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How to Eulogize Your Loved One

How Do I Properly Eulogize My Loved One?

Dispelling Myths

Eulogies have been conducted for thousands of years in the Jewish Tradition. Avraham Avinu (Abraham our father) for example eulogized his wife Sarah (Bereishis 23:2), and the Talmud, tractrate Moed Katan (27a-b) speak at length regarding eulogies.

Specifically, consistent with the Jewish tradition, the eulogy does not embellish (the good traits are emphasized and embellished a little but it is forbidden to embellish the deceased with traits that he did not have) the traits of the deceased, but rather paints a real picture of the person's life, the life of the deceased (YD 344:1).

While the eulogy itself is terse in nature, it is a major focus on the funeral service. Importantly, it is a prime opportunity to ascribe the deserved honor to the deceased, which, will indirectly serve as a consolation for the mourners. And, at the same time, it is an opportune time to express the loss felt on behalf of the family, friends and community of the deceased.

When the family and friends contribute to the eulogy in a personal way, the mourner's anguish can be lessened. The life cycle of man and the nature of man's end is emphasized as well, in order that the people reflect on mans higher purpose, which spur thoughts of repentance.


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