Shiva – How Jews Mourn

Shiva – How Jews Mourn

Last Thursday, my father passed away. He was buried on Sunday, and thus began the shiva, the 7 day mourning period. I sat with my mother and siblings for 2.5 days, feeling the call to come back to Maale Adumim, to a city and community that I love. Once I was home, you could say I sat alone…but I never did. Not for a minute…if there was a 3 minute break here or there when people didn’t arrive, my children came to my side and then left as others came in to give them the space.Shiva

For the last two years, painting has been an integral part of my life. But for the shiva, I was told that I could not paint. Writing was allowed and I had so many thoughts I wanted to share, but time and words slipped away too fast to capture them. Sometimes, I made some quick notes and I want to begin now. Remember, I told myself. Stories of friends that came, insights given, offered. I’ll get to those, but first I want to start with the most basic of thoughts.

Thank you. I could never make a complete list of who came, but I want them all to know that I appreciated all the prayers, thoughts, words and calls. More, I felt everything and saw everyone.

So much food was brought – whole meals, almost the entire shabbat. And trays and trays of food that we knew was coming and trays and trays more that were simply brought, left on the table with or without notes.

The most amazing brownies, chocolate cakes, cookies! The rice was delicious (all three different types). And the soup was wonderful – both of them. The chicken…I don’t remember how many kinds. Beautiful salads. Vegetables, kugels…challot – beautiful, tasty. WOW.

Sadly, I’m not sure I can reconstruct who brought what and so, please forgive me if I do it this way instead of going to each person who visited, cooked, delivered – each deserves a personal note of thanks…but it would take so long because there were so so many..

So, thank you – at such a low time in my life, you each made it one of the highest. Thank you. Thank you, Mitzpe Nevo and thank you, Maale Adumim (because many came from outside this small neighborhood where I live to the greater city surrounding it).

And thank you Raanana, Beit Shemesh (RBS too), Karnei Shomron…Arad, Telem, Efrat, Neve Daniel. Maybe it would be better to thank the whole Gush, which is more accurate – and several places in Jerusalem…and Bnei Brak…

And friends from the US who called or wrote or posted. From Teaneck and several other places in New Jersey, Chicago, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island. Oh, I know I’ve forgotten to list other places. Of course, I have to thank friends from Italy, Germany, India…and yes, from other places around the world too. Jews and Christians, Muslim and Hindus took the time to honor my father and offer kind words…so so blessed I am.

Sitting shiva was, like my father’s passing – a reminder of all of the blessings he had, and a reminder of the blessings I have. My husband, my children…were always here. Friends came from early in the morning until almost 11 p.m. Then they continued the next day, each day, until as close to Shabbat as possible. Each visit, EVERY visit was a blessing.

The candle that I lit at the start of the shiva period is almost finished burning. But the memories will never go away. To everyone…thank you. May you all be blessed with long and healthy lives and with neighbors and family and friends and loved ones like mine.

May the memory of Moshe ben Yitzchak be forever blessed.

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  1. Pingback: The Pluralism of Jews in Mourning - Israel Blogger

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