Likkut Aẓamot

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LIKKUT AẒAMOT (Heb. לִקּוּט עֲצָמוֹת; lit., "gathering of the bones"). In ancient Ereẓ Israel, the interment of the corpse did not take place immediately after death. First the body was left in the sepulchral chamber for some time until it was reduced to a mere skeleton, and afterward the bones were gathered together and then solemnly interred in the final resting place (tj, mk 1:5; 80c–d; Sem. 12). This duty was generally performed one year after death by the children of the deceased and the laws of mourning were practiced on the day of the final interment (mk 8a; Sem. 12). Mourning was not continued the next day even if the gathering of the remains was only then completed. It was forbidden to deliver mournful eulogies on this occasion, and public condolences were not extended. However, the departed was praised and private condolences were conveyed (mk 8a; Sem. 12–13). The remains had to be reverently handled, and they could not, for example, be transported to their final resting place in a saddle bag (Ber. 18a). It was not considered respectful for the son to touch the remains of his parents directly with his bare hands (Sem. 12). Those engaged in the meritorious deed of likkut aẓamot were exempt from reading the *Shema, and from all other positive commandments (Sem. 13). The gathering of the bones could not take place during the intermediate festival days since such an event would infringe upon the joy of the festival (mk 1:5). The laws pertaining to likkut aẓamot are also applicable in instances when *disinterment is permissible. However, when the coffin is still intact and is not opened during the disinterment procedure, the laws of mourning do not apply (tj, Sanh. 6:11, 23d).


S. Krauss, in: rej, 97 (1934), 1–34; J.M. Tukacinsky, Gesher ha-Ḥayyim, 1 (19602), 276–82; 2 (19602), 183–91; J.J. (L.) Greenwald (Grunwald), Kol Bo al Avelut, 1 (1947), 223–49; 2 (1951), 75–94.