Formerly, they used to uncover the face of the rich [dead] and cover the face of the poor [dead] because their faces [i.e., of the poor dead] turned black in years of dearth and the surviving poor [near-of-kin] felt ashamed; hence, they ordained that one should cover everyone's face.1M.K. 27a. Cf. ibid. for other customs which were in vogue formerly but were changed later out of respect to those who would suffer embarrassment. Once the corpse is placed in the coffin and covered one must not open it in order to view the body — Kol Bo(G) I, p. 36.
A scroll of Law is not placed on a scholar's bier.2Derived from M.K. 25a in connection with the death of R. Huna. Should, however, the scroll of Law be placed on a stool or the like in the presence of the dead, it would be permissible — ShaK. Nowadays even this is no longer practiced — A.H.
The honour of a scholar [requires] that he be taken out [in his bier] through the door and not to lower him from the roof; and [he should be taken out] on the first bier3The bed in which he died. Nowadays this is no longer practiced — A.H. and not to transfer him from one bier to another.4M.K. ibid.
An infant [who dies] within thirty days [after birth] is carried out in one's arms5Lit. ‘bosom.’ This means that one is not required to carry out the infant save in one’s arms. Should one, however, desire to use a bier, it would be permissible — ShaK. to the cemetery and not in a coffin, and is buried by one woman and two men but not by one man and two women, on account of privacy.6Cf. Kid. 80b where it is stated: ‘A man may not be alone with two women, but one woman may be alone with two men.’ If the two women are related to the infant it is permissible, for since they are in grief on the loss of the infant, they will not yield to temptation — D.M. And one does not stand in the line [of comforters] for him,7e., one is not required to do so, but may, if he so desires. Upon returning from the cemetery, the people would pass by the mourners in a line and would say תתנחמו ‘Be comforted.’ Cf. San. 19a. Later this was reversed. The people would stand in two rows and the mourners would pass between them. This is the accepted practice today. nor does one recite for him the mourners' benediction,8This refers to the ברכת רחבה ‘the benediction of consolation’ pronounced in open air upon the mourner’s return from burial. Ket. 8b. nor does one offer condolence to the mourners,9During the seven days of mourning. The source of this ruling is M.K. 24a-b. even if we are certain that his months [of pregnancy] were complete.10M.K. ibid., Tosaf. s.v. ואין contra Rashi.
One who is thirty complete days old, is taken out [for burial] in a case, (i.e., a coffin; 'and he was put in a coffin',11Gen. L, 26. is rendered by Targum Jonathan, ושוון יתיה בגלוסקמא),12N. Yos. — G. גלוסקמא or דלוסקמא is the Greek form γλωσσóκομαν. that is carried in the arms,13By two people in a respectful manner. (i.e., a wide board; אגפיים means arms); and one stands in the line [of comforters] for it, and one recites for it the mourners' benediction, and one offers condolence to the mourners.14M.K. 24b in accord with R. Judah. Cf. Sem(H). p. 23 supra par. 4 and notes. One twelve months old is taken out [for burial] on a bier. For one who is taken out on a bier the public show their grief; for one who is not taken out on a bier the public need not show their grief.15M.K. ibid. in accord with R. Simeon b. Eleazar. And whoever is known to the people at large,16They used to see him leave his home — Rashi. the public should attend to him; and whoever is not known to the people at large, the public need not attend to him.17M.K. ibid. in accord with R. Eleazar.
[With respect to] an infant that died18 supra § 263, 5; O.Ḥ § 526, 10. before it was circumcised,19e., it died before the eight day. The same ruling applies if the infant was eight days old or more but for valid reasons could not be circumcised — ShaK. [the law is that] one circumcises it at its grave20 San. 110b where the question is raised, ‘From when may an infant enter the future world,’ and according to R. Naḥman b. Isaac, — from its circumcision. Cf. also Asheri M.K. III, who reports this ruling on the authority of R. Naḥshon Gaon. Kol Bo explains that the infant is circumcised in order to remove its disgrace. Hag. Maim. Yad, Milah 1, 15; supra § 263, 5. If they forgot to circumcise it, the grave may be opened for this purpose. Thus Kneseth Ezekiel. Nodah Bihudah rejects this. Me’ir Nethibim writes that if the mother also died, and the infant was buried along with the mother, the grave should not be opened, but the child is named — P.Tesh. This applies even to an infant that was born after eight months of pregnancy — G.Mah. without [reciting the usual] benediction; and one [also] names it [then].21 supra § 263, 5, where Caro adds: ‘as a sign that Heaven should have pity on it, and that it should live at the resurrection of the dead.’
A corpse is not taken out [for burial] on a bier unless its head and the greater part of its body are intact.22Sem(H). XII, 13 in accord with the first authority. Cf. infra § 364, 3.