Preparing for Death

Jewish law is adamant that a dying person is treated with the same respect due any living person. The mitzvah of visiting the sick is of great importance and it is a privilege and an honor to sit with a dying person, offer comfort, and ease her through this passage. To be presentto listen, to touch, to accept, to apologize, to forgiveare all invaluable gifts to one who is preparing for death and probably to oneself as well. Many Jews throughout history have written ethical wills, sharing the sum of their life’s learning with their descendants. It is also traditional to say a final confession, or vidui, as the end of life approaches. Today, given medical advances, end-of-life issues have assumed greater importance. Jewish tradition forbids hastening death and at the same time permits removing impediments to death. Knowing whether removing life support constitutes one or the other is a decision best made with medical experts, family members, and spiritual guides.


Latest Rituals

“My mother was at peace, so I could be at peace.”
closeup of elderly woman's hands being held by younger person's hands, both light-skinned

“Help us to find holiness in this time”

Prayer of a Family Facing Difficult Medical Decisions

“We offer our praise for the life that you give us’

Prayer for One Nearing the End of Life

“The once noisy room now / hears only mists of whispers”

One Loved

“Death is my teacher”

Every Day a Little Death

Booklet featuring a variety of texts on the concept of a “good death”

The Dying Well Project

“We do not disappear into nothingness”

Eternal Rest, Eternal Peace
Vidui for Coronavirus
Deathbed Ritual
Loved Ones’ Vidui

The Reconstructionist Network

Spiritual Revolutionaries:
The Ba’al Shem Tov

The Ba’al Shem Tov was a mystic, healer and teacher. Together, we will explore some of his radical innovations, teachings and practices through text study, reflections and practical exercises. Six sessions starting October 16, 2023.

Get the latest from Ritualwell

Subscribe for the latest rituals, online learning opportunities, and unique Judaica finds from our store.