June 7, 2022 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm #2094441
The third Most awkward situation in the world:
Having to be menachem aveil because one knew the niftar, but doesn’t know the aveilim. This isn’t terrible because he could just relate an episode or two about the niftar.
Second most awkward situation in the world:
Knowing the aveilim somewhat, but not the niftar.
And most awkward is when one doesn’t know either but has some connection which makes him “have to go”. So obviously the thing to do is wait for a “wave”, say Hamakom Yinacheim and leave, but if it’s emptier it’s hard to.
So, it shouldn’t be nogeiah, but any suggestions?June 7, 2022 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm #2094478Reb EliezerParticipant
As you know one I don’t see a problem because when you speak to the aveilim you find out but when you don’t know either of them is awkward. I had a recent situation where I knew the niftar but not the aveilim.June 8, 2022 11:11 am at 11:11 am #20945885224Participant
as someone who has sat shiva we were so comforted when anyone came, even when they didnt get a chance to speak to us. Just by going and being there it is a support to the aveilim, it showed people cared about our loss, no words were necessary. If you get a chance to speak to the aveilim, say, ‘tell me about your father/mother’ (whoever passed away), aveilim have a need to talk about the nifter to anyone willing to listen. Hopefully they will talk alot! If not you can ask more questions eg what was their profession, where were they born, which shul did they attend just gentle questioning to encourage the avel to talk about their relative if you see they are happy to talk. If you knew the nifter, tell them how you knew them and your memories of them! This was very precious to us when we sat shiva, people telling us how they knew our relative. HatzlochaJune 8, 2022 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm #2094604lowerourtuition11210Participant
I recently was in this situation. I knew the nifteres’s son-in-law from my mesivta days , I went, sat, for a few minutes, spoke to the avel, wished the aveilim Hamokom and left. The next day my sister sent me a text message stating how the person sitting shiva appreciated that I took the time to come and be menachem avel.June 8, 2022 2:15 pm at 2:15 pm #2094658
I recently sat Shiva. Not sure why anyone who knew neither the nifteras not the avelim would have come to be menchem avel (don’t remember any such people) but anyone and everyone who came was and is appreciated.
What is and was awkward was people who I knew vaguely coming and just sitting and sitting there after the conversation ran dry (usually because they were waiting for someone)
IMHO if you go to be Menachem avel with your wife, make up with her to wait for her on the porch/front of the house if you finish first. And if you primarily know one of the aveilim but due to the seating situation end up near one of the avelim you only know vaguely and the conversation has run dry, just get up and say “let me see if can go over to…”June 8, 2022 2:28 pm at 2:28 pm #2094664
I had a situation a few months ago where a neighbors 10 year old daughter was killed in a car crash. Even worse his wife was the one driving. She lost control of the car and flew into a highway guard rail I barely know him and certainly didn’t know his daughter but of course went to be menachem avel.
Given the tragic circumstances I expected to find a big crowd on the Sunday morning when I showed but it was almost empty so I had to sit down directly across from. Being that at the time I had never sat Shiva myself I was at a lost for words when he looked at me expectantly. What was I supposed to say?
Now that I sat Shiva myself I’m more familiar with what to do. I would started off with “I’m so sorry that this is the circumstances that I’m here for…” and gauged his response and cues for what to say further. If I sensed he was no longer interested in me “I would have said “let me go take some mishnoyis…Hamokom Yinachem Eschem…” and made a slow exitJune 8, 2022 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #2094666
A pointless shiva. I have a half sister who I didnt know existed and was only seen once , and that was nearly 60 years ago. Why would I sit shiva for someone I don’t know, have zero feelings for and would only inconvenience myself and my wife?June 8, 2022 2:45 pm at 2:45 pm #2094669
“I was at a lost for words when he looked at me expectantly.”
You need to wait for the avol to start the conversation. You should not.June 8, 2022 2:53 pm at 2:53 pm #2094670
“Why would I sit shiva for someone I don’t know”
Because Hashem said you should.June 8, 2022 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #2094680
>>>You need to wait for the avol to start the conversation. You should not.
Aside for that he murmured words of acknowledgment I was told by Rav Moshe Heineman that if an avel leaves the door and allows people into the house and is sitting in a manner of being prepared for conversation you don’t need to wait for him to initiate conversation. Ask your LOR but when an avel is looking at you waiting and expecting you to say something I don’t think it is correct to remain silent because he isJune 8, 2022 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm #2094686
Where did Hashem say that? In any event, I relied on my rav’s psak, not yours ujm. He said that as long as I didn’t know she passed until a week had passed, I was under no obligation to sit. It most likely is a moot point as I have no contact with her nor with anyone who knows her. As she’s quite a bit older, she might have already passed.June 8, 2022 5:33 pm at 5:33 pm #2094704
>>>I have a half sister who I didnt know existed and was only seen once , and that was nearly 60 years ago. Why would I sit shiva
In such a case I wouldn’t be menachem avel if there was a major inconvenience to me. My SIL had such a sister. I’m not sure if she knew of her sisters existence or not but I certainly didn’t. No mention of her having a sister was made when she married into the family or any time later.
