Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Not greeting mourners at a shivah

    It is a big mitzvah to comfort the bereaved, for example by visiting mourners at the shivah house. It is normal to feel awkward around death and not to know what to say. The Jewish laws of mourning are carefully crafted to allow mourning and ultimately healing to happen, but sometimes they can be followed in a way that has the opposite effect.  

    One example is the halachah that one should not greet mourners but rather wait for them to initiate the conversation. The idea is not to bombard the mourners with small talk and pleasantries. Cheery hellos can sound meaningless and even offensive to a grieving heart.

    Instead we wait for the mourner to speak and say whatever they feel like saying. There is great wisdom in this, but dogmatically applied, it can cause discomfort and stilted conversation. Probably the most comforting things at a shivah are to show up, be real and express genuine empathy.    

Jewish ways

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Not sleeping on Rosh Hashanah
Jewish ways

Censoring Aleinu

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Censoring Aleinu
Jewish ways

Veggie cheeseburgers

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Veggie cheeseburgers
Jewish ways

Reading the ketubah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Friday, September 4, 2015

Reading the ketubah
Jewish ways

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reciting psalm 27 in Ellul
Jewish ways

Havdalah before Tishah B'av

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Havdalah before Tishah B'av
Jewish ways

Thirteen Attributes

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thirteen Attributes
Jewish ways

Dedicating a new home

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dedicating a new home
Jewish ways

Spilling wine at Havdalah

Rabbi Julian Sinclair

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spilling wine at Havdalah