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 LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

The Unique Level of Avraham
Rabbi Yosef Kalatsky - 5763

Of Threads and Shoelaces
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

No Pain, No Gain
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

> Reward May Come
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Participating in G-ds Master Plan
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5774

Count Us If You Can
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5758

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Not Just A Tool
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

Exile and Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5763

Don't Walk in Front of Me (Anymore)
Shlomo Katz - 5763

ArtScroll

A "Sneak Preview" of History
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5761

The Grand Prize of History
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

Love and Sacrifice
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Jealousy or Love?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

Reaching Greatness: Living in the Land of Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5775

Reaching for Perfection
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

Uniquely Human
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762



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