Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Consoling Mourners

Last week we discussed the obligation to ensure that a deceased person receive a speedy and respectful burial. After the funeral, the close relatives of the deceased sit ‘Shiva’. ‘Shiva’ is the seven day period after the funeral in which the close relatives remain in their home and observe various laws of mourning. In this period it is a Mitzva (commandment) for friends and relatives of the mourners to visit them and offer them words of consolation and support.

The most apparent reason for this Mitzva is to help the mourner deal with the pain he feels at the loss of someone very close to him. One who consoles mourners also fulfills the mitzvas of ‘love thy neighbor’ and ‘go in the ways of Hashem’.

More surprisingly, the Rabbis teach us that consoling the mourners is also a considered to be a kindness to the deceased himself. As we saw last week, the soul of the deceased remains conscious of the events surrounding his death. Accordingly, he feels consoled by the guests who show concern and interest for the deceased after the funeral.

Because the Shiva also benefits the deceased, there is the custom that if he has no live relative, nonetheless to mourn for him, ten people gather together throughout the ‘Shiva’ in order to pray in a Minyan 1.

It is not ideal for the visitors and mourners to spend the time of ‘Shiva’ discussing ‘small-talk’. Rather it is common practice that the mourners speak fondly of their deceased relative and the consolers listen intently.

The visitors should not open the conversation rather they should wait for the mourner to begin speaking. However, if it is difficult for the mourner to begin then they should initiate the conversation.

The visitors should be aware of the needs of the mourner and if they sense that he is tired they should leave him so he can rest.

A person should not pay a consoling visit to his enemy because his enemy may think that the visitor is happy at his misfortune.

The Mitzva of sitting ‘Shiva’ is known as an essential tool in helping the mourners deal with their loss. One who visits the mourners plays a vital role in helping facilitate this healing process.

1 A Minyan consists of a group of at least ten men who gather to pray.


Text Copyright © 2008 by Rabbi Yehonasan Gefen and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON EIKEV:

View Complete List

Letting Go
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Thinking Inside The Box
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

Like a Fish Needs Water
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

> Emulate G-d, Again and Again!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Manna From Heaven
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

On Cue
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5757

ArtScroll

No Easy Matter
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

The Small Things
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

It's Our Home
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Out Of Place
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

The Work of the Heart
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Downtrodden
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Humility: On the Shoulders of Our Father
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Healing and Sensitivity
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5769

Criticism
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Wear Your Shoes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information