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What is the significance of the 30th day of mourning (shloshim)?

by Rabbi Simcha Bart

  

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Question:

My mother died a month ago. What is the significance of the 'shloshim', and what is the significance of it being the 30th day of mourning, and not the 45th or 600th?

Answer:

We find in the Torah thirty days as a period of mourning for someone who is very special. Aharon the High Priest who was very beloved by the children of Israel was mourned for thirty days, as recorded in Numbers 20:29.

According to Kabbalah there are three spiritual "worlds" involved in the development of creation and the descent of the soul down to earth - Briyah ("Creation"), Yetzirah ("Formation"), and Asiyah ("Action"). Each of these "worlds" has ten sefirot/levels (see What are the ten sefirot and what is their purpose?).

Therefore when the soul departs this world it goes thru 30 steps of elevation (3 "worlds" times 10 sefirot) - which is the reason for the thirty day period specifically.


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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.
Kabbalah
Jewish mysticism. The word Kaballah means "reception," for we cannot physically perceive the Divine, we merely study the mystical truths which were transmitted to us by G-d Himself through His righteous servants.
shloshim
Literally means "thirty." Usually a reference to the thirty day mourning period observed by immediate family after the death of a relative.