Article Discussion: How to Pay A Shiva Call

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June 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm #5854


What is appropriate to write in a card if we cannot attend? Also, I have a religious sympathy card that only mentions GOD (not Jesus) which I would think is acceptable correct?

October 30, 2011 at 8:13 pm #6251


Rabbi, Thank you for your article. It has been very helpful in educating me as to all of the symbols and the reasons why things are done a certain way. It also helps to aleviate any misunderstandings as you mentioned in your article.
The person I am going to see lost her son and she WANTS a celebration of his life with talk and laughter.
Others may find solace in something more subdued.

November 28, 2011 at 9:31 pm #6324


I think I can go now that I have read this article. I believe I have the necessary basics to be able to give my friend who is Jewish what she needs from me….my company and friendship.

December 8, 2011 at 11:20 am #6382


I’m grateful for this clear, concise description. It leaves me better prepared to extend my heart’s desire — to support my friends through their loss.

December 18, 2011 at 10:30 pm #6419


Thank you so much for this clear article. My husband is a Protestant minister and tho I have had the privilige of sharing in many services with our Jewish friends, have never visited where someone was sitting Shiva. I just wanted to be sure I did nothing offensive, but my good theology and experiences with years of Protestant Wakes stands me well and I would not have done anything offensive to my friends. It was very helpful to read the thoughts about how to respectfully share this hard time with friends I love very much.

April 6, 2012 at 11:24 pm #6706


The only thing I would add here would be the following;
Flowers, are not brought to a shiva call nor the cemetery because flowers are viewed as a lovely reminder ( in this world ) of rebirth and renewal. The fragrance of the flowers are supposed to remind us of the sweetness of such instances. When one passes on to the next life, they are not able to indulge in these things we see as small. Its more about the visitor visiting with the mourners, being there, even in silence. Because, everyone knows, even in silence a friend is there for you.

April 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm #6712


this was very interesting to read. I do have one question: if one looses a parent, and you’ve set your weddingdate 2 months after the burial (weddingdate already set before the death of the parent) and you’re orthodox, can you still get married or do you have to wait until after the 11 months grieving? I am just curious about this, I’m not Jewish myself, but am very interested in it.
Thanks in advance for your help!

April 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm #6713

Benjamin Maron


Most halakhic authorities (those who interpret Jewish law), including those in Orthodox communities, would say that the wedding is permissible provided it’s after shloshim (the first 30 days of mourning). Exceptions permitting weddings within the first 30 days are regularly granted within Orthodox (and other Jewish denominations) communities as well.

April 12, 2012 at 4:32 pm #6714


Hi Mr. Maron,
thank you for your answer! I’ve always been interested in Judaism and was wondering how people handle those kind of situations, because, and I don’t mean this disrespectful, 11 months is a long time and a lot can happen during that time. I do believe the Jewish laws about grieving are giving the grieving families a much better “oppertunity” to grief as we Christians do (I’m a Christian), where you are supposed to “go on with your life” after the funeral ūüôĀ

September 14, 2012 at 1:45 am #7652


A teacher I respected greatly and looked up to in high school’s husband passed away recently and I wanted to pay my respects to her because she was such an amazing woman to me. This article really helped because I honestly was at a loss what to do and how to act. I felt foolish googling the subject but I really had no where else to turn. Again thank you so much and I am so happy that I will be able to pay my respects in the proper manner.

October 5, 2012 at 10:44 am #7744


this is a very insightful article and i learned so much to feel comfortable and understand the history of the mourning process in this culture.very beautiful..

December 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm #8913

Simon Goulet

Thanks Rabbi Kohn. Our Jewish neighbors just lost a family member so we were wondering how best to pay our respects. We are Christian so didn’t understand the ritual we were seeing unfold for the past 2 days since the funeral. We are going over tomorrow to pay our respects, armed now with knowledge. Thank you again for this.

Ottawa, Ontario

January 10, 2013 at 11:38 am #9177


We, a Catholic couple, will be attending a shiva today. This article provided a very helpful explanation of the custom of “sitting shiva.”

May 16, 2013 at 12:37 pm #13137


“What is appropriate to write in a card if we cannot attend? Also, I have a religious sympathy card that only mentions GOD (not Jesus) which I would think is acceptable correct?”

It looks like no-one ever answered this. Probably too late now for the asker but Orthodox Jewish people do not say the name of God or write it down. Instead they use abbreviations or alternative phrases. Avoid any card which includes the word God. Write something genuine from the heart – don’t look for a standard phrase – but leave God out of it!

August 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm #17963


What kind of food can I bring to shiva? Is lasagna ok?

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