Judaism Life, Death and Mourning
You don't have to add a wife's maiden name. It is actually done It's also one of the most famous tombstone quotes to date! Here is a modern .. This epitaph quote provides comfort to those mourning the loss of someone special. We be will. One cemetery visitor thought he was "having hallucinations" when he saw It was erected by her grieving father Rais Shameev long after his. Whether the stone is placed directly over the grave, as a footstone or headstone, the monument serves three purposes: Double monuments are frequently used by man and wife, two unmarried -The date and approximate hour of death.
Death is a natural process. Our deaths, like our lives, have meaning and are all part of G-d 's plan.
ABCs of Death & Mourning
In addition, we have a firm belief in an afterlifea world to come, where those who have lived a worthy life will be rewarded. Mourning practices in Judaism are extensive, but they are not an expression of fear or distaste for death. Jewish practices relating to death and mourning have two purposes: Care for the Dead After a person dies, the eyes are closed, the body is laid on the floor and covered, and candles are lit next to the body.
The body is never left alone until after burial, as a sign of respect.
The people who sit with the dead body are called shomerim, from the root Shin-Mem-Reish, meaning "guards" or "keepers". Respect for the dead body is a matter of paramount importance. For example, the shomerim may not eat, drink, or perform a commandment in the presence of the dead. To do so would be considered mocking the dead, because the dead can no longer do these things.
Most communities have an organization to care for the dead, known as the chevra kaddisha the holy society. These people are volunteers. Their work is considered extremely meritorious, because they are performing a service for someone who can never repay them. Autopsies in general are discouraged as desecration of the body.
They are permitted, however, where it may save a life or where local law requires it. When autopsies must be performed, they should be minimally intrusive. The presence of a dead body is considered a source of ritual impurity. For this reason, a kohein may not be in the presence of a corpse. People who have been in the presence of a body wash their hands before entering a home. This is done to symbolically remove spiritual impurity, not physical uncleanness: In preparation for the burial, the body is thoroughly cleaned and wrapped in a simple, plain linen shroud.
The Sages decreed that both the dress of the body and the coffin should be simple, so that a poor person would not receive less honor in death than a rich person. The body is wrapped in a tallit with its tzitzit rendered invalid. The body is not embalmed, and no organs or fluids may be removed. According to some sources, organ donation is permitted, because the subsequent burial of the donee will satisfy the requirement of burying the entire body.
The body must not be cremated. It must be buried in the earth. Coffins are not required, but if they are used, they must have holes drilled in them so the body comes in contact with the earth. The body is never displayed at funerals; open casket ceremonies are forbidden by Jewish law. According to Jewish law, exposing a body is considered disrespectful, because it allows not only friends, but also enemies to view the dead, mocking their helpless state.
Mourning Jewish mourning practices can be broken into several periods of decreasing intensity. These mourning periods allow the full expression of grief, while discouraging excesses of grief and allowing the mourner to gradually return to a normal life. When a close relative parent, sibling, spouse or child first hears of the death of a relative, it is traditional to express the initial grief by tearing one's clothing.
The tear is made over the heart if the deceased is a parent, or over the right side of the chest for other relatives. This tearing of the clothing is referred to as keriyah lit.
The mourner recites the blessing describing G-d as "the true Judge," an acceptance of G-d's taking of the life of a relative.
From the time of death to the burial, the mourner's sole responsibility is caring for the deceased and preparing for the burial. This period is known as aninut. During this time, the mourners are exempt from all positive commandments "thou shalts"because the preparations take first priority. This period usually lasts a day or two; Judaism requires prompt burial.
During this aninut period, the family should be left alone and allowed the full expression of grief. Condolence calls or visits should not be made during this time. After the burial, a close relative, near neighbor or friend prepares the first meal for the mourners, the se'udat havra'ah meal of condolence.
This meal traditionally consists of eggs a symbol of life and bread. The meal is for the family only, not for visitors. After this time, condolence calls are permitted. The next period of mourning is known as shiva seven, because it lasts seven days. Shiva is observed by parents, children, spouses and siblings of the deceased, preferably all together in the deceased's home. Shiva begins on the day of burial and continues until the morning of the seventh day after burial.
