Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Year Of Mourning- Beginnings- From Aninut to Shiva, Shloshim to Shana

From the moment a close relative dies Jewish law guides us. It’s routine and requirements guide us through the days (and nights). Sean suggested I blog the year of mourning, sharing the ups and downs.

There are found essential periods:

  • Aninut - the period from death to burial. The word connotes poverty or suffering. It’s understood the mourning is most intense then. In fact, others are prohibited from consoling the mourners during this period. How can someone be comforted when your loved one still lies dead before you. 
  • Shiva - From the burial to day seven The day of the burial counts as day one. This is the time of comforting. The mourners typically gather in one or more homes, while extended family and friends visit. Food has always been associated with taking care of others, and the food at a shiva usually flows freely. 
  • Shloshim - The 30 day period from the funeral. From shiva through the end of shloshim the mourner still limits her/his interaction with the world, but mostly returns to normal. Entertainment is limited.
  • Shana - The first year of mourning. Some entertainment continues to be limited. The mourner continues to recite Kaddish at thrice daily minyan, begun at the graveside.
It’s easy to enumerate the steps. The reality of it is something else. I’ve known and understood the details most of my life. I know that Jewish mourning practices are psychologically sound. I’m in awe of this. And I’m experiencing it. It’s helpful. It’s healing. But I also knew then and know now that mourning isn’t a straight path. There will be ups and downs, crying at weird times, anger, joy, and so much more. 

For now- minyan time...

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