30 days of mourning
Following a burial, there is a thirty-day mourning period. This morning period, called Sheloshim, includes the first seven days, called shivah. We go more in depth of the Sheloshim traditions in the following text.
What is the meaning of sheloshim
Sheloshim is a Hebrew word meaning “thirty” and refers to the traditional thirty-day period of mourning following burial. Sheloshim includes the seven days of shivah. However, the twenty-three days following the conclusion of shivah are far less restrictive.
Is sheloshim affected by a Jewish festival?
Yes. Even as Pesach, Shavuot, Sukot, Rosh Hashanah, and Yom Kippur curtail shivah, so do they frequently end the sheloshim. As the rules are somewhat complicated, your Rabbi can best advise you as to your individual circumstance.
What are the traditional rules of sheloshim?
After Shivah ends, mourners may return to work. The rules for the balance of sheloshim, however, wisely prescribe that they not immediately resume a normal daily routine. Specifically:
1. Mourners continue to recite Kaddish in the presence of a minyan three times daily. This provision requires attendance at daily services and thus also insures that the bereaved will be regularly in the midst of a sympathetic support group.
2. Mourners do not attend parties or other festive occasions, especially if there is to be music and/or dancing. If a previously planned extended-family Simchah falls within sheloshim, a Wedding or Bar/Bat Mitzvah, for example, some mourners may attend the religious service but not the party. If a religious Simchah in the immediate family occurs during sheloshim, it should not be postponed, but music might be curtailed. Consult with your Rabbi concerning your specific circumstance.
3. Traditionally, mourners do not go to the movies, concerts, or purely social gatherings. As these are forms of entertainment, they are prohibited during sheloshim.
What happens after Sheloshim?
Sheloshim concludes the traditional mourning period for all loved ones, except for parents. Most mourners may return to a full business and social life.
What if we are mourning parents?
As we have seen, traditionally we formally mourn the loss of parents for twelve Hebrew months, reciting Kaddish for eleven of them, while the other mourning restrictions of the sheloshim continue for the twelve-month period.
We continue to preserve the memory of our loved ones even after the formal period of mourning has ended. We go to the synagogue to recite Kaddish on the anniversary of their death, the Yahrzeit, and at Yizkor memorial services during the year. We may contribute to worthy causes in their name. But, above all, we remember and, through our tender reminiscence, their memory remains a blessing. That is the Jewish way.
At Mount Sinai Memorial Chapels, we are here to help every member of the family cope with the loss of a loved one.
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