Vietnam Shliach Races Against Clock to Ensure Jewish Burial

When a visitor to Vietnam contracted covid-19 and passed away, the local authorities wanted to cremate the body, in accordance with Vietnamese law. It took an international effort, spearheaded by shliach Rabbi Menachem Hartman, to bring him to a kevuras yisroel.

Yeshiva World News

An Israeli Jew who was in Vietnam for business purposes contracted the coronavirus a little over a week ago and quickly deteriorated, passing away on Shabbos at the age of 51.

In accordance with Vietnamese law requiring all coronavirus fatalities to be cremated, the authorities were not planning on releasing his body for burial. However, the Chabad shaliach in Vietnam, Rabbi Menachem Hartman, intervened and an international effort to save the niftar from cremation was launched.

“In a race against the clock, we succeeded in releasing the body of the niftar from the hospital and obtained a cremation waiver,” said Rabbi Hartman.

Yossi Landau, a ZAKA International volunteer, said that ZAKA went into action upon receiving the report on Motzei Shabbos. Together with the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Chabad shlichim around the world, they first made efforts to bring the niftar to kevura in Israel but “due to the opposition of the Vietnamese authorities, we had to temporarily bury him in Vietnam.”

”We sent tachrichim from Hong Kong and with a special minyan we held on Zoom with ZAKA volunteers, Chabad shlichim worldwide and the niftar’s relatives, we succeeded in bringing the niftar to kevurah and preventing a serious desecration of kevod hameis.”

Rabbi Yaakov Rosa, the head of ZAKA’s Rabbinical Vaad, instructed Reb Hartman how to prepare the kever and carry out the kevurah with full protective clothing and in accordance with strict Vietnamese regulations.

Rabbi Hartman, accompanied by Vietnamese government officials, buried the niftar in a local cemetery in the hope of reburying him in Israel when pandemic conditions allow it.

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