Mourners sit on low stools or the floor instead of chairs, do not wear leather shoes, do not shave or cut their hair, do not wear cosmetics, do not work, and do not do things for comfort or pleasure, such as bathe, have sex, put on fresh clothing, or study Torah except Torah related to mourning and grief. Mourners wear the clothes that they tore at the time of learning of the death or at the funeral.
Mirrors in the house are covered. Prayer services are held where the shiva is held, with friends, neighbors and relatives making up the minyan 10 people required for certain prayers.
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If a festival occurs during the mourning period, the mourning is terminated, but if the burial occurs during a festival, the mourning is delayed until after the festival. The Shabbat that occurs during the shiva period counts toward the seven days of shiva, and does not end the mourning period.
Public mourning practices such as wearing the torn clothes, not wearing shoes are suspended during this period, but private mourning continues. The next period of mourning is known as shloshim thirty, because it lasts until the 30th day after burial. During that period, the mourners do not attend parties or celebrations, do not shave or cut their hair, and do not listen to music.
The final period of formal mourning is avelut, which is observed only for a parent. This period lasts for twelve months after the burial. During that time, mourners avoid parties, celebrations, theater and concerts. For eleven months of that period, starting at the time of burial, the son of the deceased recites the mourner's Kaddish every day. After the avelut period is complete, the family of the deceased is not permitted to continue formal mourning; however, there are a few continuing acknowledgments of the decedent.
Every year, on the anniversary of the death, family members observe the deceased's Yahrzeit Yiddishlit. On the Yahrzeit, sons recite Kaddish and take an aliyah bless the Torah reading in synagogue if possible, and all mourners light a candle in honor of the decedent that burns for 24 hours.
Thus, the first day of the shiva is the day of the burial. If the funeral was on a Tuesday, the last day of shiva is the following Monday. If a Jewish holiday for example, Rosh Hashana falls during the seven days, shiva ends the afternoon just prior to the holiday. In such a case, it is considered that you mourned for seven days, even though it was cut short.
If a person passes away during a holiday, the burial and shiva are done when the holiday is complete. If one passes away on Shabbat, the burial is done the next day. When Shabbat falls during the shiva, it is counted as one of the seven days of mourning, but one does not mourn publicly.
This means that the outer signs of mourning covering mirrors where others can see, sitting low, wearing mourner's garments, etc. The outer signs of mourning are suspended before the beginning of Shabbat so that a person has time to properly prepare. On Shabbat, people sitting shiva mourn in their hearts. On Saturday night, the shiva resumes. Paying a Shiva Call When one pays a shiva call, the focus is on comforting the mourners in their time of greatest grief.
Traditionally, one enters the shiva house quietly with a small knock so as not to startle those inside. No one should greet visitors; they simply enter on their own. Food or drinks are not laid out for the visitors, because the mourners are not hosts. They do not greet the visitors, rise for them, or see them out. One who has come to comfort a mourner should not greet the mourners.
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In fact, it is best to come in silently and sit down close to them. Take your cue from the mourners. If they feel like speaking, let them indicate it to you by speaking first.
Then you can talk to them, but what about? Let them lead and talk about what they want to talk about. It is best to speak about the one who has passed away, and if you have any stories or memories to share with the mourner, this is the time to do so. If you have any stories or memories to share with the mourner, this is the time to do so.
This is not a time to distract them from mourning. Out of nervousness, we often babble on about nonsense because we do not know what to say. Often, the best thing to say is nothing. A shiva call can sometimes be completely silent. If the mourners do not feel like talking at that time, so be it. Your goal is not to get them to talk; it is to comfort them. Your presence alone is doing that.
By sitting there silently, you are saying more than words can. I feel your pain. There are no words. Here are examples of things not to say: Each person feels a unique loss.Flatbush ZOMBiES - 'This Is It' (Music Video)
Comforting a mourner does not mean distracting a mourner. Don't fill in the time talking about happy subjects or inconsequential topics like politics or business. Remember that speaking about the loved one they lost is comforting.
