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Saturday, August 20, 2016

More on Jewish Mourning Customs

Even though the shiva/mourning candle may burn for seven days, actual mourning lasts longer, and the opportunity to comfort a mourner does not expire once the candle ceases to burn.

I know that many of us feel that if we "missed the shiva," didn't have the opportunity to get to a mourner's house to pay a "condolence call," or as it's called in Hebrew לנחם linachem, comfort the mourner/mourners during the  shiva, then it's just too late to do anything about it. That isn't the case at all.

Sometimes, because of a Jewish Holiday, there is no real shiva when one sits. That happened when my maternal grandmother passed away on the Eve of Passover when I was a little girl. She was buried just before the Seder, and her husband and children never had the chance to sit  shiva. My father died this year three days before my grandmother's yartzeit, and I sat until a few hours before the Seder. If I had been in New York for the funeral, I wouldn't have sat shiva at all. Actually I got up before he was even buried, a few hours before Passover, New York time.

When my brother passed away three months later, I flew to New York for the Friday funeral and got home with enough time to, again, sit shiva just three days.  And ever since then, people have been coming over to me to  לנחם linachem. It's really amazing. For the first two and a half weeks after I got up from sitting shiva for my brother, not a day passed without at least one person coming up to me with kind words and/or the traditional Jewish greeting/wishes/farewell to a mourner. A couple of times, people stopped their car and reversed to speak to me, even offering me rides as they apologized for not getting to one of both of the  shivas.

Customers and friends would come up to me at work. And even on Shabbat, people seeing me would say kind comforting words.

I must say that from this I definitely learned a lot. I learned that it's never too late to comfort and mouner and how much the mourner truly appreciates the words and feelings.

Thanks to all...

My father and brother enjoying a relative's backyard pool. They died only three months apart, not all that long ago.


goyisherebbe said...

We were really glad that we were able to get there for the shiva. These transcontinental things are really rough. We should all be blessed to be here in Eretz Yisrael and have our loved ones end up buried in its holy ground.

Batya Medad said...

Yes, appreciated it. Thank the driver...