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SITTING SHIVA

(Seven Day Mourning Period)

The Sitting of Shiva begins immediatly upon returning home after the internment of the deceased at the cemetery, no matter how short the time is until nightfall, when the second day begins. Shiva ends one hour after morning services (approx. 10:00 AM) on the seventh day - this hour being deemed a whole day.

One places a picture or pictures of the dead person in a visible place and lights the Seven Day Shiva Candle.

The tradition is for Mourners (parents, mates, children, siblings) to remain at home during the period of the Shiva. They should refrain from the wearing of leather, and should sit on cushions or on the floor during shiva services. Mourners should not vacation, or go to their work place, or engage in pleasure activities for the seven days.

If the news of the death of a parents, mates, children, or sibling reaches the Mourner at anytime during thirty days of the death, all the rules of Shiva are observed and the day that the news was received is counted as the first day.

On SHABBAT there is no public mourning, and it is counted as one of the seven days. If any portion of the Mourning Period began prior to any Festival or Holy Day, the Festival suspends the rest of the seven days completely.

The Meldado, or Yartzeit of a dear one is observed, even during the days of sitting Shiva. A memorial candle is lit and memorial prayers are said. A minyon should seek to join the Mourners to recite memorial prayers and the Kaddish at the Mourner's home. Tzedakah should be offered in memory of the departed.

The KADDISH is recited at every opportunity (at a minimum of once a day) for eleven months during mourning, and one month after the years anniversary date. Reciting the Kaddish in this manner is fulfilling the fifth commandment of "You shall honor your father and your mother so that you will live a long life."

The Service

Immediately after returning home from the cemetery, the Mourners set up a picture and light a Shiva Candle. All the Mourners gather together, and the eldest
family member lights the candle. All of the Mourners recite the following blessing together:

L'EELUEE NISHMAT [MOR/ MARAT] [BA'ALEE/ EESHTEE/ AVEE/ IMEE/ ACHEE/ ACHOTEE/ BENEE/ BITEE] (Hebrew name [ben/bat] of......) SHETHEY [MENUCHATO/ MENUCHATAH] BEGAN EYDEN (I/ We light this candle in loving memory of my/ our dear husband/ wife/ father/ mother/ brother/ sister/ son/ daughter, (name); may his/ her resting place be in the Garden of Eden).

If KERIAH (the tearing of the Mourner's garment) has not already taken place, it is done now. The blessing that the rabbi leads the Mourners in is:

Barukh Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melekh haolam Dayan HaEmet (Blessed are You, Adonai, our Creator Force, Who is the True Judge). Now the Mourners sit on the floor.

The Community gathers at the home, washes their hands prior to entering the house and says the prayer; Yadaynu lo shafekhu et hadam hazeh ve'eyneynu lo ra'u (Our hands are not guilty of shedding this blood, nor were we witness to it).

The rabbi or prayer leader begins the prayer service by leading the community in the Prayer of the Justification of the Divine Decree (Tziduk HaDin):

Tzadeek Atah ADONAI veyashar mishpatekha

You are righteous, O LORD, and Your judgments are just.

Tzadeek ADONAI bekhol-derakhav; vechaseed bekhol-ma'asav

The LORD is righteous in all Your Paths; and lovingkindness is in all that You do.

Tzidkatekha tzedek le'olam; veToratekha emet

Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness; and Your Torah is truth.

Mishpetey-ADONAI emet; tzadku yachdav

The judgments of the LORD are true; and altogether just.

Baasher devar-melekh shilton; umee yomar-lo mah ta'aseh

As the word of the Sovereign is supreme; who can say, "What is this that You do?"

Vehu veechad umee yesheevenu; venafsho ivtah vaya'as

God alone is God; Who turns God's Will aside? That which the Divine Spirit wills, it does.

Hatzur tameed pa'alo; kee khol-derakhav mishpat

The work of our Rock is perfect; and God's Paths are just.

El emunah veayn 'avel; tzadeek veyashar hu

God is faithful and has no imperfection; a righteous and true Judge is God.