It's alright if they cry; they are in mourning. It is all part of the important process of coming to grips with such a loss. When Michael Dan lost his mother, he composed this notice and posted it outside their front door: As a family, we only request that an effort be made to create an atmosphere that is congruous with our Jewish values. Conversations should focus on the life and legacy of Judy Dan. No effort should be made to portray her in an artificial light, since this would offend her memory.
Painful as it may seem, attempts at distracting family members from thinking or speaking about their loss are not considered appropriate at this time. Thank you, The Dan Family Perhaps those in a similar situation could use these words as a guide for composing their own notice. Visitors, upon reading such a message, will walk into the shiva home knowing what is proper to say and do. Such a message will help them and, by creating the proper atmosphere in the shiva home, will also help the mourners themselves.
Prayer Services Prayer services are held in the shiva house, not in the synagogue. One reason is to insure that for the week of shiva, the mourners do not have to leave the home where they are best able to fully experience the mourning process.
They do not have to dress up to go out, or put on a public face for anyone. The services come to them. It is certainly appropriate and poignant to have services in the home itself, for the center of Jewish life is the home. This is the place where Jewish values are passed down. This is where family celebrations take place and where joys are shared. It is also where pain and loss are shared. It is where Judaism lives.
Traditional services are usually held in the morning Shacharit and in the late afternoon Mincha and evening Maariv. Between the Mincha and Maariv services, it is appropriate for someone to share some thoughts from the Torah, in memory of the departed. It is good to pay a shiva call during these times, because a quorum of people is needed to conduct the service and for the mourners to recite Kaddish. Leaving a Shiva House Even if this was a visit in silence, a traditional statement of comfort is said to the mourners just before leaving the shiva house.
It can be said in either Hebrew or English: May God comfort you among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Ha-Makom y'nachem et'chem b'toch sha'ar aveilei Tzion v'Yerushalayim. God in this line is referred to as HaMakom — "The Place.
The person who is gone is still connected to you, for you are together, contained within "The Place.
You are saying that we are family. Some people are close and some are distant cousins, but the loss of even one Jew makes us all mourners. The mourner should nod or say "Amen," and you should quietly depart, making sure that the mourner does not get up to see you out. Paying a shiva call can be awkward at first.
Keep in mind that you may have to modify it for those who are unaware of our traditions. If the mourner would think it odd that you would come in and not say anything, then of course you can speak and offer your condolences.
But at one shiva call I paid, to a person who is not completely observant, I came in, sat beside her, took her hand, and said nothing. She started to cry and said, "There are no words.
The Three-Day "Shiva" Nothing in Jewish tradition supports the concept of sitting shiva for three days. The actual word shiva is related to the word meaning seven. The number seven in Judaism is very significant, for it symbolizes completion in this world, as in the seven days of creation. The current trend to sit for only three days comes from the mistaken belief that it will somehow make the mourning easier "not to drag it out.
I had an adult student who was told to sit shiva for her mother for three days. I wanted to convince her otherwise but felt uncomfortable about doing so at such a time. I paid a shiva call to her, and if I hadn't known someone had died, I would have thought I had walked into a cocktail party with a lot of food, laughter, and drinks.
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I finally found my student, who was directing the waitresses in the kitchen. I took her by the hand, sat her down, and talked to her about her mother and about the soul and the afterlife.
I thought I'd walked into a cocktail party. I told her that she didn't have to do this — all the food, drinks and entertaining. She said, "I know, but everyone expects me to. I want everyone to leave me alone. My mother is dead! She said at the end of the three days, people left, her husband went back to work, and everyone expected her to resume her life. These are not easy days, for sitting shiva is emotionally and physically draining. But this time is crucial both for the mourner and for the soul that has departed to the next world.
Observing shiva gives honor to the departed, and the merit of the observance is an elevation of their soul. If part of the family wants to sit for only three days, so be it. Just go to your home after their shiva ends and sit for the rest of the days in personal mourning. You don't have to make a public statement about it, as you must be careful of their feelings. Getting Up From Shiva The seventh and final day of shiva is observed for only a few short hours, although this counts as a whole day.
