I was called to perform an emergency Taharah – the ritual cleansing and preparation of a body for burial. I was the rabbi of a large congregation, and although I had participated in Taharot in this funeral home, I had never been summoned for an “emergency Taharah.”
The manager of the funeral home, a friend, walked me to the door of the Taharah room but refused to enter with me. I peeked in and saw that there was a tiny body under the sheet, and assumed that the man, who had suffered the terrible loss of a son-in-law and grandchild in an auto accident, could not bear to see a dead baby.
I prepared everything I would need and uncovered the body. Whatever it was under the sheet barely appeared to be human. I was horrified by what I saw.