Dayan emet; shofeyt tzedek vaemet

God is the True Judge; who judges with righteousness and truth.

Barukh dayan haemet; kee khol-mishpatav tzedek veemet

A Source of blessing is the True Judge; whose judgments are all right and true.

Now we begin the service of the time of day. If immediatly after the internment, we begin by reciting the MINCHA SERVICE. If, it is after 6:00 PM, we recite the ARABIT SERVICE. If in the morning, we recite the SHACHRIT SERVICE.

If it is any day besides Monday and Thursday, we do not have a Torah service and we recite the service according to our tradition until after the AMIDAH PRAYERS.

MEMORIAL SERVICE

In Memory of (Hebrew Name of Deceased, bar/bat Parents Names)

Al zeh hayah daveh leebeynu al eleh haschu eynenynu;
Al Har Tzion she'shamem, shu'alim heelchu vo (2)
Lama la netzach tishchakheynu ta'azveynu le'orech yamim;
Ata Adonai Le'olam teyshev;
Kees'acha le'dor va'dor.

Translation: Over this my heart is weakened, my eyes grow dim - I witness Mt. Zion destroyed, foxes walking around on it. How can You seem to forget us forever? Yet I know that You, the Transformative Power in the Universe, are Eternal; so it is that You will dwell with us in every generation.

Meen ha'meytzar ka'ratee YAH, ahnanee be'merchav YAH

Translation: From the tight place of pain I call to You, O God. Answer me and create space for new and Divine possibilities.

Haneshama lakh ve'haguf pe'alakh, chusa-nah, chuisa-al-amalakh

Translation: The soulbreath is Yours, and the body is Your work, be gentle, have mercy on us, Your embodiment on earth.

Eysa eynai el he-hareem mey-ayeen, mey-ayeen ya-vo ezree;
Ezree eem Adonai oseh shamayeem va'aretz

Translation: I lift up my eyes unto the mountains, from where - from where it is that my help comes. My help comes from the Transformative Power in the Universe, Maker of the heavens and the earth.

Source of all that Was, and Is, and Will Be, beyond creation's time. The central core expressed theough Being. Even in death, we affirm the continuity of life. Sometimes we wonder, Adonai - What are we that You have regard for us? What are we that You should be mindful of us? We are like a breath; our days are like a passing shadow. We come and go like grass; which in the morning shoots up, renewed; but in the evening, fades and withers.

The Powers that gave and continues giving birth to the universe is Alive, Intelligent, and Active. It preceeded the explosion of the Big Bang of creation. This Intelligent Activity continues to be manifest in every bit of the subsequent development of the universe.

The form of this universe will eventually change. Yet, these cataclysmic changes will have no effect upon the integrity of the whole.

The United Entity of our universe as a whole provides the background of our lives. This "wholeness" does not die nor lose Its integrity no matter what happens to changing forms.

This "wholeness" is part of our identity, and our inner contact with It strengthens us when It flows through us in hard times. IT is the GOD inside us that we call upon.

We seek to become consciously aware and more connected to the whole as we go through daily changes of energy and awareness. Our death from this body is an initiation into that greater wholeness. We are a part of the Unity of All Being, and we will remain so in every form in which our cells will eventually be transformed.

Teach us to number our days, so that we can get a heart of wisdom. Teach us to value each moment, and to understand the preciousness of the gift of life.

Give us the strength to face the inevitable reality: we are here only for a short time. Each of us will die; and the world will continue on without our particular consciousness in it.

While we are here, we will preserve the memory of those who have gone before us - carry out their legacy, and through deeds of kindness, compassion, and generosity, we will continue their best legacy on this earth.

We do not fully understand the mystery of life and of death. But we do know that through acts of love and gentleness we can affirm that which is good, and pass on love from generation to generation.

We do not pretend to understand this death. We all die. We do not see death at any particular moment as being intended by the universe - as an act of reward or punishment. At moments when we experience loss, we wish there were a great big Father in Heaven so that we could argue with You, dispute Your decisions and judgements. But we know that the God of the universe is the Force of Healing and Transformation - not a judgmental patriarch, but the evolving Force of Love and Goodness.

