Sanhedrin 47 - The Honor of the Dead

Is burial practiced because it avoids disgrace to the deceased and his family, or is it practiced because it gains atonement for the deceased? When would it make a difference? When one declares that after he dies he does not wish his corpse be buried. If burial is because of the disgrace to his family, he cannot refuse burial and thus disgrace his family. If it is because of his own atonement - he has clearly stated that he does not want atonement, and there would be no reason to bury him.

The Talmud does not resolve this question, but the prevailing practice is that if one does not wish to be buried, his wishes are disregarded.

Is eulogy delivered for the honor of the living, that is, the relatives who survive the deceased, or is it for the honor of the dead? Since the deceased receives atonement though various disgraces if they befall his corpse, it follows that a eulogy is for the honor of the dead person himself.

Art: Caravaggio - Burial of St. Lucy