Is There Significance in Family Burial Plots in the Bible?

Jewish Burial Plots in the Bible

As many of you know, I’m a weirdo and am interested in things like death and burial. While I am an advocate for green burial (also known as “natural burial” – burial without embalming, burial vaults/grave liners, sealed caskets or any other non-biodegradable materials), I am still an advocate for family/community burial plots. These plots not only serve a historical function in helping people research their own genealogy, but even in Tanakh, being buried along with your family had very strong significance. In 1 Kings 13, there is a prophet of HaShem who disobeys the Creator. What is his punishment? When he died, he would not be buried along with his family. Not necessarily an unmarked grave, but just not along with his family.

“‘You came back and ate bread and drank water in the place where he told you not to eat or drink. Therefore your body will not be buried in the tomb of your ancestors.’” – 1 Kings 13:22


The Order of the Good Death – Being Death Positive While Remaining Genuine About Death

The Order of the Good Death
The Order of the Good Death

This will be a brief post on a great site/idea that I’ve come across in my search of the internet for information on death culture that isn’t too dark or either too campy – a place that’s just REAL about death. Anyways, the website is called The Order of the Good Death. I found out about this group of death-positive morticians, green burial enthusiasts, and advocates for practical funeral planning through a series of videos on YouTube entitled Ask a Mortician in which the eclectic mortician and all-around death culture guru Caitlin Doughty answers any and all questions about death, the dead, funeral planning, and the funeral industry. The videos range from anywhere from “ew, gross” to compelling to laughing out loud. The Order of the Good Death are also active on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. Check them out for some entertaining and compelling death-positive content.

Preparedness – Popping the American Bubble of Denial

This blog is in no way bad-mouthing Americans. I am an American myself. It is simply pointing out an observation. 

When I’m in a restaurant or some other place, my wife will frequently tell me to stop staring at people. When I’m waiting somewhere for one thing or another, I like to spend my time people-watching. I really enjoy studying how people live and reasons why they live that way. People fascinate me – both the good and the bad characteristics. One of the characteristics I’ve noticed the most about the average American is a constant denial that bad things can happen to them or untruths they’re been conditioned to believing. This has manifested itself in many different forms. These are just a few of them I’ve personally noticed.


Form of denial #1: America is the greatest country in the world. 

America's the greatest country on earth? Please tell me more about how perfect it is and how every other country in this world sucks!

Most Americans would agree that America is by far the greatest country in the world to the extent that many would say that America is God’s gift to Earth. Many would say this not only without any knowledge of many of other countries, but also after not having visited many other countries. Many would say that America is great for it’s freedom and strength, but still haven’t researched what freedoms other countries and have no unit for measuring “strength.” Is national debt taken into account when measuring a country’s strength? I’m not necessarily debunking this myth that America is the greatest country, but simply asking the question to those who make this statement: how do you know?

Form of denial #2: All is well with our governmental system. We are not being lied to. 

Mother, should I trust the government? Pink Floyd, The Wall graffiti

While most Americans will yell at the politician on the television over something they said, many believe that the government is an all-around good thing and at the end of the day, wants what’s best for you. Most people will believe that all wars America takes part in, it takes part in for an extremely honest and straight-forward reason. Most will say that taxes are necessary for the building of roads and other infrastructure and that no politician takes office because they have a fascination with power or prestige. 

Form of denial #3: Our financial system is sound. My cash is worth something. 

When most people look at inflation, they just see it as things simply costing more than they used to. Most people do not really care to take a look at the nuts and bolts of the way our money works in comparison to how much it’s worth. Before the Federal Reserve was set up in 1913, the dollar in your pocket lined up to a value of precious metals. Cash was just a series of notes that said “this is a note that represents some cash somewhere”, somewhat acting as the deed to your gold or silver. When the Federal Reserve Bank – not a governmental entity – was put in charge the U.S. monetary system, the “value” of those dollars was determined by a group of economists who would decide how much American currency should be worth in order help the economy run more smoothly. Many people also know that this entity, the Federal Reserve Bank, has no governmental oversight and is under no obligation to report who it has been lending money to or how they came to the conclusion of how much money is worth. This has caused tremendous hyperinflation. Belgium went through a period  of hyperinflation when their currency lost it’s value and basically came trash: 
Belgium inflation - money in the streets.