When that sister died I was not menachem avel. It would have been a whole day shlep and I felt that if her family never acknowledged her existence during her lifetime I don’t have to do so after her death.June 8, 2022 6:15 pm at 6:15 pm #2094713
to each their own, i guess. i personally hated when ppl asked me such questions when I sat shiva. Luckily for me, I wasn’t shy to just disappear into a different room and nor remain captive in others’ hands. but at the menachems’ side of things i feel awkward. I’m not going to command someone to tell me anything. i do just keep it brief but it’s awkward, as if I’m supposed to be doing/saying something more, but am not.
“I’ll go sign up for some mishnayes…” thanks, that is good advice.
@anonomous jew ur sure your rav told you after shiva and not after shloshim? the torah [navi] tells it to us on the pasig of “vaacharisam keyom mar,” I think.June 8, 2022 6:44 pm at 6:44 pm #2094720GadolhadorahParticipant
As several posters have noted, you are conveying a great sense sense of comfort by being menachem avel, even when you may not have been close to the niftar or his/her family. At a time of such great loss,you are affirming the life of the niftar was important to you and others simply by your physical presence.June 8, 2022 9:47 pm at 9:47 pm #2094739☕️coffee addictParticipant
A reason people go to the beis aveil without knowing either is because the person isn’t from the community and he’s in an out of town community that doesn’t have a lot of shuls so when there is an aveil the shul closes down so he can have a minyanJune 9, 2022 7:32 pm at 7:32 pm #2095182
that’s easy, as then there’s no expectation to say anything. After Davening, “hamakom yinacheim” and leave.
there is comfort by being there. The question is the awkwardness. Because in most situations people don’t just check in, say hamakom yinacheim and leave. They’re supposed to sit there and say something, unless there are enough people doing the job for him.June 9, 2022 8:35 pm at 8:35 pm #2095228provaxxParticipant
In Monsey, Rabbi Israel Flam was a mechanech (YSV) and also sat on a Beis Din. We (my wife and I) had a Din Torah and he was very nice to us, also he was my daughters’ Menahel. So when he was niftar I went and his sons didn’t know who I was but I told them how helpful he was as a Dayan and they appreciated it.
I remember feeling awkward at shiva visits when I was young, but I think as you get older the awkwardness disappears.
I once was menachem avel by a great Rav whose wife died suddenly, he had just flown from Israel and then suddenly I was face to face with him, and the first thing I said was, “The baalei musar talk about the difference between shivron lev (being heartbroken) and dikaon (depression)” and similar things and the conversation actually was fairly smoothJune 10, 2022 11:53 am at 11:53 am #2095356Reb EliezerParticipant
It is important psychologically to release the bottled up feelings when someone is lost which nichum aveilim accomplishes by recognizing that they are not alone and the others care for them. This brings to achdus as well as a simcha.June 10, 2022 1:06 pm at 1:06 pm #2095395
I just remembered 3 awkward ( and true ) moments:
1. Local rav was sitting shiva. While I was there making a shiva call, two charity collectors came in. Ultimately, the rav , who didnt know them, asked if they knew his father. They said no, they just wanted him to sign a letter authorizing them to collect in the community . The rav politely refused.
2. A friend was sitting shiva at his parent’s home in Far Rockaway. He couldn’t believe the number of real estate agents who used shiva as an excuse to gain early entry and view the house. Some actually gave him their business card
3. Another friend ,about 5 years ago, was sitting shiva for his mother ( his father sat with him ). About 5 women visitors who neither knew were shadchanim using shiva to check out his fatherJune 11, 2022 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm #2095532
that’s socially off, not awkward.June 12, 2022 12:20 am at 12:20 am #2095623
AJ: I find the last two of your three maaisas hard to believe occurred as you described them.June 12, 2022 7:15 am at 7:15 am #2095670
No harder to believe than your blood pressure storyJune 12, 2022 8:58 am at 8:58 am #2095683
The blood pressure tactic was rather common during the draft. Your maaisalech are hardly common.June 12, 2022 4:58 pm at 4:58 pm #2095817
More common than you thinkJune 12, 2022 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #2095829GadolhadorahParticipant
Very unlikely that a real estate agent would be menachem avel just on the chance that he/she might meet their beschert or connect with shadchanim among those also visiting someone sitting shivah.June 12, 2022 6:23 pm at 6:23 pm #2095837
story about the local tov: I don’t understand why he refused to sign.June 12, 2022 9:44 pm at 9:44 pm #2095856
GH, you are confusing to different instances at a 2 different shiva houses.
Participant: he viewed it as a business related activity that was not appropriate to someone sitting shiva
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.