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Can I sit Shiva for someone who was not an immediate family member?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Life Cycle » Death » Mourning | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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Q. My grandmother passed away. What do I do in terms of mourning? Do I sit Shiva?

A. Firstly, I would like to express my condolences to you and your family. May the Creator heal all broken hearts and may you only know of happy occasions in the future.

You do not sit Shiva.

Jewish laws of mourning are only observed by the spouse, children, parents, and siblings of the deceased.

Feelings are very personal and cannot be completely regulated by the law. It is quite understandable that you wish to channel your feelings of grief into actions
However, this is true with regards to the laws; feelings, on the other hand, are very personal and cannot be completely regulated by the law. It is quite understandable that you wish to channel your feelings of grief into actions.

I would advise you to say some extra chapters of Psalms in memory of your grandmother and learn some Torah in honor of her dear soul. Perhaps it would be feasible to found a charitable project, or help support an existing one, to ensure that your grandmother lives on through the good deeds that are being done in her honor.

You can, and should, of course comfort your parents, and make sure these days of grief are as easy as possible.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Shiva
Seven day mourning period observed by immediate relatives of the deceased. During this week the mourner follows specific rules of mourning and remains at home to receive condolences from visitors.
Psalms
The Book of Psalms. One of the 24 books of the Bible. Compiled by King David; mostly comprised of poetic praise for G-d. A large part of our prayers are culled from this book.