It can’t happen here, though, right?

Form of denial #4: Guns kill people. 

Gun-free zone.
Whenever a report of a new shooting occurs, people are quick to show support for advanced gun restrictions. The common belief is that guns are dangerous objects and their mere existence is dangerous to the public. Still whenever someone bludgeons or stabs someone to death, the person is immediately blamed for their behavior. Why is this? Primarily, some a misunderstanding of guns. 

A gun cannot fire a bullet unless the trigger is pulled or the firing pun somehow makes contact with the car
tridge in some forceful way – such as being dropped or mishandled. In such a case of a misfire, safety precautions have not been maintained much in the same way that someone can be killed in a car crash because they do not wear their seat belt. More people die on the highways each year than at firing range or while in the proximity of people with firearms. The difference is that people do not think about the likelihood of being killed in a car than being shot to death with a gun. We are all dramatically more likely to be killed in a car wreck than shot with a gun. Also, it takes little more effort to stab someone in the throat than to shoot them in the throat, but we also see no ban on kitchen knives.

Form of denial #5: I will never have to actually experience death. 

The body of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin has been on display since his death in 1924.
The body of Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin has been on display since his death in 1924.

Yes, we all know we are going to die one day, but do we all really accept this? If you’ve ever ridden in a car, you should understand that there is a possibility of not making it to your destination alive. Still, thanks to modern Christian theology from present-day teachers along with the funeral industry, death is something few people actually have to face until they are on it’s doorstep. Modern Christian theology states that when your body dies, your soul immediately leaves you body and ascends to heaven. Though there is little actual evidence of this scientifically or Scripturally, it sounds really nice so most people readily accept this interpretation. Most accept this because they don’t want to actually face the reality that one day, they’re going to die and they’re body will either be burned or placed in the ground for decomposition to take place. In Judaism, not much about heaven is taught other than it’s somewhere other than here. There is little mention of at what time a soul goes there or if the person actually experiences their own death. Still, if one subscribes to the notion that they will immediately be beamed into immortality forever, death is something someone can unconsciously forgo ever having to face until they are moments from it and they may not be ready.

Evidence of American denial of death can be seen in the “traditional” method of burial – which is quite unique to America. When someone dies, their body is preserved for optimal viewing for loved ones – embalmed so as to remove the evidence of death. They are often placed in a “sealed” coffin which is places in a concrete burial vault, which prevents the casket from leaking or decomposing within the ground. Many like this idea, as no one wants to think about their loved one actually being dead, in the ground, decomposing. It’s altogether too much to handle. 

Let’s pop the bubble of denial. 

Once people are allowed to pop the bubble of denial, they can begin to face their own fate and prepare for the truths on the other side. 
If someone could happier in another country, why not move there? 
If someone is being lied to by their government, why not call them out on it and attempt to change things for the better?
If your money may or may not be worth anything, instead of losing money or being the victim of a possible economic collapse, why not invest in gold or silver in order to help maintain the value of your savings? 
If guns are nothing more than tools, why put any more restrictions on them anymore than drugs, knives, or automobiles?
If you accept that you’re actually going to die one day, why not take a more active role in planning for a burial that is more financially and environmentally responsible as well as treat people with kindness as though you may not have the opportunity to do so tomorrow? 

Living in the denial is simply postponing important decisions that need to be made now instead of later. Today, think about a few things you may be in denial about and see if there’s anything you need to question or accept before it’s too late. There are few things we are absolutely immune to. The sooner we realize this, the better.