Skip to main content

Death, Kiss of

DEATH, KISS OF

Scripture records that "Aaron the priest ascended Mount Hor by the mouth of the Lord and died there" (Num. 33:38); and that "Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab by the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 34:5). The words "by the mouth of the Lord" were interpreted literally by the rabbis; they died there by the kiss of the Lord – which was given after Moses' soul absolutely refused to leave his body (Deut. R. 11:10) – and not through the agency of the Angel of Death, who was not granted dominion over them. Miriam and the three Patriarchs were said to have died in the same manner (bb 17a). Although only these six are named, sudden death after the age of 80 was also regarded as death through the kiss (mk 28a). Further, after his death R. *Naḥman b. Jacob appeared to Rabbah in a dream and told him that his death was as easy as drawing a hair out of milk; this is the way in which the kiss of death is described (ibid.). The description may be compared with that in the Koran (Sura 79:1) in the commentary of al-Bayḍāwī: "When a righteous person dies, the angel of death … makes the soul leave the body like a drop taken out of a bucket of water." The kiss is the easiest of the 903 kinds of death (the numerical value of תוצאות, toẓa'ot, in Ps. 68:21, "to God the Lord belong the issues [toẓa'ot] of death").

[Harry Freedman]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Death, Kiss of." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Death, Kiss of." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 20, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/death-kiss

"Death, Kiss of." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved October 20, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/death-kiss

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.