"Judaism teaches us to understand death as part of the divine pattern of the universe.
Actually, we could not have our sensitivity without fragility.
Mortality is the tax that we pay for the privilege of love, thought, creative work -
the toll on the bridge of being
from which clods of earth and snow-peaked mountain summits are exempt.
Just because we are human, we are prisoners of the years.
Yet that very prison is the room of discipline in which we - driven by the urgency of time - create."
- Rabbi Chaim Stern
Feelings of pain and loss that we experience when losing someone close, are a reflection of our love.
Judaism believes that our mortal body exists to house the immortal soul. When a person dies, it is only the physical body that comes to an end. The spirit - which is the holy, unique and irreplaceable essence of our loved one - continues to lives on in a different realm beyond our human understanding.
When comforting mourner's, I sometimes invoke the image of watching a cruise ship sail away. It appears to get smaller and smaller and eventually "disappear" beyond the horizon. But simply because we can no longer see the ship from our limited vantage point, does not mean it has ceased to exist. So it is with a person's soul.
Within Jewish tradition, there are many customs and rituals surrounding death, bereavement and mourning that have developed over the centuries. They are meant to comfort the living, bring honor to the deceased, and provide a supportive and caring community to those who are grieving.
Amongst all the diverse pastoral work I have done over the years, I would have to say that holding the hand of a person stricken with grief and loss, providing a shoulder to cry on, and counseling and comforting those who are being crushed by the burden of sorrow, is - without question - the most important and sacred.
If you are need of clergy support, guidance, or assistance with funeral arrangements, monument unveilings, shivah services or pet memorial ceremonies, please allow me to ease your burden during this difficult time.
I promise that your emotional and spiritual needs will be treated with compassion, caring, and integrity, as well as a voice that brings comfort and healing.
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