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Jewish Soul During Funeral Service

(Adapted with special permission from Rabbi Ullman )

Jewish Soul During Funeral Service

First three days (for crying)

The greatest degree of mourning for the soul is in the first three days. The body is still in tact and the soul hovers around it with the intention to return. When after three days it sees the face has changed and the person is no more, the soul starts to go away. (Breish. Raba ch 100)

Zohar, Vayakhel

"And Jonah was in the belly of the fish...three days and three nights" (Yonah 2:1). This resembles the three days that man is in the grave before his bowels split open. After three days, the filth in his bowels is spilt on his face, and says to him: take what you put in me. You ate and drank all day and gave not to the poor; all your days were like feasts and holidays, while the poor were hungry because they did not eat with you..."

Seven days (for eulogy) DURING SHIVA

Zohar, VaYechi

All the seven days the soul goes from the house to the grave and from the grave to the house and mourns for the body, as it is written: "His flesh shall suffer pain for him, and his soul shall mourn for it" (Iyov 14:22). It goes to sit in the house, and when it sees everybody sad, it mourns too.

Arizal: There are two dimensions of "nefesh", the outer (makif) and inner (pnimi). Each has seven aspects. After death, the inner remains with the body in the grave. The outer with its 7 parts remains in the house of the deceased. Each of the seven days, one aspect of the outer departs from the house of mourning, visits the deceased and remains at the grave - until on the seventh day all have been elevated and reunited with the body.

At this point (and not before, because of klippa) the matzeiva stone should be erected, although many have the custom to wait until the 30 th day, or till the yartzeit.


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