Orthodox Jew wraps himself in plastic bag on plane flying over cemetery

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Orthodox Jew wraps himself in plastic bag on plane flying over cemetery


It's not a sight you'll see very often on a plane - a man wrapped up in a plastic bag usually used for cadavers.

The image was originally uploaded to Reddit, along with the caption: "An Orthodix Jew in an airplane with women - so he covers himself with a plastic bag."

However, one user, 'thenewyorkgod', points out it is doubtful that women are the problem, writing: "This has nothing to do with women. He is a cohen [or Kohen], descendant from the high holy priests of the temple and they are not allowed to walk into or fly over a cemetery, which would render them impure."

According the Jewish Press: "Kohenim are prohibited from coming into contact with dead bodies, and many rabbis have taken the strict opinion that a Kohen may not ride in a plane if he knows ahead of time that it will fly directly over a Jewish cemetery."

Rabbi Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, the leader of the Lithuanian Haredi community in Israel, published the halakhic ruling stipulating that Kohens mustn't fly in certain planes because they are prohibited from flying over a cemetery.

However, according to Haaretz, Rabbi Eliashiv found a solution to the issue, "ruling that wrapping oneself in thick plastic bags while the plane crossed over the cemetery is permissible."

Why? Because it will separate the man from impurities.

In 2002, flight crew got into a dispute with an ultra-Orthodox passenger, flying from Israel to Britain on El Al Airlines, who wanted to wrap himself in a plastic bag. The pilot was not happy about it, and returned to Ben Gurion International airport to remove the passenger from the plane.

Whilst the airline had originally said it would agree to Rabbi Eliashiv's plastic bag solution, it stated in 2001 that Kohens could not tie themselves in sealed bags on the plane while it flew over the Holon cemetery due to "flight safety considerations", reports Haaretz.

It is not known which airline this particular image was taken on, but the man reportedly got to his destination safely.

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