There is something that has been eating at me since my father's funeral. Immediately after the burial, everyone came to wish me and my family condolences, then after a few minutes, we all left the cemetery. For me this was the hardest moment of the whole day. I felt as if we were leaving my father behind all by himself. Was his soul lonely? Is it as hard for the dead to part from the living as it is for the living to part from the dead? Or has he moved on? What does Judaism say about the soul right after burial?
There is a striking parallel between a soul's journey to its place of rest in heaven, and the grieving process experienced by the mourners down here on earth. Both the departed soul and the loved ones left behind have to walk a slow and measured progression towards a new reality.
For seven days after a funeral, the family stay home in mourning, what is called sitting Shiva (Hebrew for the number seven). The kabbalists describe the departed soul during this time as being in a state of flux between the world of the living and the world of the dead. For that week, the soul commutes back and forth from the grave to the house of mourning and back again. It fluctuates, sometimes being in the home with the family, other times returning to the gravesite.
This explains the roller coaster of emotions often experienced by grieving relatives. At one moment they feel as if nothing has happened, as if their loved one is about to walk into the room. At the next moment the pain of loss hits, and they feel the void left by the death of their beloved. The pendulum of emotion is a reflection of the to and fro of the soul of the departed. The feeling that he may walk into the room is real, for his soul is there in the home. But then the soul leaves, and the sharp feeling of separation returns in its place.
On each day a part of the soul is left behind at the grave, and less of the soul returns to the home, until a week has passed, and the soul stops its commute. It then begins its journey upwards to higher realms. But a part of the soul always remains at the gravesite.
After your father's funeral, as the family was leaving the cemetery, you were not leaving your father's soul behind. His soul accompanied you home. Just as you could not let him go all at once, he could not leave you so suddenly either. The Jewish mourning process - seven intense days, thirty days of lesser intensity, and an entire year of subdued remembrance - is not only a way for you to gradually adjust to the new reality, it is a mirror image of the steps your father's soul takes towards reaching final rest.
So don't feel guilty as you slowly make your way back into life. It is a sign that your father's soul is finding peace. You will never leave him behind, and he will never leave you.
Nefesh is excited to announce that the following guest speakers will be addressing us during Nefesh services in June while Rabbi Moss is in New York.
Friday Night June 7- Rabbi Yaacov Chaiton
Shabbos Day June 8- Rabbi Dr. Nathan T. Lopes Cardozo
Friday Night June 14- Rabbi Mendel Kastel
Shabbos Day June 15- Rev Amzalak
Friday Night June 21- Rabbi Yehuda Spielman
Shabbos Day June 22-Rabbi Aaron Groner
Friday Night June 28- Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
Shabbos Day June 29- Chazan Isser Feiglin
INTERNATIONAL GUEST SPEAKER AT NEFESH
Nefesh is honoured that Rabbi Dr Nathan Cardozo will join us for Shabbos on June 8 and address us during the service.
Rabbi Dr Nathan Cardozo lectures regularly at over fifty institutions of Jewish and secular learning around the world and is often hosted by programs with affiliation ranging from the Orthodox Union and Union of Sephardic Communities to Oxford and Harvard Universities.
He is renowned for his unconventional style, straight-forward approach and unswerving honesty. He has been quoted as saying that "when Judaisim is introduced to a person as a religion of taboos, permanent damage is inflicted upon its very structure. Too often, young people have become victims of such negativity and consequently have not been able to find their way to the Jewish experience. One of the greatest tasks of Jewish educators today is to daringly turn the tide and show our people that Judaism is foremost the art of enjoying G-d's world."
SERVICES AT NEFESH ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Friday Night Candlelighting 4:37pm
Shabbos Service 6:00pm followed by Kiddush sponsored by Jonathan Shapira and Gilda Cohen-Shapira to honour the Yahrzeit of Jon's father, Miron Shapira, Meir Ben Yosef- Long life.
Morning Service 10am -12:20pm- Followed by
Kiddush sponsored in honour of the birth of their second son, Mason Chai by Dhani & Pratigya Pozniak- Mazal Tov!
Farbrengen sponsored by Rabbi Moss and Nechama Dina to say farewell to the community as they head to New York for 4 weeks.