Shiva is a period of despair in the Jews since it is associated with mourning. When there is a death, the beloved people of the deceased experience a shock and go into unbearable despair. The individual particularly sentimentally bonded to the deceased e. g. daughter, son, brother, mother, etc is sentimentally shievered and is in critical need of assistance. In such a condition, if the depression is discussed with a number of individuals, it is certainly weakened. Jew tradition has a base of meeting each other and fatality is not an exclusion. Sitting Shiva consists of members of the family to mourn together staying at home, remembering the dead person and receiving visitors. It needs to be conducted for seven days, normally initiating following the interment.
There is a methodical approach for mourning any passing away in the Jewish custom. It contains three steps. Due to this systematic approach mourners get an experience of a steady restoration from the depression of their loved one’s demise and return to usual life back. The deceased passes away and mourners face awful depression who are in need of help which is attained by this stepwise arrangement wonderfully. This time duration is called ‘sitting Shiva’ in which the mourners remain together and sit low. Near and distant relatives, friends and other acquaintances pay visits to provide mental support by paying condolence. These visits are called ‘Shiva calls’.
You too can pay a Shiva call to a Jewish family whom you know and who has faced a loss even if you are not Jewish. It is always right to try to soothe others’ sorrow and it is commended. When you cannot pay a visit in person, you can give Shiva baskets. Presenting flowers as condolences is not permitted to in Jewish tradition. Hence it is correct to present Shiva baskets. A Shiva basket contains delicacies made by using the Judaic culture.
During Shiva there are constantly a number of visitors to provide mental support by paying condolence and the dishes comprised in the Shiva baskets are helpful for the mourners and people coming for Shiva call. And so these gift baskets are appropriate to send as a representation of your concern with the family’s sadness if you are not able to pay a visit personally.
When you pay a Shiva call, you have to make an entry in the Shiva house i. e. the home in which mourning is being observed, noiselessly. The tap on the door should be light and you must not astonish the mourners. You won’t be welcomed; the mourners won’t come forward to give you regard or acknoweledge when you leave. Your aim must be to soften the sorrow of the mourners. You too must not speak any greeting words. In place of starting the talk by yourself, let the mourners speak first about whatever they intend to. Next you too can discuss. It is better to talk regarding the expired person and you can discuss about your memories with the mourners.
You can also do some errands to help them. As the mourners are in agony there are many tasks which you can do and that will undoubtedly comfort them. There are washing of clothes, watering of garden, bringing some objects for the household, preparing lunch for school-going youngsters and office-goers and lots of more trivial errands. You can finish whatever you are capable of to pacify the agony of the mourners. It is respected because it denotes that you actually care.
If any such thing is impossible for you because of your inability to pay a Shiva call personally, you can always give Shiva baskets which too will help the mourners.