New Release! To Comfort and Be Comforted: A Guide to Nichum Aveilim

Powerful Times Ten!

Real comments overheard by those visiting shivah homes:

“You still have other children.”

“Don’t worry, you’re young. You’ll get remarried.”

“At least he had a long life!”

Have you ever walked into a shivah house (house of mourning) and been dismayed by what you are seeing or hearing? Perhaps other visitors are engaging in social chitchat or taking calls on their cell phones. Maybe they are offering platitudes, or, worse, criticism about the care afforded to the deceased. Or you yourself just don’t know what to say to the aveil (mourner) in the face of overwhelming tragedy.

This kind of tactlessness is so often not due to insensitivity, but rather, is the result of cluelessness – many are simply uneducated about the appropriate behavior and what should be said when performing the mitzvah of nichum aveilim (consoling mourners)Others are just uncomfortable when paying a shivah call and let their feelings guide them to act or speak improperly.

Visiting a shivah house and trying to find the appropriate words to say to those experiencing grief is not an easy task. Yet we all want to be there for our families and our communities during their times of sorrow, difficult as this might be.

Recognizing the need for guidance in this area, Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah produced a comprehensive program in DVD and MP3 format, entitled Nichum V’Nechamah – To Comfort and Be Comforted: A Guide to the Mitzvah of NIchum Aveilim, which was gratefully welcomed by rabbis, professionals and individuals. One viewer’s apt description of the was, “Powerful times ten!” Now Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah has released To Comfort and Be Comforted in book format. The book offers halachic and hashkafic guidance to properly performing the mitzvah of nichum aveilim, as well as chizzuk and perspective to the bereaved and those who care for them.  Thirty-six rabbanim, psychologists, laypeople who have experienced tragedy, and speakers of note offer guidance and insight for a multitude of circumstances. Contributors to this volume recognize that no two people are the same, and thus the way we react to tragedy and loss covers a wide spectrum. Their words of wisdom and range of personal outlooks will leave readers with much food for thought and encouragement, as well as practical tips for how to conduct themselves and what to do – and not to do – for the mourners.

This book aims to fill a gap in existing literature by enabling all those whose lives have been affected by loss to better offer support for the people around them. It will give them strength through adversity and loss and guide them to look forward to the future, difficult as this might seem during a time of great sorrow.

Open this book, and you will surely find meaning and hope as you embark upon a journey toward a better understanding of yourself and those to whom you wish to reach out.

Get your copy of To Comfort and Be Comforted by contacting Chevrah Lomdei Mishnah at 732-364-7029 or info@chevrahlomdeimishnah.org, or at your local Jewish bookstore.