Jerusalem Memorial Chapels

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Mourning the Loss of a Loved One During Passover

In years past, the chairs around our seder table were filled with family and friends who join to retell the story of our enslavement and our redemption. The Passover seder is more than a history lesson, for each of us is instructed to see ourselves as if we had personally been freed from Egypt. It has become our story, told in the context of the generations to our family and community. We add new layers as this year’s unique experience intertwines with the memories of the past.

For some, this year’s Passover may be painfully different. A beloved family member or friend may have passed recently, and there is now an empty chair at the seder table. Some may find themselves dreading the coming holiday.

When a Jewish holiday occurs during the mourning period, the seven-day Shiva period is shortened. Shiva is deemed complete as soon as the holiday begins. While it makes sense that Shiva would be seven days. Seven (Shiva in Hebrew) is a number with special significance in Judaism. The seven-branched menorah, a symbol of Judaism since ancient times. The seven times a bride circles the groom at the wedding, and the seven days of celebrations afterward. We count seven weeks from the holiday of Passover to Shavuot, just as we count seven days each week until Shabbat.

The only exceptions to the Shiva are Shabbat and Yom Tov (Jewish holidays). Shabbat is counted as one of the seven days. Then, after sunset, Shiva resumes if the seven days have not been completed. But Yom Tov completely interrupts and abruptly ends the mourning period.
From all of us at Jerusalem Memorial Chapels, we want to wish everyone a Chag Semeach.

 

Adam Novak is a 2nd Generation Jewish Funeral Director & Founding Partner of Jerusalem Memorial Chapels.   He can be reached any time (24/7) via phone/text at (516) 418-7000 or email adam@graveside.com

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