We can connect with You, God, to find inspiration and purpose, to give good teachings for life, to be the Source of love and goodness, not as a critical parent sending death as a punishment for our mistakes. We call out in our pain and in our sorrow - from our tight place, God - grant that we give our lives the fullest meaning and deepest purpose. Expand our consciousness, God, to that of the vast - so that we can truly see ourselves as part of the wholeness, as a single cell in the body of the universe, and affirm our lives as part of the ultimate Unity.

In this state of expanded consciousness, we understand that the way to serve You, God, is to create a world of justice, kindness, generosity, compassion and peace.

Mizmor le'Daveed
Adonai ro-ee lo echshar beenote desha yarbeetzeynee, al mey menuchot yenachaleynee. Nafshee yeshov (2) yanacheyni bemagley tzedech le'ma'an shemoe. Gam kee elekh begay tzalmavet. Lo eerah rah. Kee atah eemadee. Shevtecha U meshantecha (2) hema yenachamuni. Ta-aroch lefanay shulchan neged tzore-ree. Deshanta vashemen roshee kosee reva'yah. Acht tov va'chesed. Yeerdefuni. Kol Yemey chayai. Veshavtee bevayt Adonai le'orech yamim.

Hashiveynu (3) Adonai Elechecha ve'na'shu'vah (2), chadesh, chadesh, yameynu ke'kedem

Translation: Turn us to You, Transformative Power, and we shall return.

Then the Mourners recite EL MALAY RACHAMIM (Ashkenazi) or the HASHKABAH (Sephardi) and then the KADDISH.

THE EL MALAY RACHAMIM (link)

THE HASHKABAH (link)

MOURNER'S KADDISH (Ashkenazi) [link]

MOURNER'S KADDISH (Sephardi) [link]

Ohr zar'ua la'tzadik u'le'yishrey lev simcha

Translation: Spread the Light of righteousness and joy to those whose hearts are directed towards increasing goodness.

Tehey nishmat[ah] tzrurah be'tror ha-chayyim

Translation: May his/her soul-breath be bound up in the bond of eternal life.

Tehey zichron[ah] leevracha

Translation: May his/her memory be for a blessing.

Min hashamayim tenuchamu

Translation: May you receive comfort from heaven.

We now finish the regular Service by reciting Alaynu l'shabeyach and Adon Olam from the siddur.

(This service is based upon the Beyt Tikkun service by Rabbi Michael Lerner, in honor of his mother-in-law, Shoshana bat Yitzchak v'Eydel, Rosalia Kohn; mother of our teacher, and his wife, Rabbi Debora Kohn Lerner 4/4/05)

THE MEAL OF CONSOLATION (Se'udat Habarah)

After the funeral, the mourners and others gather in a home of one of the mourners. The Meal of Consolation is prepared by friends of the family and NOT BY THE MOURNERS. It is eaten while sitting on the floor or on low stools. The meal consists of bread rolls, hard-boiled eggs (which have been peeled but left whole), Greek olives, raisins and wine, and other foods.

A tablecloth is spread on the floor and the traditional foods placed upon it. The mourners and any others who are able to sit on the floor, should do so. Paper plates, cups, napkins and a knife to cut the eggs are needed. Water for the ritual washing of the hands is brought. The hands are washed over a deep bowl to catch the water and the Hand Washing Blessing is recited: "Barukh Atah ADONAI Elohaynu melekh ha'olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, vitzivanu al natilat yadayim." Others wash their hands in the kitchen.

The HaMotzi Blessing is said over the rolls: "BARUKH DAYAN HAEMET VEHATZEDEK. Barukh Atah ADONAI Elohaynu melekh ha'olam hamotzi lechem min haaretz." The person who said the HaMotzi then cuts the eggs with the knife, and distributes a roll with a piece of egg and a few olives to each person sitting shiva.

The meal is followed by reciting the GRACE AFTER MEALS FOR MOURNERS.

GRACE AFTER MEALS FOR MOURNERS (Birkhat hamazon leavaleem)

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