Mourning

A guide to those aspects of Babylonian Talmud tractate Moed Katan that inform mourning and burial practices. A list of topics, by location within the tractate, and commentary taken or adapted from the work of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’1 , with the Yachin Boaz Mishnayot and the Kahati commentary as other important sources. Includes excerpts from Moed Katan to illustrate the issues identified and provides transitional text, along with subheadings and occasional footnotes, to make for clearer readability and easier use.
 
It was recently the 10th anniversary of my mother’s death. And, as I have every year, I lit a 24-hour yahrzeit candle, went to Friday night services and recited Kaddish. For me this service isn’t like any other.
 
How did Jewish tradition view sickness and death during different eras and in different places? These two texts had more published editions than any other works in this area of manuals for the sick and dying. These texts are seen as basic and primary handbooks for subsequent writings of other handbooks on these topics.  
 
Consolation as well as guidance, helps mourners find their way through “the valley of the shadow of death” using an ancient path followed by Jews for centuries. Jewish practices in the sickroom, at the funeral and in a house of mourning. Includes traditional Jewish funeral customs such as shiva, the first week after death. Explains the status of mourners during the thirty days after the death of a loved one and when they are exempt from the responsibilities of social, business, and religious and annual rituals of Yizkor and Yahrzeit, about caring for grieving children, about writing wills and the impact of suicide.
 
For those who mourn a death, for those who would help them and for those who face a loss of any kind. Teaches the power and strength available in the fully experienced mourning process. When the temple stood in the ancient city of Jerusalem, mourners walked through the gates and into the courtyard along a specifically designated mourner’s path. As they walked, they came face to face with all the other members of the community, who greeted them with the ancestor of the blessing, “May God comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” In this way, the community embraced those suffering bereavement, yet allowed for unique experiences of grief.
 
When someone dies, there are so many questions—from what to do in the moment of grief, to dealing with the practical details of the funeral, to spiritual concerns about the meaning of life and death. Provides traditional and modern insights into every aspect of loss, advice to help you cope with death and comfort others when they are bereaved. Step by step through the mourning process, including the specifics of funeral preparations, preparing the home and family to sit shiva, and visiting the grave. Special sections deal with helping young children grieve, mourning the death of an infant or child, and more.
 
From the moment of death through the funeral service, the burial, and the various periods of mourning. Special consideration is given to the subjects of organ donation, autopsy, the question of a woman's right to say Kaddish, mourning practices as they relate to the stillborn, the permissibility of converts to Judaism to mourn their Gentile parents, and the bereavement rights of individuals who by Jewish law are not required to mourn but who nonetheless wish to express their grief in accordance with Jewish tradition.
 
The Shivah Period
by Carl Astor
Excerpted from The Observant Life
 
Comforting the Bereaved
by Carl Astor
Excerpted from The Observant Life
 
Relevant Teshuvot:

Miscarriage and Stillbirth

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