bible!

Excerpted from Rabbi Akiva Gersh’s forthcoming book, 75 Hebrew Words You Need to Understand the Bible (available soon!) these essays illuminate the connection between related Hebrew words, revealing Biblical secrets only accessible through Hebrew.Enjoy the series – and happy 75th birthday to the State of Israel!





“God spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they drew too close to the presence of God.” (Leviticus 16:1) 

וידבר יהוה אל משה אחרי מות שני בני אהרן בקרבתם לפני יהוה וימתו. 

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you and your offspring would live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

העידתי בכם היום את השמים ואת הארץ החיים והמות נתתי לפניך הברכה והקללה ובחרת בחיים למען תחיה אתה וזרעך.

Though the Bible is focused almost exclusively on life and how to live in a righteous and Godly way, death is an inescapable reality and a necessary part of God’s creation, as it says, “A time to give birth and a time to die” (Ecclesiastes 3:2).

There are many laws and rituals surrounding death, guiding us through our loved ones’ final moments on this earth, burial, and how to properly mourn during the days, weeks and months after death. These laws include washing and purifying the body of the deceased, burying the dead as quickly as possible, sitting shiva for seven days at home to properly mourn the passing of a close relative, and reciting a special prayer called the Kaddish for eleven months after a relative’s death to honor the deceased. These laws and rituals are critically important for mourners, guiding them and providing them comfort during the most difficult moments of life.

Though modern culture generally avoids serious discussion of death, an awareness of the inevitability of death and our limited time on this earth can help us live a more meaningful life. Life is short, and time is a precious commodity that we must appreciate and use to the fullest in our service of God.

At the end of days, during the era of redemption, God will resurrect the dead and fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy: “He will swallow up death forever, and God will wipe away tears from off all faces, and the reproach of His people will He take away from off all the earth; for God has spoken it” (Isaiah 25:8). May we soon see that day.

The Israel Bible Team


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