Sunday, April 25, 2010


when i think about people who are really strict about their year of avelus for a parent i think that its a miracle that we don't hear about more suicides . some people wont get together in large groups . they wont watch tv or listen to recorded music at home. now if one doesnt watch tv or recorded music anyway its no big deal. if one is anti-social ,then being completely withdrawing from society is a welcome mitzvah.
according to maurice lamm in the jewish way in death and mourning the prohibition of joining in joyful occasions during avelus really refers to going to the meal at a religious event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bris. some people have extended this to all public get togethers and according to him this is what people have accepted upon themselves. well, i wonder who provides the prozac(oh thats assur too) ? not attending a wedding , bris or bar mitzvah isn't as bad of a restriction. there are ways to get around this as well. one can even get around this restriction by having a job at the simchah. weddings , a bar mitzvah or a bris are very public expressions of simchah so i understand why they are prohibited. not getting together in groups for any social occasion is another issue. im single. i live by myself. when im sad i NEED to be with others to help me get out of my sadness. to prohibit me from being social is like saying " you are sad and you dare not feel better for a year". it may take a year to feel better after losing a parent . one also might not feel so social anyway. my problem is mandating these "rules" instead of letting a person see how it goes. the depth of feelings one feels after losing a parent is more intense than one can imagine. if i would feel as intensely sad as i did during shivah it would be dangerous to my health. now that i am back in new york and have gotten together with my friends i feel alot better. just because one is trying to get out of deep pain and loss doesn't mean one has forgotten what has happened. it just means one is not a suicide risk.
the biggest issur during avelus is live music, because it has such a power to uplift someone. great. again , just push me over the edge of a cliff why dont you ? truthfully, i dont really go to so many concerts . i go to the jewish music cafe in park slope a few times a year and the summer concerts in brighton beach. the summer concerts in brighton beach are amazing. i will miss them this year if i have the strength to resist. we will see.
when one is single one is allowed to attend singles functions, parties, date , etc. even if there is live music. so i guess if i really want to be creative i could consider the concerts in brighton beach a singles event. LOTS of singles are there. i may be pushing the envelope , but my need for things being normal again is great. true singles events aren't that enjoyable anyway.
if i were a man i would be saying kaddish everyday for eleven months. though it is a pain to do im sure, i can see its function. it is also an action one is doing to memorialize the deceased as opposed to another restriction. some people take on another mitzvah to remember the deceased . this is more meaningful to me. i have to think of a mitzvah to take on that i think i will be able to be consistent about.
in my opinion remembering the deceased, reconciling the fact that one's relationship with them is now in the past. being able to return to living in the present is the idea of avelus. being able to move on and not being paralyzed by the pain is an important part of mourning. from what i can see this is not a part of the jewish tradition of avelus. too bad. it should be.


josh0 said...

Consider my questions and observations as free floating ideas. Unsolicited advice is worth exactly what you paid for it. In this case, you took the time to convey your thoughts to the world. While reading what you wrote, I began to feel for the possibilities you explained. In particular, you described how

"according to maurice lamm in the jewish way in death and mourning the prohibition of joining in joyful occasions during avelus really refers to going to the meal"

Struggle only to find both (1) what is the core rule and (2) with what you can live comfortably.

Could you guide yourself into the situations where you want to be? Some examples: arrange your dates and get togethers with friends to be at music festivals; attend the ceremonies (wedding; bris; etc.) and skip the party portion; or add small get togethers by learning new activities/skills (pick quirky and odd things to find small groups and new opportunities for personal exploration).

Your contrast of how each sex approaches this situation intrigues me (primarily as I recognize my own ignorance).

"i have to think of a mitzvah to take on that i think i will be able to be consistent about."

How creative an interpretation do you dare make? Where are the boundaries?

frum single female said...

thanks for your input.

s said...

Maybe the reason that all these things that make people happy are shied away from is because the majority of people don't deal with their issues they try to escape from them and 'keeping active' is one way to never have to make sure you have come to terms with your loved one dying. I know when someone very close to me died I was younger so I was almost discouraged from mourning because "young people should be happy" or something along those lines, but that lack of focus on the actual pain and loss causes me to still have issues that I am dealing with almost 10 years later.
something to think on.