and throwing a handful of dirt into an open grave upon the cue of a rabbi,
afterwards returning home to eat bagels and eggs, while sitting on a low hard chair
and murmuring in hushed tones,
the mirrors and reflective surfaces around you now covered by bed sheets.
And lighting a memorial candle, its wick and flame a body and soul,
the flame reaching upwards, to bring light into darkness.
And recalling aloud – and silently – for the next seven days
the person for whom you are observing this ages-old custom
of sitting, and mourning, and remembering,
hoping to elevate the soul of the dearly departed.
And trying to follow the rules.
Do not say hello. Do not say goodbye. Do not say thank you for coming.
Do say KaddishThe Aramaic memorial prayer for the dead. Mourners recite this prayer at every service, every day, in the presence of a minyan (prayer quorum) over the course of a year (for a parent) or thirty days (for a sibling or offspring). The prayer actually makes no mention of the dead, but rather prays for the sanctification and magnification of God's name., the Mourners’ Prayer. Converse with God while honouring the deceased.
And repeating. Again and again. Until the week is over.
And then getting up and walking around the block, the formality of shivaSeven-day mourning period following the funeral of a first-degree relative, during which time family members remain at home and receive visits of comfort. Other customs include abstinence from bathing and sex, covering mirrors, sitting lower than other visitors, and the lighting of a special memorial candle which burns for seven days. completed.
It is time to re-engage with society,
time to move forward…
The loved one’s absence has become the new presence. Saying Kaddish is the new norm.
And the days pass. And it’s already the shloshimLit. Thirty The first thirty days after someone dies. This is an intermediate stage of mourning -- less intense than then initial week of shiva, but more intense than the remainder of the first year. It is customary not to shave or cut one's hair and not to attend social gatherings, parties, concerts etc during this time..
And the months pass.
And the eleventh month has come and gone – and the daily recitation of Kaddish with it.
And the twelfth month is here.
The anniversary date of death.
A Yahrzeit(Yiddish) The anniversary of a death, usually marked by the lighting of a 24-hour yahrzeit candle and the recitation of Kaddish, the memorial prayer. For U.S. Jews, the unveiling of the headstone usually takes place on or around the first yahrzeit.candle is lit. Kaddish is recited.
The Ba’al Shem Tov was a mystic, healer and teacher. Together, we will explore some of his radical innovations, teachings and practices through text study, reflections and practical exercises. Six sessions starting October 16, 2023.