Torah Riddles Test #112

  1. Question: Why does the Shulchan Aruch hold on the second day of yom tov one can cut a branch off a myrtle tree to place the branch on a coffin for a burial but one cannot tear his shirt over the dead until after yom tov?


  1. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 526:4) holds that on the second day of yom tov which is only rabbinic, Jews can bury the dead because the rabbis didn’t enact the yom tov when the mitzvah and respect of burying the dead is required. The Rema holds that if at all possible, the burial should be done by non-Jews, whatever they can do, with Jews just directing what should be done, anything else the non-Jew can’t do the Jews can do.
  2. The Mishna Berura (18) in regard to the myrtle branch says that in places where there is a custom to place a myrtle branch on the coffin, even though it is not part of the main mitzvah of burial, but because it is an honor to the dead it’s allowed.
  3. The Shulchan Aruch says in 526:11 that one should not tear kriah over the dead on the second day of yom tov, even his relatives.

Answer: The Mishna Berura (50) says that tearing clothes over the dead is not for the need of the dead. It is for the mourners to grieve whereas breaking off the myrtle branch to place on the coffin is an honor for the dead and therefore can be done as part of the burial.