Seven by Seven

What do you say when there is nothing to say?

What words of comfort can one say to the parents of an eight year old child who died of cancer? To a sister whose brother died in a house fire? To a grandchild who has buried three grandparents in the span of a year?

There really are no words that need to be spoken. Often, the best we can do is simply be present. Sometimes we can embrace the mourner or squeeze his hand. Or cry with her when she finds the right words to say, words about her father that relieve her pain as she honors his memory.

The past seven weeks felt like a season of shiva, interrupted by only one joyous wedding.

My prayer for my grieving friends is that the next seven weeks will be a season of simhah, punctuated by fewer sad moments.


“Jewish Wedding” by Margareta Sterian


Shiva (literally, seven) refers to the Jewish custom of receiving mourners at home for the week following the burial of a loved one. Here is a link to an excellent resource for more information about Jewish mourning rituals.

Simhah (literally, joy) also refers to the celebration of a milestone, such as the birth of a child, Bar/Bat Mitzvah or marriage. Here is a link to an excellent guide to Jewish wedding rituals.


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