Jewish Words of Comfort

Judaism helps provide the words to comfort mourners.

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Psychologists assure us that mourners specifically want to speak of their loss. Eric Lindemann, in his classic paper "The Symp­tomatology and Management of Acute Grief," writes, "There is no re­tardation of action and speech; quite to the contrary, there is a push of speech, especially when talking of the deceased."

Both the mourners' words and their tears should not be avoided or suppressed. For mourn­ers and for comforters, words truly make a difference. "Tell me what your loved one was really like" is a good beginning.

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Rabbi Maurice Lamm

Maurice Lamm is the author of many books, including The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning. He is the president of the National Institute for Jewish Hospice, and Professor at Yeshiva University's Rabbinical Seminary in New York, where he holds the chair in Professional Rabbinics. For years he served as rabbi of Beth Jacob Congregation, Beverly Hills, CA.