Kevod Hamet and Kevod Habriyot: The Honor of the Dead
Rabbanit Leah Sarna / October 12, 2020
Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe have died of COVID-19, and, in most of those cases, the deceased were neither buried nor mourned in typical ways. In this series we will explore some of the core texts about kevod hamet, our obligation to recognize dignity in the dead. In particular, we will look at places where our texts describe kevod hamet as an extension of kevod habriyot, human dignity. What do our obligations to recognize dignity in the dead teach us about our obligations towards the living, and what do our obligations towards the living teach us about our obligations towards the dead? What happens in situations like ours, when those obligations conflict, where to maximally honor the dead would endanger the living?
Rabbanit Leah Sarna
Rabbanit Leah Sarna is the Associate Director of Education and Director of High School Programs at Drisha. She previously served as Director of Religious Engagement at Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation in Chicago, a leading urban Orthodox congregation. She was ordained at Yeshivat Maharat in 2018, holds a BA from Yale University in Philosophy & Psychology, and also trained at the SKA Beit Midrash for Women at Migdal Oz, Drisha and the Center for Modern Torah Leadership. Rabbanit Sarna's published works have appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Lehrhaus and MyJewishLearning. She has lectured in Orthodox synagogues and Jewish communal settings around the world and loves spreading her warm, energetic love for Torah and Mitzvot with Jews in all stages of life.