Ḥibbut Ha-Kever

views updated


ḤIBBUT HA-KEVER (Heb. חִבּוּט הַקֶּבֶר, "beating in the grave"), punishment mentioned in an early aggadah which was treated more widely by the kabbalists. According to this belief, the deceased is punished for his sins not only by the torments of gehinnom ("hell") and the transmigration of his soul, but also by being struck with a fiery chain immediately after burial by the Angel of Death (or the angel Duma, cf. Ber. 18b). Only those who die in Ereẓ Israel or, if outside, who are buried on Friday afternoon before sunset, are exempted from this punishment. To ward off ḥibbut ha-kever the kabbalists counseled acts of charity and the fervent recitation of prayers. Of particular efficacy in this regard is remembering one's Hebrew name when asked for it by the Angel of Death. To engrave this name in their memories, pious Jews after concluding the recitation of the *Amidah, add a biblical verse, the first and last letters of which correspond to the first and last letters of their Hebrew name.

See list in Siddur Avodat Yisrael, 106–7.


H. Schauss, The Lifetime of a Jew (1950), 282f.