The Aron Mehudar:
An Open-Bottomed Casket for True “Kevurah B’Karkah”
One of NASCK’s initiatives is the Aron Mehudar. This innovative casket was designed with removable bottom panels, which enables the deceased to be buried directly in the ground with the greatest Kavod.
The source for in-ground burial is found in the Torah, “עפר אתה ואל עפר תשוב” “For you are dust and you shall return to dust,” (Breishis 3:19). Sources like the Gesher HaChaim—all the way back to the Ramban—hold that in order to affect the proper “return to dust,” either there should be no Aron or the bottom panel of the Aron should be removed. For a fuller understanding of the various Minhagim regarding an Aron and burial directly in the ground, please see Rabbi Avraham Steinberg’s article entitled “The Casket Controversy,” by clicking here.
It is important to understand that both a traditional Aron, with holes drilled in the bottom, and the Aron Mehudar, with a removable bottom, are acceptable. Each has support in Halachic literature.
Advantage of the Aron Mehudar
Prior to this Aron being available, the only option for those who wanted the bottom panel to be removed was for a member of the Chevra Kadisha to go down into the grave and remove it. This procedure is often misconstrued as being disrespectful to the niftar.
When using the Aron Mehudar all that is required is for four people to pull gently on ropes that raise the two bottom panels so they are alongside the sides of the Aron, allowing the Niftar to rest peacefully on the earth. The video above demonstrates this procedure.
We look forward to assisting any Chevra Kadisha with obtaining and learning to use this innovative option.