The commentator Ohr Ha Chaim offers a fascinating alternative suggestion as to why Joseph embalmed his father.Joseph actually did know that his righteous father would not decay. 3, Shevet Halevi 3, Bereishit Rabbah 100:4, Talmud Baba Metziah 84b.) In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln pledged to amend a federal law granting only Christian clergy the right to serve as military chaplains.
4 And the Egyptians will I give over into the hand of a cruel lord; and a fierce king shall rule over them, saith the Lord, the Lord of hosts.
2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Armageddon), and will plead with them there for My people (Jews) and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and Israel desires a "Covenant of Peace" and is willing to divide the land to accommodate.
But he feared that had the Egyptians witnessed this, they would have deified Jacob and worshiped his body, also possibly not allowing him to take the body out of the country. During the Civil War (in which 6,500 Jews served for the North, and another 2,000 for the South), a religious Jew named Michael Allen had been elected as the non-denominational chaplain of his army regiment.
To avoid this, Joseph purposely had him embalmed – so that the Egyptians would attribute his preservation to natural causes. When Allen's Jewishness became "publicized," rather than subject his family to the humiliating ordeal of his dismissal, Allen resigned, citing poor health.
"If you were new in business and an experienced businessman made fun of you, you would not give up trying to make a profit. Thus, when someone recites a blessing expressing gratitude to God or asserting that God has commanded the performance of a particular , one is making a declaration of one's faith.
When we respond by saying "Amen," we are essentially stating, "What you have said is indeed true," and thereby we are not only concurring with what was said and expressing our own faith, but also reinforcing the other person's statement and strengthening the other person's faith.
Rather, it was a non-surgical procedure, in which preservatives were inserted into Jacob’s navel, allowing the body to last during the lengthy mourning period and travel to Israel for burial.
In fact, according to Jewish law, one may do such forms of temporary preservation for the honor of the deceased.
(Today this is done much less invasively with refrigeration.) There is further a debate in the Midrash if Joseph erred in embalming his father (even if it was this more minor procedure).
According to one opinion it was not only justified but requested by Jacob – presumably to preserve his body for the extended period needed.
The body is buried very simply, allowing it to decay and return to the earth as quickly as possible.