logo
g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Career
Computers
Education
Family
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
Money
News & Politics
Relationships
Religion & Spirituality
Sports
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

dailyclick
Bored? Games!
Nutrition
Postcards
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

new
Creativity
Family Travel
Southwest USA
Irish Culture
Home Finance
Comedy Movies
Romance Novels


dailyclick
All times in EST

Full Schedule
g
g Judaism Site

BellaOnline's Judaism Editor

g

Jewish Burial and Mourning Customs


There are times when rules and regulations can feel overwhelming – even burdensome. However, when embraced – the very ideas we felt were binding turn out to liberate us.

The Jewish laws of mourning may be one of the best examples where our faith’s rigid guidelines provide direction and comfort in a moment when we feel lost, devastated, and uncertain. It is astounding how ancient traditions of mourning continue to embrace and cradle us, to nurture and support us, and to lead and guide us.

Grief is – at once – absorbed into the planning of the funeral, ensuring the obligation of K’vod Hamet (Honoring the Dead), and reaching out to friends and family. It is in a numbed state of purpose that we are able to care for our loved one in this final moment.

K’vod Hamet further involves caring for the deceased by arranging a burial as soon as possible, allowing the deceased to depart in dignity. A Shomer (“watchman”) stays with the deceased from the time of death until the burial.

Symbols and traditions run throughout the entire mourning process. Mourners tear a black ribbon or part of the garment they are wearing as a physical sign of their grief.

Pallbearers carry the casket to its burial place – a tradition dating back to when Jacob was carried by his children at his death. It is our final opportunity to “carry” and care for our loved one.

After the casket is lowered into the ground, mourners and friends participate in Kevurah, shoveling the earth into the grave. While it can be a difficult and emotional task, this last act of caring for the deceased can assist mourners in acceptance of the death. The back of the shovel is used to put the dirt into the grave. This signifies our reluctance in contributing to this occurrence.

Back at the house where Shiva will be observed, there is a pitcher of water outside the home. The ritual of washing hands after the cemetery and before entering the home is an act of spiritual cleansing. Inside, a Shiva candle is lit and remains lit for the seven days of mourning.

The mourners are served a meal made by extended family and friends. The meal is called Seudat Havra’ah, a meal of condolence. This meal is not intended for everyone but only for the immediate family. It is an opportunity for the community to show support and take care of the mourning family.

Kaddish is first recited at the cemetery and is recited daily for just short of eleven months. Kaddish is a memorial prayer that is not a declaration of our sorrow, but an assertion of life and our faith in G-d.

For seven days, the mourners sit Shiva (which means seven) and are visited by friends and family who offer comfort, bring food and share loving memories of the deceased. This is a period of contained grief. Mourners sit low to the ground, refrain from wearing leather shoes, set aside business transactions, abstain from sexual relations, and cover their mirrors.

Shloshim (which means thirty) continues for twenty-three days after Shiva is sat. Mourners ease back into their “normal” routines but continue to avoid celebrations with music and dancing.

When we experience the death of a loved one, our lives are impacted in ways we cannot imagine. The greatest gift of healing we can give ourselves is to transform our grief into something that will honor our loved one – who they were, what they valued, and what they wished for – and turn their memory into a blessing that will continue to touch others for years to come.
Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Twitter Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Facebook Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to MySpace Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Del.icio.us Digg Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Yahoo My Web Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Google Bookmarks Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Stumbleupon Add Jewish+Burial+and+Mourning+Customs to Reddit




RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map


For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Judaism Newsletter


Past Issues


print
Printer Friendly
bookmark
Bookmark
tell friend
Tell a Friend
forum
Forum
email
Email Editor


Content copyright © 2014 by Lisa Pinkus. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Lisa Pinkus. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Pinkus for details.

g


g features
Introducing Yom Kippur to Young Children

Tashlich

Teshuva & Rosh Hashanah

Archives | Site Map

forum
Forum
email
Contact

Past Issues
memberscenter


vote
Poetry
Daily
Weekly
Monthly
Less than Monthly



BellaOnline on Facebook
g


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2014 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.


BellaOnline Editor