Saturday, March 19, 2005

Respecting the dead

It seems to me that this piceof gemara is a very important one when we're dealing with the question of whether a man might be permitted to take an aliyah or other honor in a place where women are not counted.

Berachot 18a
it has been taught: A man should not walk in a cemetery with tefillin on his head or a scroll of the Law in his arm, and recite the Shema’, and if he does so, he comes under the heading of ‘He that mocketh the poor blasphemeth his Maker’? — In that case the act is forbidden within four cubits of the dead, but beyond four cubits the obligation [to say Shema’ etc.] devolves. For a Master has said: A dead body affects four cubits in respect of the recital of the Shema’. But in this case he is exempt even beyond four cubits.

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