# 2895 Kashes on Ashes

Q. Someone who acquired a small building next to a non-Jewish cemetery, wants to use it as a columbarium for storing the cremation ashes of the dead. These are kept in urns placed in niches or on shelves all around the walls of the building. Since he charges for those niches and their upkeep. is it prohibited since he is deriving benefit from death? Does it matter that they are Gentiles?
A. Poskim disagree if the cadavers of Gentiles are included on the prohibition of deriving benefit from the dead. Shulchan Aruch (Y. D. 349: 1) rules that they are, However, Hagr’a quotes Rashba and Tosafot that they are excluded from the prohibition. Pischei Teshuva (ibid. 1) cites opinions that they are only Rabbinicaly prohibited.
Poskim also debate whether the ashes of cremated bodies are included in the prohibition of deriving benefit from the dead and if the fact that there is a mitzva of burial which may not apply to Gentiles, makes a difference or no. (See Minchas Chinuch 146: 17. See also question 1008 and 1322 regarding the transplant of different organs and body parts).
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion is that in principle and in need, the building could be used as a columbarium.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised By Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a

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