After the last Shacharit service, the mourners sit low again for a short time. Then those who have come to comfort the mourners say to them, "Arise. No more will your sun set, nor your moon be darkened, for God will be an eternal light for you, and your days of mourning shall end. The house that the mourners live in for the week of shiva becomes a house of mourning.
It takes on an ambience of solemnity, filled with memory, contemplation, and meditation. But it is a house where people will continue to dwell. The concrete act of physically stepping outside, walking around the block, and coming back in, says that this house and our relationship with this house will now be renewed.
Shloshlm The first 30 days following the burial which include the shiva are called shloshim, from the word meaning "thirty. For the next 23 days, mourners are allowed to leave their house and begin to work again.
However, they should severely limit social engagements during this time, and certainly avoid festive outings where music is played. Mourners do not shave or cut their hair during this time. One is still mourning, but during shloshim the laws allow for a gradual reentry into everyday life. For mourners to get up from the shiva and jump back into a normal routine would not be healthy. They are still mourning, even though the intense pain has now become almost bearable. Moments of deep sadness and longing are to be expected, and having these few restrictions reminds them, and reminds the people around them, that this is a process that certainly isn't over.
After the completion of the shloshim, if mourners are mourning anyone but a parent, the official mourning now ends. That means Kaddish is no longer recited and they can resume activities without restriction.
The Jewish calendar is marked by lunar time. As the moon waxes and wanes in a cycle, the 30 day period of mourning is an opportunity to emotionally come full circle. The process begins with the funeral and first days of shiva, when not even a glimmer of light is seen. As time goes on, the light slowly comes back, fuller and fuller. The 30 days is an important central cycle of time, a time to renew and to come to grips with a new reality.
Of course mourners still feel the pain of the loss, but Judaism recognizes that to a certain degree, the passage of time is able to ease and heal the pain. Being able to return to everyday life freely helps achieve this healing. The shiva was the worst period, the shloshim was very hard, and this stage is bad.
In time, it will get better. The One-Year Period During the month period from the day of death which includes the shiva and shloshimonly one who has lost a parent is still considered a mourner after the first 30 days with the restrictions discussed below. Why this extra stage of mourning only for a parent? Psychologically and spiritually, our connection to our parents is the essential relationship that defines who we are as people.
Therefore, the loss of a parent requires a longer period of adjustment. This period of time guides us into a deep state of gratitude for all they gave and all they did.
As children, we spend most of our lives in "taking mode," and our parents, being parents, are almost constantly in "giving mode. In a relationship where it is the most difficult to show gratitude, this period of time helps us focus on recognizing the good that our parents desperately tried to give in the best way that they could.
Parents also represent values and ideals. They are God's representatives in this world. They are God's representatives to us in this world. They try to impart in their own way essential tools for living. This extended period of mourning recognizes that the loss of such a relationship has deep spiritual ramifications. After the shloshim period, life slowly begins to return to normal.
Some social engagements are allowed, but not the pursuit of entertainment and amusement, especially where music is involved. One is allowed to actively engage in business activities.
After the year is complete, one is not considered a mourner. Yizkor Yizkor means "remembrance" and is marked with a special service held in the synagogue on significant holidays: Yom Kippur The last day of Passover The last day of Shavuot The day following Sukkot Shmini Atzeret We stop on these major holidays to remember, because the holidays are expressions of the Jewish nation celebrating together.
We realize that we are only here as Jews because of those who came before us, who made the decision to be Jews sometimes against all odds. The connection to generations past and loved ones gone is made at Yizkor. In some synagogues, before the private Yizkor prayers, the congregation as a whole recites Yizkor for those who perished in the Holocaust, and for the soldiers who gave their lives for the State of Israel. On the afternoon before these days, when ushering in the holiday, one should light a yartzeit candle at home in memory of the loved one.
These candles burn continuously for approximately 24 hours, and are available at any supermarket or Jewish bookstore.